In my estimation Mamma Mia! deserved all of the hype surrounding its release…
I am usually not one for musicals, but I did enjoy the music of the Swedish Pop group ABBA like everyone seemed to in ‘70’s and ‘80’s; there I admitted that I liked ABBA! So a musical—Mamma Mia! (2008)—set to the bubblegum pop music of ABBA needed to be seen, especially one staring the timeless Meryl Streep was not to be missed. So I watched and…
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd, with screenplay by Catherine Johnson, the plot of Mamma Mia! Is built entirely around the songbook of ABBA, which are performed throughout the movie by the cast. The lithe Amanda Seyfried (Mean Girls, Veronica Mars, Big Love) portrays 20-year-old Sophie. Sophie is getting married and wants to know who her father is; it can be one of three men Bill (Stellan Skarsgard ~ The Glass House, Dogville, Entourage), Sam (Pierce Brosnan ~ Noble House, Goldeneye, The Matador), and Harry (Colin Firth ~ The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love, Bridget Jones’s Diary).
But Sophie’s mother Donna (Meryl Steep ~ Out of Africa, Plenty, Angels in America) doesn’t know that she invited the men, but she discovers them, and together with her two best friends Rosie (Julie Walters ~ Harry Potter movies) and Tanya (<a>Christine Baranski ~ Law & Order, Cybill, The Good Wife) she tries to ferret out the reason for their unannounced visit. Lots of singing and dancing ensues whilst the answer is arrived at.
Bubblegum music or no, the music of ABBA is infectious and still fun to listen to. And watching Mamma Mia!, however silly the premise was just great fun. Is the movie Oscar material? No, but I seriously don’t think it was meant to be. Can Pierce Brosnan sing? No, but I over looked that because at least he tried! Did Meryl Streep look at tad out of place? Well, yes, if you take in her enormous body of work and juxtapose it against Mamma Mia!, but at least it looked as though the woman had fun making this campy little move.
And that’s the point, to have fun. Not every movie has to redeem mankind, not every movie has to have a great moral message, and ah-ha moment. It’s okay for a movie to just make you smile, and Mamma Mia! made me smile, and hum, and relive a time period when ABBA ruled the air waves with one catchy tune after another. I woke up this morning with them still parading in my head; Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia, The Winner Takes it All, Take a Chance On Me, all songs from the movie.
Speaking of the music from the movie, Ms. Streep and company were called upon to perform and they more than did the songs justice, except for the aforementioned Mr. Brosnan. Ms. Streep has a credible singing voice, ditto for Ms. Seyfried and the Julliard-trained, Broadway bred Christine Baranski. Of course it helped that the songs were well produced and engineered and the ladies had a host of backup singers (no doubt professionals) t assist them.
In my estimation Mamma Mia! deserved all of the hype surrounding its release; the movie was fun to watch and like the music that inspired it, infectious and a bit campy. But every once and a while, that’s okay.
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children up Ages 8
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