Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again: Film Review

I don’t usually write film reviews when I’ve watched a movie so late, but I have so much to say about Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again that I felt compelled to write one.

The movie serves as both a prequel and sequel to the 2008 musical, with the present day showing Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) preparing for the grand reopening of her mother Donna’s (Meryl Streep) hotel on the Greek island. It also features many flashbacks to 1979, when a young Donna (played by Lily James) goes on her travels and meets the three men who could be Sophie’s father.

It is quite rare to come across a modern film so unabashedly cheesy and delightful, so it took a minute for me to get onboard with how camp it is, and in the beginning I was laughing at it rather than with it. It probably didn’t help that it took a while to get going – I didn’t recognise the first few songs (and I love ABBA) and the story was mostly focussed on the flashbacks, rather than showing us the faces we know and love. After a short while, it wore down my cynical attitude and I revelled in its fun and fabulous glory; smiling, laughing and singing along with hits.

The story isn’t the strongest, but neither was the original’s, and I’m not completely convinced that it all added up, keeping flipping back and forth, but the cast performances and fun musical numbers cannot be denied and help you gloss over its weaknesses.

The cast is huge, but the standouts for me were Christine Baranski and Julie Walters as Donna’s friends Tania and Rosie – they were hilarious – and the casting for their young counterparts were on point. Jessica Keenan Wynn sounded exactly like Baranski, while Alexa Davies was cute and fun. James didn’t look much like Donna, but she had her free spirit, surprised me with her singing and dancing abilities, and it was nice to see her doing something so different to her usually period fare. Cher has a small but fantastic role – I love her.

The weakest links were the male castmembers, like before. Hardly any of them could sing well (especially not in comparison to Seyfried, who has a beautiful voice), but thankfully Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard and Dominic Cooper were given minimal singing this time around. Brosnan is given a bigger, more moving storyline and Firth was hilarious with his small appearance – he cracks me up – please give him more comedy roles! I wasn’t so convinced by their younger versions – young Bill (Josh Dylan) was gorgeous, but none of them – including young Sam (Jeremy Irvine) and young Harry (Hugh Skinner) – looked like their counterparts or sang particularly well.

Mamma Mia! is so much fun. The choreography is excellent, the musical numbers are a spectacle and full of pure cheesy joy, and the cast looked like they were having an amazing time, so you can’t help but feel that too. It is also surprisingly moving and I was shocked to discover myself crying at the end. Come for the fun, leave with all the feelings. Not better than the original, but still very good entertainment.

In cinemas now

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