Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again
Life is still fun and beautiful for as long one lives in chasing and fulfilling life’s dreams with friends and families — and with songs and dances to do together
Lily James, Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper, Christine Baranski, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Andy Garcia, Stellan Skarsgard, Julie Walters, Cher, Meryl Streep
Judy Craymer, Gary Goetzman
Catherine Johnson, Richard Curtis, Ol Parker
Mamma Mia! By Catherine Johnson
Playtone, Littlestar Productions, Legendary Entertainment
United Kingdom, United States
Technical assessment: 3.5 ★★★✬✩
Moral assessment: 2.5 ★★✬✩✩
CINEMA rating: V16
To honor the memory of her mother Donna (Meryl Streep) who just died a year ago, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) prepares for the opening night celebration of Donna’s old Greek seaside hotel she renovated and renamed Hotel Bella Donna. But her stepdads Harry (Colin Firth) and Bill (Stellan Skarsgård) are unable to attend and her husband Sky (Dominic Cooper) is contemplatinga hotel management job in New York. Only Sam (Pierce Brosnan) and mom’s lifelong friends Rosie (Julie Walters) and Tanya (Christine Baranski) are there to comfort her when a storm disrupts all her plans. It is then that she learns she is pregnant and learns more about her mother’s life — through actual flashbacks of the young Donna (Lily James) and adventures with her possible fathers.
Ten years after the original Mamma Mia film, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again still has its old charm — this time with a lot better production values but could be less entertaining as all the key Abba songs were already used up in the original movie. This sequel is left with no choice but to repeat songs from the first Mamma Mia, and utilize the less popular Abba songs, like, “When I kissed the Teacher”. Trouble follows when a story is written around songs that were never meant for the story. However, the same weakness can also be considered as the film’s strength — now that they do not have to highlightentertainment and popularity — they can zero in more on thedepth of the story. Here, the flashback becomes more interesting than the present story — quite a rule-breaker in plot and storytelling — but it worked well over-all. The introduction in the cast of “young” counterparts of familiar characters is excellently executed. James does a really good performance as the young Donna, butStreep is a virtual ghost in the movie, appearing in an almost cameo way towards the end. Streep is Streep, and her absence leaves a void that even a heavily botoxed Cher cannot fill. In spite all the happy tears and good intentions, the whole thing lacks focus, and while it’s still a fun and feel-good movie to watch, we dread to think there’s a Mamma Mia 3 in the works.
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again is very much about mother-daughter bond and relationship that trancends generations. Although at the onset, Sophia feels incomplete because she does not know who her real father is, in the end, it does not really matter, the love of her mother Donna already completes her. Having “many fathers”for Sophiabecomes more of a blessing than a curse — it is an optimistic way of looking at her current circumstance. However, all these must be put into proper perspective, and casual sexor promiscuityshould never be condoned for many reasons — unwanted pregnancies and negative psychological effect on children are just some of those. The young Donna may have made some wrong choices but she ultimately made a very good one in keeping Sophia — no matter how hard it must have been. The value of friendhips and relationships are also highligthed in the film. In the end, what would really matter in this life is the kind of relationships you make and the how much love you shared to the people who really matter. Life is still fun and beautiful for as long one lives in chasing and fulfilling life’s dreams with friends and families — and with songs and dances to do together. Thank you for the music, but do keep a discerning eye when watching this movie. Sing and dance and go with the flow, but also question the details. For example, would a priest on a Greek island in 1980 baptize an illegitimate child of a foreign woman? Really? — RPJ