Cast: Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Christine Baranski, Colin Firth, Julie Walters and Amanda Seyfried
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Screenplay: Catherine Johnson
Mamma Mia! is back and this time it’s on the big screen for the feature film adaptation with an enviable cast that includes Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnanand Colin Firth. The musical, based on the popular songs of ABBA, has become a worldwide phenomenon since its debut in London’s West End in 1999.
The story follows bride-to-be Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), who lives on a small Greek island with her mother Donna (Streep), an American expatriate who runs a small hotel there.
While Sophie’s life may be considered idyllic she lacks one thing: a father. In an attempt to find her real dad so he can walk her down the aisle on her wedding day, Sophie decides to secretly invite the three potential candidates, having discovered their names in her mother’s diary. Not everything goes to plan, however, and what ensues are the classic scenes tailor-made for a musical romantic comedy.
While fans of the stage productions might miss the thrill of watching a live performance, the film does a good job of intertwining the action and the music, albeit on a few occasions where the songs seem to have more control over the actors instead of vice versa. It jumps right into the songs from the very first scene but don’t be alarmed, the rhythm grows on you, as do the characters, including the bubbly and optimistic Sophie, charmingly played by Seyfried.
Fans of Meryl Streep might also be taken aback as the usually straight-faced actress has been replaced by a neurotic, middle-aged ‘dancing queen’ who climbs over rooftops and performs various song and dance numbers in full seventies garb. Overall the film is a satisfying guilty pleasure, in a way, combining the brilliance of the ABBA tunes with the star power of Hollywood.