Film: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Cast: Lily James, Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, Andy Garcia, Pierce Brosnan, Dominic Cooper, Colin Firth, Cher, Stellan Skarsgård, Julie Walters, Celia Imrie, Jeremy Irvine, Hugh Skinner, Josh Dylan, Alexa Davies, Jessica Keenan Wynn
Director: Ol Parker
Your reviewer will desist from being testy about the sexual peccadiloes of the characters – major and minor – in this sequel-prequel to the immensely popular cinematic adaptation of the hit Broadway stage musical enshrining the Swedish disco band, ABBA.
Who would have thought the Swedes could challenge the Americans and the Brits who dominated the billboards? Oui, France has some spiffy pop music, but the Swedes got there first. And while ABBA never captured my callow heart like the Beatles, their catchy songs were an indelible part of the seventies.
ABBA’s upbeat repertoire is showcased in this enjoyable exuberant entertainer which takes the viewer back and forth in time to show us how and why Donna (Meryl Streep) became a single mother raising a daughter of doubtful paternity. Rewind to 1979, when the young Donna (played by Lily James) is graduating from Oxford with her two best friends Tanya (young Jessica Keenan Wynn, older Christine Baranski) and Rosie (young Alexa Davies, now Julie Walters).
In 2018, the character played by Streep has gone to her eternal rest while daughter Sophie (played Amanda Seyfried) is struggling to reopen the hotel on the Greek island she had so loved. Amanda has Dad Sam (Pierce Brosnan) for company, while her husband, Sky (Dominic West) is away, considering a lucrative job offer in New York. Amanda sends out invites for the gala reopening to loads of people, including her two other potential dads. (played by Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard).
At the end of the first film, we discovered who the biological father was; this film shows us why Donna could not be sure which of trio, Harry, Sam or Bill Hugh (young Hugh Skinner, Jeremy Irvine and Josh
Dylan), who age into Colin Firth, Brosnan and Skarsgard – was the father of her child. Needless to say, the men were eager and willing to hit the hay, but women could keep them in check,no? No, not unless they are rapists, which these men are not. No, they’re rather sweet and charming.
Director Parker has stitched a frothy entertainer which is marred only by Streep’s prolonged absence from the narrative and the bland acceptance of casual sex. To its credit, the storyline has new characters like the grandmother (played by Cher) or her ex-lover (Andy Garcia) whose backstories would be interesting. Above all, it hits a poignant note towards the end. My my, I wouldn’t mind for the part 3.