Mamma Mia is the first musical I loved. Or rather it is the only musical I have ever loved. So when I came to know that its sequel was coming soon, I was impatiently waiting for it. Today, when it finally released, I couldn’t have missed it for the world. Along with two of my enthusiastic friends, we went to watch the movie on the first day of its release.
If you don’t know about Mamma Mia or you’d like a little recap, here it is –
Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep) is hosting the wedding of her daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) on one of the remote islands in the Aegean sea where she has been living since years. Sophie secretly invites the three men (Sam, Bill and Harry played by Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard and Colin Firth respectively) who played a major role in Donna’s youth. One of them, no one knows (not even Donna), is also the biological father of Sophie.
When Donna comes to know, there is a big scene. However, Sam apologises to Donna for the way he had abandoned her when they were young. The two resolve their differences and get married.
Mamma Mia 2
Now…No spoiler alert but…
Donna is no more. Yes, you read it right. I felt like leaving the movie hall as soon as I learnt this, but I didn’t because my love for the franchise was too great and also because I was curious to know if they would be able to pull off a movie without their greatest star – Meryl Streep. So did they? Read till the end to find the answer.
So Donna has left for her heavenly abode. And Sophie pregnant with her husband Sky (Dominic Cooper) is on the Greek island preparing for a gala opening of Donna’s inn turned into a luxury hotel. She has invited all – Donna’s college friends and her three fathers.
From here on, the plot swings backward and forward. Along with Sophie running around preparing for the big launch and battling with her emotions as she finds out Sky has been offered a job in the US, we also get a prequel into Donna’s youth.
In 1979, a young Donna (Lily James) has just graduated. She heads east which for her means Europe, to experience freedom and live her life on her own terms. On her adventurous journey, she meets three good looking young men. She falls in love with one of them, Sam, but her trust is betrayed when she finds out Sam is already engaged to be married to another woman. That is also the same time she learns about her pregnancy, however, she doesn’t know which of the three men has fathered the child. She decides to stay on the island in the Aegean Sea and run an inn.
Sophie is trying to achieve Donna’s dream by turning it into a hotel. On the launch day arrive, she is reunited with her husband Sky who comes home after turning down the job offer, three fathers, her mother’s friends and also her grandma who had refused to accept a pregnant Donna.
What I like?
Firstly, they could gather the same old cast which gets a big thumbs up from my side.
The three men – Hugh Skinner, Josh Dylan and Jeremy Irvine playing the roles of young Harry, Bill and Sam have done justice to their characters. However, the biggest surprise is Lily James. James had big boots to fill and she did a tremendous job. Not only she is pretty and looks fresh, but she has also acted and played the role of a young Donna very convincingly. Not to mention she is a better dancer than Meryl Streep. 🙂
The peep into the life of Donna is made interesting by way of flashbacks. We all knew Donna had three partners, but now we are able to connect the dots as we come to know how those men came into her life, about her heartbreak and all.
What upset me?
Well, a lot of things. For starters, there was hardly any role of Meryl Streep in the movie. A brief appearance at the end doesn’t count. Even Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth have no substantial roles. I felt cheated, because these were the three actors along with the incredible songs from ABBA which had made Mamma Mia one of the greatest musicals.
Cher who is the grandma of Sophie – Ruby Sheridan, with her botox-ed cheeks look younger than even her son-in-law – Pierce Brosnan. In fact, Sophie has more wrinkles than Cher; it looks fake and unconvincing. Also, the reunion of Fernando (Andy Garcia) and Ruby Sheridan, who had met in 1959 (and Fernando might be the father of Donna and the grandfather of Sophie), adds one more unwanted layer to the whole drama. The story line looks forced and compromised in order to introduce ABBA songs.
The new songs don’t have the same zing as the ones in the first movie. Though there were a few old songs that were recycled like “Mamma mia” and “Dancing Queen’, you don’t feel like tapping on them.
So did they pull off this sequel without Meryl Streep? I’d say NO. Meryl Streep is one of the greatest actresses in the history of cinema and a movie which had her in the first part cannot be good enough without her in the second part. Though Lily James comes as a breath of fresh air, neither the plot nor the motley of characters is able to lift up the movie.
Only true fans of the Mamma Mia franchise and ABBA will enjoy this film.