Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

A sensational cinematic experience that hits all the right chords

Review by Daniel Dercksen (18/07/18)

Whatever you hear or read about Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, don’t believe anything, just trust your inbred ABBA instincts and your fond memories of Mamma Mia, The Movie, for this charming sequel meets all expectations and more, and delivers a sensational cinematic experience that hits all the right chords.

Mamma Mia The Movie carried the weight and history of the ABBA musical, and ABBA’S` legendary status; its sequel, which is in a way a prequel and sequel blended into one magnificent whole, delivers a fresh and emotional journey into the heart of a touching mother and a daughter story, and the soulful ABBAeque music that allows us to celebrate the joy of love, life and friendship.

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Writer-director Ol Parker, who crafted the screenplay with Richard Curtis, skilfully balances a fun and joyful reunion of familiar characters, with new characters in a scenario that culminates in a tearful conclusion, followed by an unforgettable finale/ epilogue that truly sums up what both films rejoice: a good story, great music and heartfelt performances by the ensemble cast.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again takes us into to story we have been waiting for; the backstory of a Donna Sheridan, a young woman whose rebellious independent spirit and flirtation with three wanderers, led to the birth of young Sophie, who needs to carve her own history in the world, and find true love.

Amanda Seifried is delightful as Sophie, taking us on a magical journey into the life of a young woman whose love her mother and the man of her dreams resonates poignantly.

Lily James is ideally cast as the Young Donna, bursting with vitality – it is interesting to watch James after her brilliant performance in Darkest Hour.

James is well supported by Alexa Davies as Young Rosie and Jessica Keenan Wynn as Young Tanya; through their respective journeys we grow to understand the unbreakable bond between that existed between Meryl Streep, Julie Walters and Christine Baranski in Mamma Mia! And continues in the sequel.

Here we discover how the ‘Super Troupers’ began a journey that transends ordinary friendships with their quirky and outrageously intoxicating attitude of living life to its fullest.

Although the film marks a welcome return of Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård and Colin Firth as Sophie’s three possible dads: Sam, Bill and Harry; it is their younger selves that absolutely steal the show with their sexual charisma and youthful exuberance.

Jeremy Irvine, with Josh Dylan, superbly brings Young Sam to life as Young Bill and Hugh Skinner as Young Harry are equally memorable in their respective roles – it is also interesting to note that Irvine, who made his debut in War Horse, gets another chance to reunite with a horse.

When Cher arrives, it’s truly fireworks that explodes in an unforgettable rendition of Fernando, with Andy Garcia strutting his charisma to turn the scene into breathtaking spectacle.

Musically, the film effectively delivers old favourites like Mamma Mia!, Dancing Queen, Super Trouper and Waterloo, adding some superb classic songs (mostly from the 70s) to the menu that results in a pleasurable  experience.

Parker’s brilliant and flawless visual transitions between past and present weaves the story into vibrant and cadenced cinematic escapism. We connect the dots between what was and what is with ease, magically transcending the reality of our own existence and escaping into the fictional reality of storytelling and music-making at its most electrifying.

When I Kissed The Teacher (from Arrival – 1976) by Young Donna and the Dynamos perfectly captures the joy of college years; the duet ‘One Of Us’ between Sophie and Sky (from The Visitors – 1981) is a touching love song;  Angeleyes (from Voulez-Vouz – 1979) between Tanya, Rosie and Sophie is a rousing comedy routine; and My Love, My Life (from Arrival) between Meryl Streep, Amanda Seifried, and Lily James is an absolute highlight that will steal our heart.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is a film you have to share with friends and loved ones.

Without nostalgia our lives would be so much poorer.

Thankfully, it’s films like Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again that allows us to combust spontaneously, and loose ourselves in the joy of celebrating treasured memories and fond friendships without regret.

Copyright © 2018 Daniel Dercksen – Published with permission in Biz Lifestyle on 20 July, 2018.