In 1988, Meryl Streep graciously lost an Academy Award for Best Actress to Cher.
30 years later, the 3-time Oscar winner once again showed the same grace and support for Cher in the highly entertaining sequel to 2008’s hit musical, “Mamma Mia! The Movie.”
Ol Parker’s “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” takes us back to the scenic island of Kalokairi to witness the re-opening of Hotel Bella Donna and, of course, listen to some more amazing songs from ABBA.
No Donna, Only Young Donna
The plot takes off a year after Donna’s (Meryl Streep) death–yes, shocking and sad news.
Sophie is now in charge of re-opening the villa while juggling her personal life. Sky (Dominic Cooper) is currently undergoing training and is contemplating a life outside the island, which is not an option for Sophie.
Torn between living the life she may want and reliving and being one with the essence of her loving mother, Sophie tries to come to terms with the present and make sense of her future by learning more about her mother’s past.
The movie takes us on a back-and-forth to the life of young Donna–a vivacious, happy-go-lucky, straight-out-of-college young woman who is determined to make the most out of life.
Motivated by her thirst for adventure and her love for music, young Donna embarks on a trip to Europe, in hopes to find her destiny.
Her cheery mindset and openness to new things led her to meet the men that will change the course of her life: Bill (Josh Dylan), Harry (Hugh Skinner), and Sam (Jeremy Irvine).
A story executed like an intricately woven tapestry
One of the beautiful things about the movie is its seamless transition from the past to the present. The shots were very reminiscent of music videos–well, we’re basically watching a compilation of music videos–which added to the appeal of each scene.
It’s also important to note that the past and the present were easy to distinguish.
And just like a beautiful tapestry that you want to stare at for a long time, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” had all the aesthetics, from the setting to the actors.
Lily James is finally on everybody’s radar now
The last time I saw James was in the Gary Oldman-starrer “The Darkest Hour” where she played a resilient typist. Her character’s grit was notable but you somehow forget about her after that.
This time, she’s bursting with star quality. She looks a lot better; she sounds exceptional. She’s exuding with charm, which makes her the perfect young Donna.
She may have taken the spotlight away from Seyfried who, interestingly, looked a lot older (even older than Cher, seriously). Or maybe it’s because her character requires her to look that way.
Nevertheless, she’s still awesome in her scenes, especially when she’s singing.
A rockin’ party and a scene-stealing cameo
By the time you get to the last act of the movie, you might start to become disheartened with the fact that Meryl Streep is still nowhere to be seen.
But you kinda forget about it when Stellan Skasgard, Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan–the dads–start their antics.
In one pivotal scene, Bill (Skarsgard) and Harry (Firth) overcome hurdles and make their way to Kalokairi, with dozens of fisherfolk in tow, and “Dancing Queen” in the background.
This is one of the highlights for me because it showed everyone in a really fun mood. It’s the equivalent of those Pinoy movie scenes where the entire cast suddenly burst into a happy song–at the beach.
I can actually sense everyone inside the cinema dancing in their seats.
And you’ve got to see Firth and Skarsgard during this sequence. They’re adorably hilarious!
And when Brosnan gets in on the action, things get even more fun.
And then there’s Cher.
I am aware that “Mamma Mia!” is synonymous to Meryl Streep but in this sequel, Cher stole the show.
Everything about her cameo is extra–from her arrival to the island, to her outfit, and to her absolutely enjoyable song and dance number with Andy Garcia.
As the movie wraps up and ties up all storylines, we’re blessed with a musical number that’s for the books: Super Trouper.
Ol Parker knows how to end a movie: by having the entire cast belt and sing this upbeat ABBA classic.
This is, honestly, the part I liked best. And boy, did I ship Brosnan, Skarsgard, and Firth in here. These three should star in their own movie! Their bits in the sequence were small, but they elicited the most reactions.
You may or may not be a fan of the first movie (I wasn’t) but just like the ABBA song lyric goes, “take your time, make it slow. Just let the feeling grow,” give this movie a chance and you’ll realize that as each scene goes by, you’ll be captivated and start to love it by the minute.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is now playing in cinemas nationwide.