Mama Mia! That girl can sing

It’s been a day of housework – not my favourite way to spend a Saturday but needs must. Yesterday was much more my kind of thing – a great day filled with fun and laughter – what could be better? Meeting with friends at the Artrix Arts Centre in Bromsgrove for the morning showing of the film Mama Mia! Here we go again, we then went back to the home of one of those friends. We shared a bottle of champagne and, in keeping with the Greek theme (even though it was actually filmed on the Croatian island of Vis, once a military base for the Yugoslav National Army) she provided us with a fabulous mezze lunch which stretched lazily into late afternoon.

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A long time fan of Abba since, as a teenager,  I watched them sing Waterloo to win the 1974 Eurovision , I’d thoroughly enjoyed the original 2008 Mama Mia film and was dubious when some people said that it was even better. If you read my blog regularly you might remember that I wasn’t madly taken with Lily James’s performance in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I’d liked the film but felt that she was too lightweight in the leading role. I’d felt much the same about her character in Downton Abbey too so I wasn’t sure that I’d be quite as enthusiastic as some had been about her taking on the role of the young Donna. I hold my hands up – I was wrong. She was outstanding, and so unexpected – that girl can really, really sing. Both sequel and prequel to the original film, Here we go again is outrageously schmaltzy in places; it’s a laugh out loud/wipe away a tear (more than once) rollicking extravaganza of wildly improbable storyline written to fit the songs rather than the other way round. Very cleverly, the young actors (prequel) are cast so that we know immediately which of the older ones (sequel) they represent. It’s not as confusing as it sounds.

The only downside of the film (and even then it didn’t detract from the fun) was Cher. Yes, she of ‘Sonny & …’ Her largely unnecessary cameo appearance as Sophie’s grandmother was excruciatingly cringe-worthy even in a production where ‘over the top’ is the order of the day. Was I the only one to be thinking this, I wondered? No, my friends commented similarly. Her plastic face, devoid of a single wrinkle or line, was so taut that there was no expression as she tried in vain to move it.  I have friends of a similar age who, without having resorted to going under the knife, look amazing and when they attempt a smile, they actually do smile!  Meryl Streep’s cameo, on the other hand, was played with absolute perfection and prompted a few more tears.

Will the 2018 film be as successful at the box office as its predecessor? Will takings exceed the £460m of the original? I’ve no idea, but Here we go again  deserves every plaudit it’s received, and someone out there needs to seriously consider giving Lily James a recording contract.

22 comments

  1. I’d hit the like button about ten times if I could because that’s how much I agree with this review. I haven’t seen Lily James in those other two movies so I don’t know if her performance in those were weak. But I agree with you that hear she totally played (and sang) the part well. And yes, the unnecessary Cher scene is one of the scenes I left out in my blog post about the unrealistic scenes in that movie. Totally agree that other than the appeal of some big-time singer being on the show that scene was uncalled for.

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  2. Ah-ha -so this is how you comment!!
    I must put this on my .list of DVDs to get, when it comes out. I loved the first film!
    xx

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  3. Agree with you about Lily James and like you was surprised at her fantastic singing voice. Unfortunately the day we went to our local cinema, the air con wasn’t working and I had worn a long sleeved tshirt in expectation of being cool!! Cher was an embarrassmentand goodness knows how “Fernando ” managed to keep at straight face.

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    • Shame about the air-con. I hope, it wasn’t too uncomfortable. Nice to hear you say the same about Lily James and Cher. Great film. I found myself singing Abba songs all weekend!

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  4. I think Lily James played the part of the young Donna, originally Meryl Streep not Sophie.
    All the same the film was great,an excellent way to spend 2 hours in an AIR CONDITIONED cinema in all that overpowering heat we have had recently.

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    • She certainly did Marilyn! Typo. yes, the air-con was a bonus. I’ll bet lots of cinemas saw an upsurge in customers for that very reason!

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  5. I haven’t seen the original Mama Mia as I can’t stand Pierce Brosnan, but I love, love, love Abba! Yes, I saw them win the Eurovision in 1974, too! Those camp outfits! But great songs and great singing. We have several of their LPs, and I love Souper Troupe and Gimme Gimme Gimme and Hernando et al.
    Yes, I’ve been doing housework today, too! I don’t mind it as long as I don’t have to stop in every day to do it! What I like is when I can see a difference. If we did it every day, then we’d not notice when we’d done it but as the place was really dusty as I didn’t do any real housework during the hot weather, it all now looks so much nicer and cleaner.
    Margaret P

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    • The films are both great fun and I think if you are a fan of Abba, you’d enjoy them even with Pierce! Winner takes it all is my favourite but they’re all such sing along songs that they uplift even the lowest mood. I do like the results of a big clean/tidy/sort out. I’ve just changed the accessory colour in the sitting room. We’re now back to teal/green. I woke up this morning with an overwhelming feeling that it must be done!

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  6. Glad you enjoyed it. I went with younger daughter and granddaughter last week. We loved it. I must say you are spot-on re Cher although she can sing.

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