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Film Review: Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again (2018)

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again (2018) is the long-awaited follow-up to the original Mamma Mia! film released back in 2008. This sequel/prequel is directed by Ol Parker and has a star-studded cast, with Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth and more reprising their roles. Lily James, Andy Garcia and Cher join the cast for this new film, which both explores the future for Sophie (Seyfried), and the past of her mother Donna (Streep/James) and her romantic past.

I vividly remember going to see the first film in cinema back ten years ago. It was our annual school trip where we would go to the cinema and watch a film that was out around that time. Other films over the years included Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (saw it three times in cinema, never had a need to watch it again) and Up (the year I got the chicken pox… when I was 10…). Safe to say that Mamma Mia! was my favourite of the cinema trips.

I haven’t watched the first film in years, but I know that I love it. It is that simple film you can put on when you’re feeling down and just smile and sing along to. I rarely watch movie clips of an upcoming film before I see it, but I had to for this film. This is a film that I wasn’t really worried about spoilers for, and I just couldn’t wait to see all the musical numbers and find out what songs were in this new movie. Yes, this may be very British of me, but nothing beats a good cheesy Abba singalong.

Film For Thought, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again
Source: Legendary Pictures

The great Mark Kermode sums up this franchise quite well. When he reviewed the first film, he described it as an “out-of-body experience”. I will leave a link to his review of the new film here, as I feel he perfectly describes this film. If you know Mark Kermode though, he is critical on the art of film. Yet, he gives this simple musical five stars. This film has reached a global audience, causing a musical sensation and a new generation to appreciate the music of Abba. What has this film done right to capture everyone’s heart?

The answer I feel is very simple: Meryl Streep. I feel like everyone has to love Meryl one way or another. She’s the Oscar’s sweetheart, in movie after movie, can sing, act, dance and perform. There is nothing the woman can’t do. In the first film, we watched the relationship between Donna and Sophie, and from knowing Streep got to love her character alongside Seyfried. That is why this film and the advertising campaigns hit hard when it is clearly shown right from the start that Donna has died.
This film focuses heavily on family. We all love Donna and Sophie’s relationship, and it is nice to see all the character reminisce on Donna and what she left behind. There is so much sentiment, and whilst Donna has passed away, we still get to see Meryl revisit her character for too brief of a moment. This is such a touching moment, and nearly made me tear up.

Film For Thought, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again
Source: Legendary Pictures

The way this film is presented is a mix of a sequel and a prequel. It is a sequel in the sense that we see Sophie go forward in life and we see how she matures as a woman and lives onto her mother’s dreams and aspirations, keeping her memory alive. This is the section I actually liked the most, despite it being the minor part of this film. It felt more natural, and it was nice to see all the characters we fell in love with in the first film back in this sequel.
We also have prequel part that introduced Lily James as a young daughter as we see her travel and interact with the three young fathers: Bill, Harry and Sam. Yes, the order might have changed from the original diary in the film, but in this way it makes sense. It also gives a heavy suggestion as to who Sophie’s actual father is. It’s nice especially to see Sam between his past and current day, as you see his regret before you actually see what he regrets.
There are edits that make this sequel/prequel jumps seamless, such as the I Have A Dream moment. However, there are also edits that make it a little unbalanced and jumpy. I feel like once the story was done, the rest of the work almost seemed a little lazy. The choreography was simple and bland (excluding Why Did It Have To Be Me), and the song choices were a little uninspired. I felt they took a lot of the big songs from the original film and re-did them again, such as Super Trooper and I Have A Dream. The best songs from this film came from the new additions, such as Andante, Andante and Fernando.
Film For Thought, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again
Source: Legendary Pictures

You cannot do a review for Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again without mentioning the fabulous performance by Cher. Is it weird that she is playing Donna aka Streep’s mother? Kind of. But it works. I have been obsessed with her version of Fernando, and she plays the role of Sophie’s grandmother amazingly. I am very glad she is dropping more Abba material, because she suits it so well.

Is this film better than the original? I don’t know I would have to watch them back-to-back. But honestly it doesn’t matter. This is a fun flick if I ever saw one. Whilst packing an emotional punch throughout, the catchy songs, flirtatious storyline and great humour will have you swept off your feet. This may not be an Oscar contender, but this is the perfect film for any girls’ night out. Expect to be thinking about this film weeks after you’ve seen it (trust me, I have).


Have you seen Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again yet? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below and I will make sure to get back to you.

Until next time, that was some film for thought.

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