‘Mamma Mia!” a feel-good summertime film

By Elspeth Macnab-Stark
Times-News correspondent

   ”Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” tells two stories at once.
In the present day, we see Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) dealing with a surprise pregnancy while missing her mother Donna (Meryl Streep). This is paralleled with the story of a young Donna’s (Lily James) own unplanned pregnancy. Considering that it is both a sequel and a prequel, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” does an impressive job of making sense of the convoluted plot it weaves.
The film takes a while to find its groove — but once it gets on the right track — there’s no stopping it.
Having used most of ABBA’s better-known songs in the first movie, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” had to find traction with what was left. Using hits like “Waterloo” and “Fernando,” plus a lot of lesser-known numbers, the cast succeeded in once again selling what they were feeling through every song.
   Amanda Seyfried stepped up to the plate for a larger role this time around with Pierce Brosnan, as her stepfather Sam, helping lead the present-day portions of the story. Lily James fearlessly took the lead as the 1970s counterpart for Meryl Streep’s original Donna. Christine Baranski and Julie Walters also reprised their roles as the highly amusing and endlessly lovable best friends, Tanya and Rosie. Their past counterparts (Jessica Keenan Wynn, Alexa Davies) did an incredible job as well, maintaining the same sharp humor we’ve come to expect from the duo.
Sophie’s other two fathers Harry (Colin Firth) and Bill (Stellan Skarsgård), and her husband Sky (Dominic Cooper) helped pick up the pace. Andy Garcia even makes a dashing appearance as the hotel manager, but the real show-stopper was Cher, playing Sophie’s long-estranged grandmother.
After waiting for 10 years, we finally get to see the story behind all the chaos. The time spent in both the present day and the past is well-balanced, but the cuts to and from sometimes feel forced and you may be left with a little whiplash. Regardless, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” will have you dancing in your seat. The few inconsistencies with the original movie aren’t enough to distract from the catchy pop music and flawless 1970s style. It’s the perfect feel-good summer movie for music lovers of all ages.
NOTE: The film is rated PG for casual drinking and suggestive content.

Elspeth Macnab-Stark is a high-school graduate and a Teens & 20s writer.



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