Digital Editor Halima Ahad revisits Mamma Mia!, deciding that it is the perfect summer watch

third year eng & creative writing, aspiring journalist, former culture editor and current digital editor <3

Mamma Mia! has always received mixed reviews since its glamorous debut in 2008, but since rediscovering the film this year, I have found it to be very enjoyable (mostly due to the glitzy soundtrack provided by none other than Swedish pop group ABBA).

Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) has been living on the Greek islands with her mother Donna (Meryl Streep) her whole life. But as her wedding appraoches, she questions the true identity of her father, who could either be Sam (Pierce Brosnan), Harry (Colin Firth) or Bill (Stellan Skarsgard). She secretly invites the three potential fathers to the wedding in the hope of one of them being her true father- and walking her down the aisle.

Directed by Phyllida Lloyd, this dazzling film never disappoints. An adaptation from the Broadway musical of the same name, the actors involved add appropriate flair, brought about by a strong plot punctuated by showstopping musical numbers. Some may say it is ‘cheesy’ or ‘corny’; but to me, it sets the bar for the modern musical film.

[Mamma Mia] sets the bar for the modern musical film

Refreshing performances from the whole cast add a modern twist to the Broadway musical, but Meryl Streep truly steals the show as Donna Sheridan as she showcases her versatility in acting, not to mention her fantastic vocal skills. She shines in many of the film’s iconic songs, one of my favourites being ‘Dancing Queen’. Amanda Seyfried, too, embodies the role of Sophie Sheridan fantastically, acting the confusion that comes from an uncertain family life to great effect.

Mamma mia!

As Mamma Mia! cuts to and from Donna and Sophie’s contrasting storylines, the added soundtrack adds aptitude to the plot. The beginning song ‘I Have A Dream’ gives the audience hope that Sophie will truly her achieve her dream of finding her father and having the perfect family on her wedding day. The next track, ‘Honey Honey’, tracks this ‘dream’ as it showcases Sophie’s excitement in finding her mother’s old diary and discovering her potential fathers.

Meanwhile, Donna’s storyline and supporting soundtrack show her reconnecting to her youth as she comes face to face with her three past lovers: Sam, Harry, and Bill. The song ‘Mamma Mia’ highlights to the audience that Donna is unsure of how to approach the situation but she is going into it headstrong. This sense of her character is shown again in ‘The Winner Takes It All’ near the end of the film when she comes face to face with Sam (Pierce Brosnan) before Sophie’s wedding takes place, demonstrating her true feelings towards him.

Mamma Mia! is everything you would want in a film for the summer season

Although summer is well and truly over now, the film certainly provides fresh escapism for audiences. The bright, warm tones throughout the film support the plot and soundtrack whilst also showing the beauty of Greece and its islands. The cinematography and colour palette of Mamma Mia! is everything you would want in a film for the summer season.

The film’s most prevailing and powerful theme, shown consistently, is motherhood. As Donna navigates her way through single mother life and has the tumultuous experience of finding out that her three ex-lovers are on the island, she shows how hard it is for single mothers to put themselves first and feel young again. Sophie supporting her journey in the song ‘Slipping Through My Fingers’ shows the complicated intricacy in the relationship between mother and daughter. They are able to reconcile their relationship despite a complicated family history; this is a heartwarming end to the film as Donna and Sophie rediscover their powerful love for each other.

Overall, Mamma Mia! is an amazing, light-hearted watch and its enigmatic soundtrack makes the film. When looking for some light escapism, this is the film to watch.

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