Monday, 23 February 2009

Mamma Mia: the musical movie extravABBAnza

This post is almost but not really a movie review. I'm not very good at reviewing things, I'm better at talking about them in discussion. So please do share your thoughts in the comment thread and let's see what happens next.

Here be Spoilers!

I watched this with my Mum over a month ago, yet I still have Abba songs stuck in my head. How can that be?

  • The mother character, Donna (played by Meryl Streep), is not branded a slut for not knowing which of the three men could be the father of her daughter, or for the fact that she had sex out of wed-lock and all that goes with that. Yay for not judging!
  • Pierce Brosnan's inability to sing. Call me odd, but I found it endearing.
  • The fact that the wedding between the two young people doesn't actually happen in the end.
  • The fantastic setting. I want to go there, and live there (as long as it has excellent broadband and all my friends and family move too).
  • The dancing, the singing, and the fact that it wasn't all perfect, which gives me confidence in my own abilities, in a strange way.
  • The scene on the beach where Tanya (Christine Baranski) sings an anthem for the mature lady lover, turning Does Your Mother Know That You're Out on it's head.
  • The Greek chorus, which made me feel those Classical Studies and Ancient History papers weren't entirely a waste of time.
  • It looked like it was an incredibly fun film to make, particularly if the music video over the credits is anything to go by.
  • Trotting out the old myth about women wanting to capture men and men trying to escape, in the storyline between Rosie (Julie Walters) and Bill (Stellan Skarsgard). Lone wolves indeed.
  • The implication that Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) couldn't truly know who she was until she met her father, that she wasn't complete without his input.
  • There was a definite high level of predictability, but I don't know that I'd actually change that. It was predictable like an old treasured blanket has the same comforting smell for years and years.
  • Not enough Colin Firth. And maybe they could have made it more explicit that Harry was gay; I felt like they sort of glossed over it to avoid upsetting anyone.
Alright, your turn - what say you?


hendo said...

I found it a bit cringeworthy in some parts and dragging in others, but I really enjoyed some parts of this movie! Mainly the bits where I was enjoying that it was a story about women.

I didn't quite get that Harry was gay, my boyfriend had to point that out to me. I have absolutely no gaydar though so that's unsurprising.

I really loved the big dance scenes and how they had women of all ages! Yah! I bellydance with women up to their 70s and fully intend to keep dancing to at least that age. So it was really nice to see that here.

Azlemed said...

my two girls are addicted to it, we have watched it over 30 times during the holidays, (they are 3 and 5).

I love the music, its fascinating how you know the words yet at school we never sung abba songs.

I would have loved to have seen more of Colin Firth hes so yummy. I loved Meryl Streep, shes such an amazing actress. And proving that shes just getting better with age and that older women actresses shouldnt be stereotyped

Lucy said...

Wikipedia tells me that Harry was much more explicitly gay in the stage show - he references his "other half" all through, and then introduces his boyfriend at the end, rather than snogging a random waiter - so this is a case of Teh Ghey being removed for the movies. Sad, but predictable.

stargazer said...

The implication that Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) couldn't truly know who she was until she met her father, that she wasn't complete without his input.

but that was the whole point of the film, when she realises just before the wedding that she doesn't need to know her father in order to find herself or feel complete.

my girls and i absolutely loved the film and i had to listen to ABBA gold all through our holiday up north, as well as get it out on video to watch again. i was totally ABBA'd out by the middle of january! we especially loved that meryl streep was the one who "gave her away" (yes, yes, i know, but still it was nice).

Julie said...

Ah see Anjum that whole point went whoosh over my head, but now that you type it out there I feel very stupid! I think maybe I was a bit too caught up in my own daddy issues at the time ;-)

That's interesting Lucy that Harry's homosexuality was overt in the musical. Would have been interesting to watch the film-makers discussing how that got changed...

Even though there were bits that made me cringe too, it was a really happy movie and that was just fantastic. It was like the joy of making the film suffused the screen, and reached out to me when I was watchng it. Sorry that is a bit purply in prose, I'm not putting it very well, but even just thinking about it makes me smile :-)

One other thing that made me grumpy which I forgot to put in the post was the way Sam was portrayed as partly coming to Donna's rescue, in terms of fixing things like the light bulbs. I guess this is probably mostly projection on my part - it was clear no one could run that hotel on their own (although ostensibly Donna didn't, because there was her daughter and the bf too), but did they have to give Sam a bit of White Knight in regard to it?