Film review: Mamma Mia Here We Go Again

Was it worth the wait for this sequel? Yes, says Linda Marric


Back in 2008, Mamma Mia seemed to divide audiences between those who couldn’t see the point of a Hollywood rom-com based around the songs of ABBA, and those of us who fell instantly in love with this unabashedly camp and hugely likeable production. Ten years down the line, you’d be pressed to find a single person who hasn’t secretly enjoyed being swept away by the film’s euphoric joie de vivre, and all-out charm offensive. Which begs the question, why did we have to wait a whole decade for a sequel, and more importantly, was it worth the wait?

Although, technically a prequel as well as a sequel, Mamma Mia Here We Go Again couldn’t have come at a better time. Written and directed by Ol Parker, the film presents a welcome distraction from the daily doom and gloom of depressing news cycles and political turmoil on both sides of the Atlantic; and if that wasn’t enough, there’s also the prospect of Cher in all her glamour and camp glory in, surely, one of the most inspired castings of year.

We are reunited with Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) as she prepares for the grand re-opening of her mother’s old guest house in Greece. With husband Sky (Dominic Cooper) away in New York, Sophie has found it increasingly hard to deal with last minutes nerves and  being away from her loved ones. Meanwhile twenty five years earlier, newly graduated from Oxford, Sophie’s mother Donna (Lily James) decides to follow her heart and spirit of adventure which land her on a small island off the cost of Greece.

From here on, the film goes back and forth between present time and the young Donna as she meets and falls in love with the place she later called home, and with Sophie’s prospective dads, whose younger versions are played by Hugh Skinner, Jeremy Irvine and Josh Dylan. Elsewhere, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård and Colin Firth reprise their earlier roles, while Jessica Keenan Wynn and Alexa Davies play the younger version of Donna’s best friends Tanya and Rosie.

If like me you think that there is nothing in life which couldn’t be improved by putting on an ABBA album and singing along to it at the top of your voice, then you’re in for a real treat. However, if on the other hand, you’re someone who has an aversion to people breaking into song and dance, out of the blue, then this is definitely not for you.

Ol Parker has managed the impossible by offering a sequel which is as impressive, if not better than the original. Yes, the premise is rather preposterous and the singing doesn’t always hit the right note, but Mamma Mia Here We Go Again is about so much more than presenting a perfectly packaged storyline, and is far more about the spirit of togetherness felt by its protagonists and the rest of us. A hugely enjoyable, moving and beautifully put together production which deserves all the success coming its way. 

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