Why you need to see Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Tayla Curry explains why you need to see the new Mamma Mia movie, and how it does not fail, like so many other sequels.
Warning: Spoilers ahead
I was cheated by Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and I think you know when … the beloved Donna Sheridan was killed off, leaving millions of fans, including me, heartbroken. While the decision that saw Meryl Streep absent for a majority of the eagerly-awaited sequel was tragic, it did make for a great storyline, which allowed the audience to experience Sheridan in all her youthful glory, with adventures full of love, lust and three very good-looking suitors.
It was a film that made me, and I’m sure many others, want to runaway to the Greek Islands and begin a new life - because apparently that’s where all the young Bill Anderson (Josh Dylan) lookalikes are. But the three extremely attractive men were not the only thing that made this film a must-watch.
For one, the casting was incredible. Lily James, who played a young Donna Sheridan, embodied the character perfectly; the overalls and fierce but fun-loving attitude demonstrated that she had spent much time with Meryl Streep uncovering Donna’s risk-taking and adventurous nature.
The three younger versions of Sam Carmichael, Harry Bright and Bill Anderson also mirrored their older characters in a very authentic way. Jeremy Irvine, who played young Sam, was just as smooth-talking and loveable as Brosnan created him to be. Hugh Skinner was just as socially awkward (if not more) than Colin Firth when playing Harry Bright. And finally, Bill Anderson was just as ‘spontaneous’ when played by Josh Dylan. Although, for some reason, Bill did not seem to age as well as the other two (sorry Stellan Skarsgard).
Alexa Davies and Jessica Keenan Wynn were also very accurate in their representations of Rosie and Tanya. Keenan Wynn embodied the sexy, classy character of Christine Baranski, while Davies did a great job with being the socially awkward and uncoordinated persona that Julie Walters created.
Speaking of Rosie, it was a fabulous twist to see her in love with Bill Anderson as a young woman, and how their journey of love grew through the ages. Although, I would have loved to see him sing her ‘Take a Chance on Me’ when he tried to win her back this time around.
Seeing almost all of the cast from the first movie make a reappearance and reunite to help Sophie, played by Seyfried, achieve her mother’s dream was on its own worth the watch. Donna’s daughter, her two best friends and her three ex-lovers were all vital in the success of the opening of ‘Hotel Bella Donna’, a beautiful memoir for a memorable woman, and sharing the story of how she got there.
In order for the audience to really understand Donna Sheridan, a recently-graduated student, who came to be living alone on some remote Greek Island, and had the love life very few of us do, the producers decided to use flashbacks and turn back time to her youth. By exploring her love story with three different individuals, we came to further appreciate Meryl’s passionate and intense character.
Speaking of ‘Turn Back Time’, if you’re not yet convinced to go see the film, Cher was a smashing hit. Her screen presence, which matched the strength of her botox, did not fail to capture the attention of the audience, and apparently the attention of Fernando. She still performs as well as she did on the front of the cannon in her ‘Turn Back Time’ video clip all those years ago.
And while Cher did not entirely make up for the absence of Streep (I’m a huge Meryl fan), her role as a grandmother and a lover to Fernando brought a new sense of family and belonging to the screen. It also showed us that her character, Ruby, may have a past quite similar to that of her daughter’s.
The performance to Fernando, as well as the rest of the soundtrack throughout the film, was powerful and highly emotive. The biggest songs from the first film, such as ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘Dancing Queen’ made another appearance, showing us once again that Donna feels cheated by Sam. These were also accompanied by some other ABBA songs that did not make the first film. The soundtrack began with the upbeat and exciting ‘When I Kissed the Teacher’, which really set the mood for the remaining two hours. However, because of the circumstances surrounding the death of Sheridan, it was a soundtrack that also mirrored the sadness of this tragedy. In particular, the performance to ‘My Love, My Life’ with both Seyfried and Streep towards the end saw no dry eyes in the movie theatre.
While the new soundtrack was done very well, I would have liked to see a couple more of the well-known songs from the first film appear, such as ‘The Winner Takes it All’ and ‘Take a Chance on Me’. However, aside from that, the soundtrack was very well thought-out and positioned, making the film a super trouper.
From beginning to end, the film was a journey of emotions. It was fuelled with excitement, sadness and bittersweet moments. If you smiled, laughed, sung and shed a tear, I’m proud to say you got the full Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again experience.
Well now that all has been said and done, I’ll go back to trying to recover from my deep sadness over Sam Carmichael and Donna Sheridan. They lived without each other for 21 years, only to be reunited for four before she died. But you know, I’m sure I’ll get over it soon.
Tayla Curry is a first-year Journalism student who hasn’t stopped listening to the Mamma Mia soundtrack since the release of this movie. Yes, she is aware it’s a problem, she just can’t stop.