A decade after the smash hit Mamma Mia – based, of course, on the stage musical of the same name that it set to pop band ABBA’s best known hits – comes this sequel. It mixes the story of Sophie (Seyfried) setting up her dream Greek island hotel with the flashback tale of how her mother Donna (James playing the young Meryl Streep role) first happened across the idyllic location, and how she met the three men – Bill, Harry and Sam – who are Sophie’s potential dads.
As kitsch as the original, the movie starts rather awkwardly as Donna and her pals Tanya (Jessica Keenan Wynn) and Rosie (Alexa Davies) take over their formal university graduation with a rendition of ‘When I Kissed The Teacher’ but it finds its feet as Donna decides to travel the world to find herself, while in the present day Sophie juggles the opening of her hotel with a bump in her relationship with boyfriend Sky (Dominic Cooper).
There are some nice musical moments – Sophie and Sky singing ‘One Of Us’ on other sides of the world, young Sam and Donna breaking up to ‘Knowing Me Knowing You’ – but many of the best ABBA songs were used in the first movie so there’s not really a barnstorming moment until a reprise of ‘Dancing Queen’ featuring Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski and Julie Walters along with Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard (the boys wisely dancing rather than singing through most of it).
While the paper thin plot is something of a rehash of the events of Mamma Mia, Lily James is a joy and a terrific singer, so even though we know young Donna’s journey it’s still fun to watch, and she has nice support from Irvine, Josh Dylan and especially Hugh Skinner as the young Sam, Bill and Harry respectively.
The best bits, however, are the ones left to the grown ups. Julie Walters, Stellan Skarsgard, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth are once again hilarious, while Christine Baranski gets the best line in the movie (and contender for best line of the year). Andy Garcia is lovely as Sophie’s hotel manager, but – surprise, surprise – the movie is completely stolen by Cher as Sophie’s glamorous grandmother and her duet with Garcia on ‘Fernando’ is a highlight. It’s just a huge shame she doesn’t arrive until the final scenes of the film and her character isn’t given much of a story.
Ultimately, this love letter to ABBA, Greece, and mothers and their children is a silly, frothy, sunny feelgood musical, just like the original.
Is Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is a PG certificate (UK) and PG-13 in the US for some mild suggestive scenes.
While Donna is shown in bed with her various suitors, the scenes are very tame (there is no nudity).
There are some mild sex references and mild bad language.
Younger children may question why Donna does not know who is the father of her daughter Sophie (and that there are three potential dads).
Parents of younger children should note that the words ‘vagina’, ‘groin’ are used and there is mention of a character’s ‘first time’ but it is possible children would not pick up on these references.
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