Newest Review: ... away? Watch Mamma Mia to find out! Such songs in the movie include: Mamma Mia (obviously!), The Winner Takes It All, Gimme Gimme Gimme, Do... more
DOES YOUR MOTHER KNOW? THIS FILM IS FAB!
Mamma Mia! (DVD)
Member Name: karenuk
Mamma Mia! (DVD)
Advantages: Funny, warm, great cast, great songs, a real feel-good film that will make you smile
Disadvantages: Very slightly inferior to the stage version
The cinema was almost full and those seeing Mamma Mia were admittedly mainly women, but from the elderly down to young kids. There was a bit of a party atmosphere too, lots of giggles and it almost felt like being on a hen night - which was fun. But would the film live up to its hype or be a pale shadow of its stage version?
The basic plot to Mamma Mia (on stage and screen) is that Sophie is getting married. She's twenty and lives on a small Greek island with Donna, her single mother. Being brought up never knowing her father, Sophie discovers an old diary of her mother's and reading through it, she realises her father is one of three men - Harry, Sam or Bill. So she invites all three to her wedding, hoping that she'll recognise which one is her father and her wedding can be complete with her Dad there to give her away.
Sophie's two best friends come over for the wedding as do Donna's two best mates - Rosie and Tanya. The three of them used to be a band called Donna and the Dynamos and when they get together, there is always a lot of fun and laughter. In fact, Sophie's younger pals seem rather dull by comparison!
When I initially heard who the cast were, I was a bit surprised and thought there were a few strange decisions made by the casting director. For these roles, I would have been inclined to cast singers who could act, but it appeared the choice had gone with high-profile actors who may or may not be able to sing.
While this has worked brilliantly in movies such as Chicago and Moulin Rouge, I was a bit sceptical that the likes of Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth could carry it off in the same way Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor had in the afore-mentioned movie musicals.
Then you get the strange decision of choosing an unknown (in my eyes, at least) for the parts of Sophie and Bill. I had never heard of Amanda Seyfried (a twenty-two year old American actress) or Stellan Skarsgard (a fifty-seven year old Swedish actor) before, although both have impressive CVs.
Meryl Streep is a great actress, as we know, but could she sing? The character of Donna has some of the hardest songs to sing. In the stage version, the actress who played Donna made me cry with her wonderful emotional rendition of The Winner Takes It All, but I seriously doubted Streep could do the same.
Well, I wasn't disappointed. Although Streep didn't quite have the power of the stage Donna, she was certainly very good in the role and her acting, of course, was excellent. She was very believable and pulled you into the story quickly, so you really empathised with her throughout.
The three potential fathers were very good too. Besides Stellan Skarsgard (my spellchecker loves that one!), we had Pierce Brosnan (born 1953 and fancied by my mother-in-law) and Colin Firth (born 1960 and fancied by me) - and girls, they both get their chests out! There was some woo-hooing in the audience, I can tell you.
While Firth can kind of just about sing, Brosnan has the bigger vocal role and doesn't really pull it off. His singing isn't quite embarrassing, but it gets close at times. Still, he's pretty to look at, so we'll forgive him. (In the 1960s, he'd have been dubbed!)
Amanda Seyfried is great as Sophie - absolutely beautiful, a good actress and a good singer too, so great casting choice there. She has a charm and sweetness about her which will beguile the blokes and make all the women want her to be their best friend, sister or daughter. She's lovely!
Her friends (Lisa and Ali) get even less to do here than in the stage version, while Donna's friends steal the show again. Christine Baranski plays the eccentric Tanya with great energy and aplomb, while Julie Walters steals the whole film as the wonderfully warm and funny Rosie. Some of the best scenes of the whole film are ones featuring these two.
It is great to see a big film like this with a large proportion of the cast in their fifties! While Hollywood is known for wanting its stars to be young, beautiful, slim and botoxed within an inch of their lives, it is refreshing to see this kind of movie with normal-looking older actors and actresses in it. Yay!
Well, who doesn't love Abba? Put Dancing Queen on and everyone knows the words from primary school kids to great-grandmothers. We can all sing along - and we did! The end of the film was great fun, with the audience singing and clapping, so make sure you stay for the credits. You will leave the cinema feeling uplifted and happy!
Of course, some of the songs have been slightly adapted to fit in with the plot, but there are loads of great Abba songs here. You get the old faves like Dancing Queen, Money Money Money, Take A Chance On Me, The Name of the Game and - obviously - the title track, but the film also features some of the lesser-known Abba tracks like Our Last Summer, Slipping Through My Fingers and When All Is Said and Done.
Look out for brief cameo performances from Benny and Bjorn too!
The film was shot in the UK and Greece and the Greek locations are stunning! You get the winding roads up to a little Greek chapel, the azure blue skies and clear deep blue seas and it is all beautifully idyllic. This is the closest you'll come to a foreign holiday without needing to pack your passport or get your feet wet.
Well, as you can tell, I loved Mamma Mia and everything about it. It's easy to get into and the two hours just fly by. It feels like the best party in the prettiest location ever! The story has it all - drama, tension, fun, comedy, high camp, glamour and -best of all - people running round a Greek island singing and dancing to Abba songs! What more could you want?
We loved it and both my mother-in-law and I said we plan to buy it on DVD when it comes out. It would be the ideal film to watch for a girlie night in, a sleepover, party or hen night and I can imagine my daughters and I singing along in our front room.
Summary: A wonderful film to cheer you up!