Release Year: 2008
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Writer: Cathrine Johnson (screenplay & musical book)
Starring: Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, Julie Walters, Christine Baranski, Stellan Skarsgård, Colin Firth, Dominic Cooper
Rating: Nominated for 2 Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical. Best Actress – Comedy or Musical (Meryl Streep).
Told through the popular hit songs of ABBA, a young bride-to-be (Amanda Seyfried) tries to find her real father before the ceremony and secretly invites all the possible candidates from her mother’s past to the wedding.
During the 1970s and early 1980s, the Swedish pop group ABBA took the world by storm with hits such as “Waterloo”, “Dancing Queen”, “Ring Ring”, and “Mamma Mia!”. Their catchy melodies and great lyrics lend themselves beautifully to this kind of musical in which a story is written around a number of previously written songs (known as a jukebox musical). Directed by Phyllida Lloyd (The Iron Lady, 2011), who also directed the stage play on which the film is based, makes her feature film début here and comes off quite well. Set on a beautiful Greek island the film offers stunning scenery that functions as a relaxing backdrop to the drama of the plot. In fact, the setting is so gorgeous it almost outshine the otherwise impressive cast, lead by a great Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia, 2009), and sets its male trio: Brosnan, Skarsgård, Firth, in unusual roles. The cast do all of their own sining, with somewhat mixed results; Seyfried (Les Misérables, 2012) is a proven musical star, but Streep surprises with a strong voice and presence, later repeated in the films Into the Woods (2014) and Ricki and the Flash (2015). Brosnan on the other hand is a different story. The film has lots to offer when it comes to humour, great music, and pretty pictures, which help to cover for a week story and bland characters. If you love ABBA and pretty, light entertainment you can add an extra star to the rating.
Meryl Streep went to Stockholm, Sweden to do her vocals for the song “The Winner Takes It All”. Former ABBA member and composer of the songs, Benny Andersson, was present and called Streep’s performance “a miracle”.
Picture Copyright: UIP