Mamma Mia! By Catherine Johnson
This film is a splendid ride, provided of course you do not have high expectations and wait for it to clear deep, existential issues and engage in spiritual, thoughtful debates.
Mamma Mia! Is just a summer film that sings its way through a thin, rather preposterous plot that has at the center a young girl, Sophie portrayed by a radiant Amanda Seyfried, who tries to find her father, just as she is getting married somewhere in Paradise, played here by a stupendous Greek island.
The mother is Donna aka Meryl Streep -perhaps the greatest actress of all time- in competition with Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert – and she has had affairs, almost at the same time, with three men and is therefore unable to say who the father is.
Sophie invites Bill aka Stellan Skarsgard, Sam aka Pierce Brosnan and Harry aka Colin Firth to the island, where her mother operates a hotel and she intends to learn who is her father.
As aforementioned, the story line is silly and it does not help if one tries hard – or at all- to make any sense of it…instead, the best option is to just relax, enjoy the adapted ABBA songs, supposing you are a fan, otherwise it would not do, for there are:
Mamma Mia, Dancing Queen, Money, Give Me, The Winner Takes It All, Chiquitita and other major hits of this once super band.
There are highlights, such as the moment when the three great male actors appear on stage in silly “Dancing Queen” outfits that are so outrageous they are wonderful fun.
Meryl Streep proves again that she is a legend, a deity, the ultimate Goddess of cinema – contrary to what the stupid orange jerk that is supposed to lead the civilized world has said about her.
After Sophie’s Choice, Kramer vs. Kramer, the Hours, Adaptation, Out of Africa, The Bridges of Madison County, Ironweed, Heartburn, Silkwood, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, The Deer Hunter, Manhattan and other stellar performances in quintessential masterpieces, this phenomenal actress proves repeatedly that she can play anything:
Drama, comedy and or musical!
Oh, there are also a few moments of deep, serious introspection and invitation to meditate, when Sophie talks to her would be husband and says that she wants to learn about herself…she was maybe thinking of Socrates and the famous encouragement:
The young man retorts that this is all very well, but this self-knowledge would not be in any way improved by the discovery of her father, which seems to obsess the young woman, right before her marriage.
The reflections of the three former lovers of Donna, all convinced in turn that they are responsible for such a splendid daughter, are supposed to be funny and maybe they are to a certain degree, depending on much you bought in the premise and decided to just go along with the joy ride, without paying too much attention to details.
At the wedding ceremony, the initial idea was that no one would bring the bride to the groom, but when the priest mentions the magic words, first Bill, then Sam and finally Harry stand up and want to take their daughter to her future husband, each saying he is the father.
Alas, the mother is not sure and we then learn what happened, how she was involved – is this in love? If we consider one point of view expressed by Thomas Mann in one of his resplendent short stories, love is met only in fiction, in real life; humans do not show the dedication, resilience, devotion, loyalty, passion required by love- with Sam.
Sam had been engaged to be married, traveled from this very same Greek paradisiacal island to his would be wife, only to let her know that the marriage is off and return.
Nevertheless, when he returned, the upset Donna, thinking she had been abandoned, was already in an affair with someone else, hence the confusion and the impossibility of saying with certainty who the father is.
Why is it that they did not resort to DNA testing?
Well…this is light musical, not a courtroom drama…
Besides, they have already finished production for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and perhaps they will have made the tests in there.