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Phil Mercer

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mamma Mia! (Cert PG)


The making of this film was just a matter of time! The West End stage musical based on the songs of ABBA has now been a massive hit all over the world, so Benny and Björn were bound to move it to celluloid as well!

Set on a Greek island, we follow Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) as she approaches her wedding day. She lives on the island with her mother Donna (Meryl Streep) a retired pop singer who now owns a run down guest house accessible only by boat.

Sophie has a problem with her special day, who will give her away? She doesn't know who her father is, and she confides in her recently arrived bridesmaids that after reading her mothers diary she thinned it down to three potential men. Will it be Sam (Pierce Brosnan) an architect living in New York. The British banker Harry (Colin Firth) or the slightly hippy Swedish novelist Bill (Stellan Skarsgård).

Pretending to be her mother, she has invited Sam, Harry and Bill to the wedding expecting to work out who was her Dad, the moment she set eyes on him!

Of course, things don't go to plan, and with the help of Donna's friends Tanya (Christine Baranski) and Rosie (Julie Walters) we are taken on a chaotic sing-along to the special day.

I went to see this film on its opening night, in a cinema filled to the brim with ladies of a certain age in groups and occasional husbands / boyfriends / gay men sprinkled among them. They loved it and so did I.

There were times when the choice of song was a little tenuous and you could tell liberties were being taken with the plot line and dialogue in order to get to the singing. But you can't go wrong with a good bit of Abba, so it is a guaranteed success.

The cast is an interesting choice. Considering this is a musical, I didn't really think of Meryl Streep, Colin Firth and Julie Walters as great singers. They do scrape through. Not quite as well as Nicole and Ewan in Moulin Rouge, but nonetheless its not to excruciating! However Pierce Brosnan's attempts were really hard to get over.

Julie Walters makes a wonderful Rosie, with some of the best lines and comic scenarios and I can't help but be a little disappointed with the glossed over treatment of Colin Firths Harry later in the plot.

All in all a great evening entertainment for the girls!

Directed by Phyllida Lloyd
Produced by Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Benny Anderson and Björn Ulvaeus.
Universal Pictures.



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