I recently saw Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again and to my surprise, The ABBA jukebox musical was one of my favorite experiences at the theater this year. It made me feel things that not many other films have as of late, managing to perfectly walk the line between melancholy and ridiculously happy. I smiled more than I have in a long time, but I also cried at several poignant moments throughout the film. The themes of family and dealing with loss in particular really struck a chord with me. I thought that there was no way that this could ever live up to the original, but I’ve never been happier to be proven wrong!
This movie isn’t fantastic from a filmmaking perspective, like Mamma Mia! it suffers from bad acting, some downright terrible singing (though it’s not as bad as the original since Pierce Brosnan only gets one song this time) and a paper-thin plot that falls apart under any scrutiny. Here We Go Again begs you not to take it too seriously or even think about it too much and that is precisely why it is such a fantastic movie.
This summer was incredibly crowded at the box office, with huge “event movies” seemingly coming out every week. Now I love franchise films as much as the next nerd who writes for a pop culture website, but even I can admit that it can get exhausting.
I really needed a nice, lowkey time at the movies, where I could turn off my brain and not have to worry about any consequences or a potential cinematic universe. Here We Go Again completely delivered on this front. It is escapism at its finest. Two hours jammed packed full with wonderful music and set pieces with just enough heart to hit with several emotional gut punches.
Sure there are plot holes and it doesn’t make much sense a lot of the time, but it doesn’t need to because that’s not why people love these movies. They know you’re there to escape to a Greek island, listen to some ABBA music and have a great time for a little while and they execute that feeling brilliantly.
We spend a lot of the time with Lily James (Young Donna) and Amanda Seyfried (Sophie) and both of them do an incredible job. Lily James in particular brilliantly captures the carefree spirit of Donna and really pulls you into whatever song she’s performing. The rest of the cast, both new and returning also do a fantastic job. Even Pierce Brosnan got me to tear up at one point. The actors are fully aware of what movie they’re in and you can tell they are having the time of their lives!
Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again reminded me of why I fell in love with movies In the first place, because I have fun watching them. Movies can challenge you, introduce you to bold new ideas, and break the mold of everything you’ve seen before. Those movies are so important, but I forget sometimes that movies can also just be fun. In today’s climate especially, having a film that is so unapologetically enthusiastic, where you can just sit back, laugh and cry for a couple of hours may be exactly what you need, it certainly was exactly what I needed.