Written by Wayne Townsend
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, or MM2, is the 2018 jukebox sequel to 2008’s Momma Mia! However, calling this a sequel does the film a disservice. This is a continuation of the story; the same way Godfather Part II is, only set to music. Told in flashbacks the film begins in the present, one year after the death of Donna Sheridan, the Meryl Streep character in the first film. It is a narrative of the life of young Donna, portraited this time by British actress Lily James. It chronicles how she met the three men who could be her daughter’s biological father, the dilemma of the first film. From her graduation from Oxford, to her discovery of the Greek isle where she spent the remainder of her life, the film moves back and forth from the two timelines. In the present Sophie, played by Amanda Seyfried, hopes to transform the villa where her mother lived into the hotel her mother always wanted, as the people in Donna’s life mourn her passing. Even as the death of the main character is the central point of the film, director Ol Parker lightens the mood somewhat by reminding the audience this gathering is a celebration of the light this beautiful spirit shined on everyone that knew her. The music from ABBA supplies the “dialogue” of the film, as the songs successfully continue weaving a tale worthy of romcom status. Rounding out the returning cast are, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard as Sophie’s three dads. The music still resonates and doesn’t feel dated. But the icing on the cake is the cameo by Cher. There are several words in the American lexicon that has been devalued through overuse. Streisand, Franklin, Medler, Ross, Cher, Divas all. With little effort, she steals the show and reminds us why the word was created in the first place. It was wise to hold her performance until the end of the film, as she made it clear the other singers in the movie were actors simply carrying a tune. As jukebox musicals go, this is fare, talented actors having a go at karaoke, it will bring a smile to your face seeing James Bond, or King George sing and dance on a beach. Fun, not great, 2 ½ out of 5.