“I always say God should have given women one extra decade at least, especially if you want a family. You’re trying to pack a lot in.”
Mama Mia! Here We Go Again: My Review
I identify as male. I might not be the best to review this movie because it is the chick-y-est chick-flick I have ever seen. As a fan of rom-coms and musicals, I’ve been exposed to plenty of, and I don’t really like the label because I am in the audience, chick flicks. Mama Mia! Here We Go Again is about woman, through and through; from finding past lovers to parenthood, to friends, to babies, to generations. Set the love affairs aside, it is all about moms and daughters.
I think we should all pause for a moment and recognize the resumes of the cast. We have a LOT of actors who have been super stars for decades with tv, movie and stage statues on their mantles at home.
Lily James plays the lead and has to have the specter of Meryl Streep over her, a tough act to follow as they say. Lily is very good and carries the day. Fantastic even. Personally, I have not seen the level of commitment needed to sing/dance on the way to an Oscar since Catherine Zeta-Jones in Chicago. Her energy extends beyond the movement, a real pleasure to watch.
Cher, who plays Meryl’s mom (they are only three years apart in age) almost stole the show. I heard applause in the audience after Fernando and this was an audience of adults. Super-star Cher shed her aloof dead-pan façade and was totally generous and I loved her for it.
Christine Baranski deserves an entire review on her performance. She does not steal the show, she is the perfect support cast member. Her quick asides are hilarious, “be still my beating vagina” and “have him washed and sent to my tent” are so very quick and campy and funny. Given the chance, she has done this her whole career. I remember seeing her for the first time on Cybil and her hitting the hard Ds in Doctor Dick. Damn, she is soo good to have in a movie!
The rest of the cast. Well we have the old generation and the new. The new actors channeled their older counter-parts very well. Specifically Christine Baranski’s younger doppelganger, Jessica Keenan Wynn; nailed it. That is the big part of the fun, figuring out who the kids are when we already know the grown-ups.
The movie making is campy, disco and loose. It needs to be for us to accept the uncomfortable break-into-song moments. The director does a great job early on with the two long-distance lover’s song. With all the old-school tricks like appearing side-by-side in a mirror and then a smooth roll to them being back to back in the same shot with a wall dividing them: even though they are apart, they are together. These classic romantic sequences fold one into the next into the next very early on and, I think, necessary for us to be prepared for the jarring burst into song and dance.
And, it is ABBA. Obviously, you can’t go wrong with that.