Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again review

Sabrina Bohn, Deputy Managing EIC

“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” is exactly what you would expect: cheesy dance numbers, catchy Abba songs and predictable romance sequences. A bit overwhelming if you’re a film snob, but luckily, I’m not. Sure, it’s not in the running for Best Picture, but if you don’t enjoy this movie, you’re lying to yourself. So, instead of going to see that depressing indie movie or loud action movie, go see this lighthearted and infectiously happy musical.

Lily James, playing young Donna Sheridan (aka young Meryl Streep), carries this movie with her emotional depth and energetic vocals. Her character glows with hope and new opportunities as she subsequently meets her infamous love interests, Harry, Bill and Sam, eventually landing on the Greek island that becomes setting for both the past and present parts of the film. While Donna deals with her love life and the prospect of opening her own hotel, her future daughter, Sophie, played by Amanda Seyfried, reopens the hotel while also facing troubles with her husband. Despite the differences in their lives at this point, their stories start to mirror each other when Sophie finds out she’s pregnant on the Greek island, just like her mother was with her. This development gives the lighthearted feel of the movie more depth with both Donna and Sophie’s added emotions. Unlike Donna, however, Sophie is surrounded by people she loves at the hotel her mother built, showing how much Donna’s hard work paid off for her family. The relationships presented in this movie, between friends, lovers and family, illustrates the beauty of love and obviously, gives way to an essential part of the movie: the soundtrack.

For some musical movies, I get tired of the constant interruption of scenes with song and dance. In this film, however, the ABBA songs are one of my favorite parts of the movie. From the start, with the song “I Kissed the Teacher,” the music makes you want to get up and dance (which some people in the theater actually did at one point). But despite the many bops and bangers, there are also a few ballads that lend to the film’s cheesy romantic aspects. Songs like “One of Us” illustrate the struggles Sophie goes through with her husband, complete with flashes of the two pining over each other as they sing. Although all the songs are easily lovable, one of my favorites was the song that shares the name of the film. After a brokenhearted Donna declares that she doesn’t want to sing about love, she starts softly singing the first verse of “Mamma Mia” (which I’d say is actually about love). As the song continues, she gains more confidence, dancing around with her two best friends and belting out lyrics about love and heartbreak. The reason I adore this part is that it encapsulates the movie perfectly with its unapologetically over the top ‘70s outfits, choreographed dance and irresistibly catchy melody.

Other than the expected frivolity, there’s not much I don’t enjoy about this movie. The especially cheesy parts, unlike other rom-coms, don’t feel forced or cringy; instead, they just add to the overall feel-good energy. With just the right amount of nostalgia for the first movie, this film is an audience pleaser, and it executes this purpose with grace. At its heart, this movie is fun and campy, not made for in-depth analysis. Although I love a good “Get Out” or “Lady Bird,” there’s nothing wrong with watching beautiful people fall in love, dance and sing catchy songs for a couple hours.

The Parkway West Pathfinder gives “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” a 7/10.