Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is the sequel to the incredibly popular Mamma Mia musical that has swept the world. The original, from 2008 was the fifth highest grossing film in 2008. Waiting ten years for a sequel, we are presented with Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. The film follows Sophie as she is planning a grand opening of the remodeled and renovated hotel. As she’s planning the celebration, she is faced with one problem after another and is anxiously awaiting the arrival of some very important guests. The current timeline is interwoven with her mother, Donna’s (Meryl Streep) time as a young woman following her graduation in 1979. As she finds her way through life and her way to Kalokairi, her friends, Tanya (Jessica Keenan Wynn) and Rosie (Alexa Davies) are along for the ride. Donna (Lily James) navigates her way through life, and we get to experience her meeting and brief relationships with Sophie’s three fathers, Harry (Hugh Skinner), Bill (Josh Dylan), and Sam (Jeremy Irvine). The result of the film is a more in-depth view of the past of the characters we’ve come to adore from the original Mamma Mia as well as some new faces.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is more along the lines of what I was expecting with the first Mamma Mia and was sorely missing. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is ambitious in tackling huge musical numbers that have intricate choreography, set design, and costumes. It is the big-budget musical we all love that fills our hearts with joy. I also feel that this film has many more musical numbers in general, which bring levity and flow to the storyline. Despite the almost two hour runtime, the film feels fresh, well-paced and enchanting from start to finish. Ol Parker’s writing is on point and provides a wonderful story for our characters.
Costume designer Michele Clapton, probably known best for Game of Thrones and The Crown has created magic with the costumes in the film. Flipping back and forth between present day and 1979, she manages to create looks that are iconic and stunning, while also being entirely relevant. From the glittery platform shoes to the skin-tight body suits, I loved every shimmery outfit. She also brings the flair of a tropical island to the character’s clothing. The stunning flowing bohemian skirts and shirts and stunningly beautiful and something I’d love to wear. They fit the characters perfectly and did what all great costumes do, emphasize the personality of the characters.
What is so incredibly surprising about Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is how emotional the film becomes. The connections between the characters are explored much more intricately and therefore gives a strong connection between the characters and the audience. The messages the film sends are both poignant and beautiful, giving the audience and a new perspective on relationships and how they shape us as people. It is remarkably done and leaves you with a longlasting appreciation and love for the bonds with the loved ones in your life.
The cast of the film is spot-on. The original cast members are back and bringing the same vibrant life to the characters we’ve loved for ten years. Julie Walters as Rosie and Christine Baranski as Tanya are incredibly funny and bring a certain charisma to the screen. While the original cast members are spectacular, the work of the newcomers and younger actors breathe life into the characters, therefore enriching our appreciation of the characters. Lily James as Young Donna is perfect. Her performance encompassed everything we loved about Meryl Streep’s character and more. Her optimism and excitement about what the future can hold are positively contagious.
Alongside James, Jessica Keenan Wynn and Alexa Davies are spectacular. Their chemistry together is perfect, and their musical numbers are showstopping. Jeremy Irvine, Josh Dylan, and Hugh Skinner are flawless casting choices for Sam, Bill, and Harry. The musical numbers were marvelous, particularly “Waterloo” performed by Hugh Skinner and Lily James. Between the endearing performance by Hugh Skinner and the perfect choreography, the scene just sticks out as one of the best in the film. Some other characters that we get the joy of seeing on screen are Señor Cienfuegos (Andy Garcia) and Ruby Sheridan (Cher). While their characters are minor, they do serve a role in the film that is equally sweet and surprising. You can watch the 360 video below:
All in all, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again will delight and entertain audiences from start to finish. With a surprisingly emotional note, the audience will be moved and able to appreciate the relationships in their lives. Lily James is a perfect casting choice to bring Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again to the big screen in a big way. Musical theater fans will go nuts for the meticulous choreography, stunning costumes, and big musical numbers that make musicals the most uplifting and joyous time at the movies.