Mamma Mia II opens today & who better to review it than local actress Niamh Perry who played a major role when the theatre production toured globally? We tasked Niamh with giving us her F Words on the FILM.
When I first heard rumours that Mamma Mia 2 was in the pipeline I wasn’t too sure how I felt about it. In fact, I thought it was a joke. ABBA and the worldwide smash hit musical-turned-movie has been such a huge part of my life and my career. Surely there was no way they could top the already carefully woven storyline with some of the most recognisable and memorable melodies ever? No one could get it right twice right?
Mamma Mia- Here We Go Again is exactly what it should be. Feel-good, heart warming, brilliantly cheesy and fantastically camp.
The film is written and directed by Ol Parker (of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel fame) with story by Parker, Richard Curtis and Catherine Johnson (who wrote the original script for the musical back in 1999.)
The action jumps between Donna’s past and Sophie’s present as she get’s ready to re-launch her mother’s Greek hotel, aptly now renamed as Bella Donna. We step back in time to Donna Sheridan’s graduation day from Oxford University, and follow her on her journey to take a look at how she ‘actually’ met those famous “three possible dads” all those years ago. Lily James is wonderful as the younger version of Meryl Streep’s Donna, bringing sass and energy to the role, not to mention a beautiful singing voice. As well as welcoming back the Hollywood Royalty cast from the original Mamma Mia Movie, the film introduces a talented new bunch of actors in Hugh Skinner, Josh Dylan and Jeremy Irvine who play Harry (Colin Firth), Bill (Stellan Skarsgård) and Sam (Pierce Brosnan) respectively. Shout out to Hugh Skinner who’s Young Harry brings the perfect balance of awkward geeky charm.
Jessica Keenan Wynn as Young Tanya and Alexa Davies as Young Rosie also shine in their roles, perfectly cementing the unbreakable friendship shown by Streep, Walters and Baranski in the original movie.
There are quite a few brilliantly timed cameos in the film. Benny and Bjorn pop up every so often when you least expect it, Omid Djalili is comedy gold as the Greek Customs Officer and Celia Imrie is fantastic as Vice- Chancellor of the University. Her turn in When I Kissed The Teacher with Lily James is amazing!
However, nothing quite prepared me for the entrance of Cher as Ruby Sheridan, mother to Donna (Meryl Streep) and grandmother to Sophie (Amanda Seyfried.) I was invited to watch a preview of the movie a few weeks ago (along with some of my lovely friends and peers who feature in the movie’s ensemble ‘Greek Chorus’) and the whole cinema erupted into a frenzy at the sheer sight of the woman. She is Glam, Fabulous and everything you want her to be. Her version of Fernando is a definite highlight.
I could talk about this movie all day and I’ve tried not to give away too many spoilers but to sum up, it is the summer blockbuster we all need to see. Beautifully shot with an amazing cast and the perfect balance between cheese, honest storytelling and some of the best songs ever written. I defy you not to enjoy every single second. My F Word? FANTASTIC! Enjoy!