Mamma Mia! (PG)

Film

Musicals

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5
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Time Out says

Wed Jul 9 2008

Throughout the screening of ‘Mamma Mia!’ I kept clocking the security guard in the corner. What was he thinking, I wondered, as Pierce Brosnan belted out a power-ballad version of Abba’s ‘SOS’? For Bond purists, it must be like seeing your dad in a dress. Equally, what might this beacon of masculinity think if he saw me smiling as this featherweight and often ridiculous musical drew to a finale that’s so sunny, so saccharine, that you’d be forgiven for thinking that all involved were high on happy pills?

Presumably the guard was there to check that none of us took any snaps of Meryl Streep. There she was cavorting across the screen in dungarees with hair like straw, skipping through olive groves and singing ‘Dancing Queen’ with a Greek chorus in tow. One call to the taste police and the authorities would arrest her and withdraw all reels of this sickly sweet yet wildly – bafflingly – fun film. Once the credits – which feature the cast, dressed in pantomime ’70s gear, bashing out ‘Waterloo’ – had rolled, I asked the guard what he thought. ‘I’ve seen it four times,’ he said, with perfect timing. And you like it? Pause. ‘It has its moments.’

The story has all the symmetry and drive of a stage show. Twenty-year-old American Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is about to marry her fiancé, Sky (Dominic Cooper), in the grounds of a dilapidated hotel on a Greek island run by her tireless boho mother, Donna (Streep). Only she doesn’t know which of three of her mum’s former lovers is her dad. The solution? Invite them all.And so, unknown to Donna, businessman Sam (Brosnan), old hippy Bill (Stellan Skarsgård) and City gent Harry (Colin Firth) rock up to the sunniest of Greek islands.

They sing, they dance, they wonder who’s the father. It’s ‘Paternity: The Musical’. The story is pat, some voices are ropey, but Phyllida Lloyd succeeds in bringing this musical to the screen by indulging in not a whiff of ’70s nostalgia (until the credits), taking all the right things seriously – design, locations, casting,  choreography – and rejecting elements that would have made it less forgivable: gloss, cynicism and irony.

Despite a flow of beach bods, there’s no worship of superficial beauty beyond the casting of the young leads, Seyfried and Cooper (and neither is a vapid youngster of ‘The OC’ sort). Lloyd plays it straight as a bat and finds a working balance between the fantasy of the musical numbers, the fairytale story and the down-to-earth presentation of the characters. The one concession she makes to Hollywood is that more of the leads are American than in the stage version – but  she more than compensates by casting Julie Walters in a major role.

Just watch her sing and dance to ‘Take a Chance on Me’. There’s nothing slick about that. The men are a rum, awkward bunch. Skarsgård (age 57) looks like he’s having far too good a time being rubbed by young women during one number; Colin Firth doesn’t push the boat out and plays a bumbling Englishman; and, however hard he tries, Brosnan doesn’t remind you of Brando in ‘Streetcar…’ even when yelling ‘Donna!’ at Streep.

‘Mamma Mia!’ is not a man’s film. I mean this in the way that films about football hooligans who get loaded and smash the skulls of other hooligans are not women’s films. But I suspect that a fair few men (and not a few women) will find that this film appeals to an urge for wholesome trash and confounds their expectations. Against the odds, ‘Mamma Mia!’ is a summer movie that’s as camp as Christmas and as enjoyable as a pantomime. I suspect Streep will win an Oscar nomination; at 59, and still doing the splits, she’s game enough to deserve one.
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Release details

Rated:

PG

UK release:

Fri Jul 11, 2008

Duration:

109 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:267
  • 4 star:10
  • 3 star:5
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
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1 person listening
Mike

Just tell it like it is: This film is complete pants. The only reason I suspect so many "names" were in it was because of the fees they got - I read Meryl Streep got $7m - and probably some royalties too. I'm happy to be in something dreadful for $7m for a few weeks work. For those who haven't seen it - this film's toe-curlingly dreadful.

John

I almost enjoyed Mamma Mia, but it would be hard to say quite why. A silly story, punctuated by Abba songs (which all sound very much the same) in a very faux Greek Island setting where the priest in the little Orthodox Church was a Roman Catholic priest happy to marry a divorcee with noi questions asked. Fatuous nonsense. But very energetic.

JR

I very good and funny story. With too many unnecessary musical performances. Pierce Brosnan (whom I've enjoyed for years) could have excersised his liscense to kill when he attempted to sing. Too many dance routines that stretched out too long and singers that shouldn't have been allowed to sing. Cut 50% of the musical performances and you'd have a great summer feelgood movie. Meryl looks good in overalls. Worth seeing, but not sure if I wish to repeat the experience.

victoria

This is the best film I have ever seen. It isn't just coz I like the songs it is because the cast really ARE meant for their characters. My brothe really liked Rosie (played by Julie Walters) There is no point buyin this film coz u can get it on sky now and download it onto a dvd. (Okay yes I have bought the dvd and watched it about a million times joke!) GET THIS MOVIE!!!

victoria

This is the best film I have ever seen. It isn't just coz I like the songs it is because the cast really ARE meant for their characters. My brothe really liked Rosie (played by Julie Walters) There is no point buyin this film coz u can get it on sky now and download it onto a dvd. (Okay yes I have bought the dvd and watched it about a million times joke!) GET THIS MOVIE!!!

mel

i loved mamma mia, i watched it loads off times. ive got it on dvd!! it is a wkd film soph + sky :) all the abba songs are great!! love mel xx

Stephen

Oh dear, Selected it for my wife as she heard it was a great "feelgood" movie. After the first couple of songs even she was reaching for the fast forward button on the musical breaks! Badly sung and danced by the cast to almost cringeworthy standards. Sorry fans of the film, but not our cup of tea.

film crit

I've been cheated by you since I don't know when So I made up my mind, it must come to an end Look at me now, will I ever learn? I don't know how but I suddenly lose control There's a fire within my soul Just one look and I can hear a bell ring One more look and I forget everything, o-o-o-oh Mamma mia, here I go again My my, how can I resist you? Mamma mia, does it show again? My my, just how much I've missed you Yes, I've been brokenhearted Blue since the day we parted Why, why did I ever let you go? Mamma mia, now I really know, My my, I could never let you go. I've been angry and sad about the things that you do I can't count all the times that I've told you we're through And when you go, when you slam the door I think you know that you won't be away too long You know that I'm not that strong. Just one look and I can hear a bell ring One more look and I forget everything, o-o-o-oh Mamma mia, here I go again My my, how can I resist you? Mamma mia, does it show again? My my, just how much I've missed you Yes, I've been brokenhearted Blue since the day we parted Why, why did I ever let you go? Mamma mia, even if I say Bye bye, leave me now or never mamma mia, it's a game we play Bye bye doesn't mean forever Mamma mia, here I go again My my, how can I resist you? Mamma mia, does it show again? My my, just how much I've missed you Yes, I've been brokenhearted Blue since the day we parted Why, why did I ever let you go Mamma mia, now I really know My my, I could never let you go

film crit

I've been cheated by you since I don't know when So I made up my mind, it must come to an end Look at me now, will I ever learn? I don't know how but I suddenly lose control There's a fire within my soul Just one look and I can hear a bell ring One more look and I forget everything, o-o-o-oh Mamma mia, here I go again My my, how can I resist you? Mamma mia, does it show again? My my, just how much I've missed you Yes, I've been brokenhearted Blue since the day we parted Why, why did I ever let you go? Mamma mia, now I really know, My my, I could never let you go. I've been angry and sad about the things that you do I can't count all the times that I've told you we're through And when you go, when you slam the door I think you know that you won't be away too long You know that I'm not that strong. Just one look and I can hear a bell ring One more look and I forget everything, o-o-o-oh Mamma mia, here I go again My my, how can I resist you? Mamma mia, does it show again? My my, just how much I've missed you Yes, I've been brokenhearted Blue since the day we parted Why, why did I ever let you go? Mamma mia, even if I say Bye bye, leave me now or never mamma mia, it's a game we play Bye bye doesn't mean forever Mamma mia, here I go again My my, how can I resist you? Mamma mia, does it show again? My my, just how much I've missed you Yes, I've been brokenhearted Blue since the day we parted Why, why did I ever let you go Mamma mia, now I really know My my, I could never let you go

John Charles

Oh dear, what a disappointment. Julie Walters and Pierce Brosnan were out of their depth. I love the music of Abba -- this wasted many of the top numbers vand the storyline was risible and got nowhere.

savieh

it is mint !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!iv seen it 7 tyms yeye

savieh

it is mint !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!iv seen it 7 tyms yeye

James

I like ABBA cd's, but not this. Too many of the stars couldn't sing, and the characters were annoying.

mamarita

this was the best feel good movie of 20000008.nothing can beat it .it woz fab-u-l-os

mamarita

this was the best feel good movie of 20000008.nothing can beat it .it woz fab-u-l-os

baby

it was so good i watched it on the plane i love donna and sofie dey r gr8

baby

it was so good i watched it on the plane i love donna and sofie dey r gr8

chicca

hello I come from germany and saw the film 2 month ago in the cinema I don't like old songs but the ones in the film were awesome...I loved this movie!!! (I hope that my english is quite correct :) )

chicca

hello I come from germany and saw the film 2 month ago in the cinema I don't like old songs but the ones in the film were awesome...I loved this movie!!! (I hope that my english is quite correct :) )

josh

ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC FILM SAW IT LAST NIGHT LOVED IT I'M 14 AND I THINK ITS AMAZING SO ITS GOTTA BE GOOD!

josh

ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC FILM SAW IT LAST NIGHT LOVED IT I'M 14 AND I THINK ITS AMAZING SO ITS GOTTA BE GOOD!

Amber

i have just got the dvd so i hope it this good as every 1 says it is :):) xxx

Amber

i have just got the dvd so i hope it this good as every 1 says it is :):) xxx

Ken

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS MOVIE! I SAW IT 3 TIMES! I saw the regular one twice and I saw the Sing-Along Version once! LOVED EVERY MOMENT OF IT!

Ken

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS MOVIE! I SAW IT 3 TIMES! I saw the regular one twice and I saw the Sing-Along Version once! LOVED EVERY MOMENT OF IT!

Amy

Just seen it for the first time. Absolutely brilliant. Wish I'd seen it ages ago. Love the whole cast. Love Colin. Best film of the year.

Amy

Just seen it for the first time. Absolutely brilliant. Wish I'd seen it ages ago. Love the whole cast. Love Colin. Best film of the year.

nat

mammia wa fab great story loved the people who starred u done ur self proud who eva produced it

nat

mammia wa fab great story loved the people who starred u done ur self proud who eva produced it

BigAl

Mamma Mia is a wonderful escapism film. Loads of laughter descent storyline. Excellently cast, yes even Pierce Brosnan's singing just adds to to fun! Great to see children dancing in the isles and nobody caring because everyone was in such a feel good mood.

BigAl

Mamma Mia is a wonderful escapism film. Loads of laughter descent storyline. Excellently cast, yes even Pierce Brosnan's singing just adds to to fun! Great to see children dancing in the isles and nobody caring because everyone was in such a feel good mood.

aimee

i think mamma mia is fab i`m still watching the film and i`ve seen it well this is going to be the fourteenth time.

aimee

i think mamma mia is fab i`m still watching the film and i`ve seen it well this is going to be the fourteenth time.

Laura

Film of the Year! Come out smiling! Loved it! Perfect for all ages!

Laura

Film of the Year! Come out smiling! Loved it! Perfect for all ages!

aimee

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aimee

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