Rated PG-13; Directed by Phyllida Lloyd; Starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Julie Walters, Christine Baranski, Stellan Skarsgård, Dominic Cooper
If you want a movie with depth and dark emotions, don’t rush off to see Mamma Mia! It is the most frothy and frivolous film. This movie, based on the stage musical, takes ABBA songs and tells a lightweight story with sweet humor. It doesn’t always succeed, but it’s the kind of silly musical that leaves you with a smile.
The story is slight. Young Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), who is about to be married, has found information about who her possible father might be and invites the three potential candidates (played by Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgård) to her wedding. Mother Donna (Meryl Streep), shocked to see her three old lovers, still finds plenty of time to sing songs.
Merly Streep is great singing the ABBA songs, while displaying an irresistible giddiness that this kind of musical requires. The rest of the cast keeps up with her, especially Julie Walters and Christine Baranski as her friends. The gentlemen do…um…okay, but their singing isn’t quite as accomplished as Streep’s.
Though the movie doesn’t always gel, first time director Phyllida Lloyd keeps things moving and doesn’t try to make anything too serious. Filming on a gorgeous Greek island offers scenery to admire, and even sets up a perfect “Greek chorus” to add to the shenanigans. There are some plot points that don’t bear investigation – the timeframe from young hippies to current time seems a little longer than Sophie’s twenty years, but this is a movie to turn off the brain. Mamma Mia! is a trifle of a movie. Yet your toes tap, your face smiles, and silly trifles don’t seem so bad.