Movie Review: Mamma Mia! (2008)

In this movie, there are three fathers, a horde of back-up dancers, a wedding and a half, and a heavenly overdose of Abba. This is one of those movies where production calculatingly managed to get the trifecta of filmmaking essentials (acting, music/sound, cinematography) down pat, without compromising spontaneity and whimsicality.  This is the stuff real romantic comedies are made of.

To say that acting is good would be an understatement.  On the female side, you get Meryl Streep in the middle, singing and dancing her 17-year old heart out (she forms a third of a cougar’s Dancing Queen number).  She is one part of a gigantic singing ensemble, but this movie is all her.  She steals the limelight with her surprising singing and dancing talent to demonstrate how she would’ve conquered the world of theater if she had stumbled there in a past life.  Meryl is supported by a fairly impressive duo composed of Julie Walters and Christine Baranski.  On the male side, the timelessly seductive Pierce Brosnan is front and center, himself belting out an equally surprising (and oh so sexy) voice, and supported by Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård, both known actors and little known singers.  Young talents Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper show vibrant energy and performances that parallel the well-established, older cast.  At this point an important part of the movie is spoilt for you:  actors have converged onstage to sing and dance to the public’s surprise and awe.

The singing and the choreography are themselves something to look out for.  These are no ordinary actors; they stretch melodic limits when they sing, and they move with theatrical grace to the beat.  Props go to the people responsible for putting these immensely talented actors and fantastic choreography together in what would rank among the most notable musical performances of 2008.  All to the tune of timeless Abba songs.

The movie is set in the sun-drenched beaches of Greece, so what’s not to love?  This island is lined with breathtaking landscape, inviting waters, charmingly old Mediterranean architecture, and a calming sense of island life.  This is as fantastic as weddings get.  Better yet, this is as unforgettable as summer romances get.

If you love music, this movie easily captures your heart.  If you love Abba, you will break out in song in at least one point in the movie.  But overall, this is guaranteed entertainment whatever your preference in music or movies.

Ladies and gentlemen, a promise of a future in musical theater from Amanda Seyfried.



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