Review of Mamma Mia!

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Meryl Streep leads an all-star cast in the feature-film adaptation of the beloved musical. As an independent, single mother who owns a small hotel on an idyllic Greek island, Donna (Streep) is about to let go of engaged daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried). For Sophie's wedding, the proud mother has invited her two lifelong best friends from her one-time backing band, Donna and the Dynamos. Yet unbeknownst to Donna, Sophie has secretly invited a few guests of her own. Hoping to find the identity of her father so that he can walk her down the aisle, she brings back three men from Donna's past. Also starring Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper.
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Movie Review: "Mamma Mia!"

-- Rating: PG-13 (some sex-related comments)
Length: 108 minutes
Release Date: July 18, 2008
Directed by: Phyllida Lloyd
Genre: Comedy/Musical/Romance

"Mamma Mia!" is a romantic comedy based on a Broadway production of the same name. The film makes use of some classic ABBA hits from the 1970s, of which the group's most well-known number one hit, Mamma Mia, is used as the film title. For those who were huge ABBA fans back in the day, this film brings back some great memories. Making the ABBA experience all the more real, the music for the film was composed by a former ABBA band member: Benny Andersson.

The director of this film, Phyllida Lloyd, had directed an ABBA musical back in 1999. However, "Mamma Mia!" was the first experience that Lloyd had in directing film. Before this role, many of her directing roles were in theatre, where she had built up a solid reputation. The success of this film led her to receiving the director role for "The Iron Lady," which went on to win multiple movie awards.
"Mamma Mia!" has many well-known actors, such as Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, and Colin Firth. Streep also appeared in "The Iron Lady" as Margaret Thatcher. In addition to these well-established Hollywood superstars, young up-and-comers Amanda Seyfried, Ashley Lilley, Rachel McDowall, and Dominic Cooper all make a name for themselves.

The film opens on the Greek island of Kalokairi (known in real life as Skopelos), where Sophie Sheridan (played by Seyfried) sends off wedding invitations to three men whom she suspects could be her real father. After going through the diary of her mother (played by Streep), Sophie realizes that all three men were involved with her mother during the time when she was born. Sophie is about to be married to her boyfriend, Sky (played by Cooper), and then she realizes that she can entice all her potential fathers to her wedding in an attempt to discover the truth about her past. Her ultimate plan is to find out her true father and then have him walk her down the aisle during her wedding.

Donna, Sophie's mother, is unaware of the plan that has been hatched to bring all her former lovers together. Sophie plans to get the help of her bridesmaids, Lisa and Ali (played by McDowall and Lilley respectively), to determine which man is her legitimate father. Once the men arrive, Sophie attempts to hide their arrival by informing them that she was the one to invite all of them, not Donna. All three men agree not to reveal themselves to Donna. However, after Donna discovers them, she is perplexed as to why these three unrelated people have turned up together. It doesn't take long for the three men to figure out why they have been invited. However, each man is certain that he is the real father of Sophie, and this causes some friction between them. Even Donna is unsure as to who the real father of Sophie is.

Throughout all this commotion, Sophie's fiancée Sky is confused as to what is going on. She attempts to calm his fears but is unable to reveal her secret past. After some time, Sophie meets individually with each prospective father. After meeting with Bill, she is sure that he is the legitimate one. However, the other two men, Sam and Harry, each profess that he must be her real father. Not knowing what to do, Sophie asks Donna to walk her down the aisle since she cannot be totally sure who her real father is.

While walking down the aisle, Sophie confesses to Donna that the reason why she invited the three men was to determine which one was her actual father. While standing at the altar, each man agrees that they would share Sophie and thus they would all be her father. However, they all tell Sky that the two of them should wait to get married and travel the world first. As this is going on, Sam confesses that he has always loved Donna, and he proposes to her on the spot. Donna reciprocates his love, and the two of them get married instead of Sophie and Sky. The closing scene involves all of the couples dancing and singing, while Sophie and Sky sail off into the distance.

"Mamma Mia!" is a classic musical that contains many well-known ABBA hits for movie watchers to sing along to. There are plenty of lulls in the plot where everyone breaks into song with another ABBA classic. "Mamma Mia!" is great for anyone who is looking for a relaxing, upbeat movie that brings back plenty of wonderful ABBA memories.

Rating 3 out of 5 stars