Monday, July 21, 2008
Mamma Mia, how I loved this movie. All I can think about is when I can go back to see it. This is ironic, seeing as my first impression of the movie was "that looks totally cheesy." However, when I first saw the previews, I had no idea it was A) a musical and B) the famous Broadway musical with all the Abba songs. Once I realized that, the flamboyancy and goofiness made sense.
Still, I was a little hesitant as the opening credits rolled. I am always wary of musicals... usually the dramatic flare and overacting, while perfectly acceptable on stage, makes me squirm watching it on the big screen. People just shouldn't act like that. Plus, I am sadly uneducated in the songs of Abba and the musical Momma Mia. I have heard of them, that's about it. I had no idea what it was about. For those of you like me, the bottom line is a young girl is getting married and wants her father to give her away, but she has no idea who her father is. After reading her mom's old diary, she invites the three men it could possibly be to the Greek island where she and her mom run a hotel, unbeknownst to her mom. Of course, confusion and chaos ensue, as do numerous song and dance numbers.
After a dream sequence in which Meryl is jet skiing in an evening gown, I was just starting to wonder how I was going to sit through the next two hours when the one song I knew from the soundtrack--Dancing Queen--started up.
What is it about that song?! Every girl cell in my body woke up with a start. I watched in awe as Meryl Streep did air-splits on her bed, cheerleader-style, dancing around with her friends, singing into hair brushes and hair dryers, and I am completely and totally embarrassed to admit what I'm about to admit: I was fighting back tears!! I know, ridiculous! But I know I was only feeling what every other woman in the theater was feeling (and the entire theater was women, almost all of which were over 50): that part of us that will always be 17 years old, dancing around with our friends, singing at the top of our lungs. It took everything in me to sit still and not jump out of my seat and start dancing in the aisles. There was one woman up front who apparently didn't possess my level of self-control. She jumped up and started singing and dancing along with Meryl. It was awesome. I totally wish I would have done it. The entire theater clapped for her when the song was over.
After that, suddenly the movie appealed to me on all new levels. I loved every song after that, and started to relate to the characters emotionally. It helps that Amanda Seyfried, who played the lead, Sophie, is drop-dead gorgeous in a wide-eyed, innocent sort of way. She was perfect, and I loved watching her sweetness. She has a beautiful, clear voice as well.
And Meryl, while not a personal favorite, is unquestionably an amazing actress, and although I wouldn't say musicals is her genre, she could sing, and she was very convincing as a single mother trying to raise her daughter and make ends meet, while echoes from her past remind her of the girl she used to be (and still is). Her friends were a hoot (see if you can recognize her wacky friend with the short dark hair) and also competent singers.
The three men (Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and Stellan Sarsgard) are adorably charming, even if their singing voices leave something to be desired. (Even the old women next to me who did nothing but gush through the entire movie started to chuckle when Pierce Brosnan busted out a ballad to Meryl. It was not pretty.)
What I loved about it, besides the catchy songs and fun dances, was the characters and the actors who played them. The movie encompassed a large variety of subplots and emotions. From young love to lost love to learning who you are to the bond between a mother and her daughter...it was all kinds of "pass the tissue."
Not to mention the GORGEOUS setting on a Greek island. Oh, how I longed to be there swimming in the clear green water. (The good kind of green, tropical green, not algae green.)
And Colin Firth was a crack-up, giving me the most laughs, although I'm not sure he was trying to be funny.
So...what I'm thinking is, I need to see this again, and I know for a fact my two viewing buddies would see it again in a heartbeat, and since so many people missed it who wanted to see it, we should have a repeat GNO. On one condition: We HAVE to get up and sing and dance. What do you think?