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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Meryl Streep
Pierce Brosnan
Colin Firth
Amanda Seyfried
Stellan Skarsgard
Julie Walters
Christine Baranski.
Directors
Phyllida Lloyd.
Screenwriters
Catherine Johnson.
Running Time
109 minutes

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Mamma Mia!
My, my, how can we resist it?


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Plot
Sophie (Seyfried) invites three men (Brosnan, Firth, Skarsgard) who could be her father to her wedding in Greece, unbeknownst to her single mother Donna (Streep). Shock reunions, confusions and Abba’s greatest hits ensue.


Review
Mamma Mia!

Okay, it ain’t West Side Story, but any musical that’s packed them in for a decade, played 170 cities in eight languages and been seen by over 30 million people clearly has something going for it. That something is the songs of innocent vitality and mature heartbreak from the classic Abba catalogue; Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus’s tunes inspired and propel a charming, energetic little tale that is basically a hen party with bells on.

Since the greatest actress of her generation can also sing, Meryl Streep was an obvious shoo-in when the show’s creators got the backing of Tom Hanks’s Playtone (looking for another Big Fat Greek Wedding?) to make the movie version. Streep and her comedic bosom buddies, Julie Walters and Christine Baranski, make a mighty sweet rumpus as the aging ex rock chicks. Amanda Seyfried and The History Boys’ Dominic Cooper play the young lovers, and are suitably attractive in beachwear. And then Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and token Swede Stellan Skarsgard, as the possible fathers, cavort with a blushing agreeability and are, arguably, more endearing for their air of schoolboy effort than polished musical stars would be.

As you would expect, performance quality thus ranges from Streep emotively nailing ’The Winner Takes It All’ to taverna karaoke. The manly contingent have the sheepish air of men who would rather be at football, but they get how amusing it is when they burst into song, and gamely play along.

The major gripe is that, as we’ve often seen when a respected stage director steps to the screen, the results of mixing realism with theatricality are, well, mixed. Some sequences work. There’s a joyous ‘Dancing Queen’, which sees Streep and gal pals drawing village women down to the sea. ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’ hilariously features a beach boy chorus line stomping their stuff in flippers. Other bits betray a maddening want of cinematic savvy. In Streep and Brosnan’s big moment his head is cut off. What the hell? Any kid with a camera could have found another angle or stood Meryl on a crate.

But it’s full of super troupers and smiles. Don’t leave during the credits or you’ll miss the encore, with the stars in 70s satin and platform boots giving ‘Waterloo’ plenty of welly.


Verdict
Cute, clean, camp fun, full of sunshine and toe tappers. Guaranteed to put grins on tweenies who are in to High School Musical, grans with a pair of platforms still at the back of the wardrobe, and a lot of people in between tone.


Reviewed by Angie Errigo

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Mamma Mia!
Empire Star Rating

The worst film ever made

I mean that sincerely. And I've been an Abba fan forever. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by onephatnelly at 18:43, 26 January 2014 | Report This Post


Magical Mamma !!!

What an Fantastic movie, Before watching this Hairspray was my favorite musical but this might just beat that, Loved the cast and couldn't stop singing all the way through. What a movie - Easily a 5 Star, Absolutely brilliant !!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ryanchallenger at 14:54, 17 June 2012 | Report This Post


Absolutely terrible

Thought this was terrible. The story goes nowhere, the acting is appalling, especially when you consider Meryl Streep is the lead, the songs are, for the most part, cheery dance mush. The worst part of all though, the singing. You cant put actors in a musical because their good actors. Bar Streep and Seyfried, none of them can sing. AWFUL MOVIE!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by stevolegendbauer at 16:00, 01 August 2010 | Report This Post


Feel-good musical which gets it right

Mammia Mia is something which I previously thought to be impossible: an official feel-good movie with actual substance. All the actors are very very fine, with the likes of Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard and Julie Walters delivering perfect performances. Describing the film as sweet will probably put many people off, but it really is sweet. Not too sentimental, mind you, but perfect in pace, tone and atmosphere. This is probably thanks to the combined efforts of Catherine Johns... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by djphilips at 17:50, 07 April 2010 | Report This Post


Great summer movie - cheers you up, plays in Greece and has Abba in it. And the actors are actually good! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by FanaticalAboutFilm at 14:35, 06 November 2009 | Report This Post


Watched it again in the bus on the way back from Paris: On the second viewing it still stands. Uber wrong of course and way over the top but it does exactly what you expect from a movie like this: entertain. Highly enjoyable and the lyrics of the songs fit excellent. Really well done! /b] ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 22:14, 27 April 2009 | Report This Post


Mamma Mia!

Great fun. Heterosexual male here who proudly admits to finding this a complete laugh. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jncorbett at 17:12, 12 April 2009 | Report This Post


Fantastic! for once, you can see the fun that the actor's had on set transferring through the screen right to my seat at home ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by AJS at 17:19, 08 January 2009 | Report This Post


HAVE I MISSED SOMETHING!!?!?!?!

Sorry - but to quote Simon Pegg - "AM I GOING COMPLETELY MAD?!" how on earth has this piece of tripe, excreted from the bowels of some appalling musical become such a hit - is the world we live in so bad that to escape it we find it fun to endure Pierce Brosnan acting as if he was in a school boy choir! What does it say about our society when such drivel becomes the highest grossing film of all time - probably it is watched by the same people who rush to install Leon Jackson or Steve B... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by danclay77 at 12:21, 01 January 2009 | Report This Post


Never let me see this again!!!!

What a terrible amateur movie!! Generally a stunning cast who all seem to have been given no direction except to imagine they are in an amateur panto. Particular note for the young female lead - very strong in Victoria Mara - who here is unwatchable smug, coy and cutsie pie - with lots of silent mugging and eye rolling when she has no lines. Really, tremendously bad. I was embarassed for the stars. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The Voice of Fate at 00:46, 31 December 2008 | Report This Post


Fun!

If you watch this film without cracking a smile and dont feel warm inside then you are not human! Brosnan is an idiot - I loved him in it! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by fraser1978 at 15:27, 29 December 2008 | Report This Post


Fun!

If you watch this film without cracking a smile and dont feel warm inside then you are not human! Brosnan is an idiot - I loved him in it! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by fraser1978 at 15:27, 29 December 2008 | Report This Post


It's camp, badly acted, undesiciplined in its direction, Colin Firth can't dance or sing or act, Pierce Brosnan can't dance or sing or act and the plot is so thin they have to fit ABBA songs around it to try make it look coherent. And with all that, Mamma Mia! is brilliant. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by willchadwick at 23:32, 28 December 2008 | Report This Post


I was wrong

An Abba fan since birth i thought how can anybody sing abba songs as good as the real thing???how wrong i was...If yu don't enjoy this film, there is something seriously wrong with you....A triple a cast who make fun of themselves...no car chases,murders,stabbings...just great,great fun from start to end..It's the only time(i was in Downtown Disney cinema)i've seen people up dancing in the aisles...but what a great movie...no doubt ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by spidersim at 23:35, 05 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Feel-Good Romantic Musical.

After about 10 minutes of watching this I wanted to stick a boot through the screen but once I'd been plied with booze and calmed down I found myself actually quite enjoying it. The classic ABBA tunes and gorgeous sunny look of the whole thing certainly exude a feel-good positivity and all in all it turned out to be good fun. The songs mostly fit really well with the plot and only once did I really feel a scene was contrived to shoehorn one in. The ladies involved can all adequately carry... More

Posted by Fluke Skywalker at 14:13, 01 December 2008 | Report This Post


Feel-Good Romantic Musical.

I am a fan of ABBA since I was a little girl and loved their romantic and feel-good songs. Then there was the hype of Mamma Mia, becoming a fast-selling film of 2008 and I just had to see it to listen to the songs and how these top people can sing it. Can they? Yes they can. My mum wasn't really intrested so she fell asleep so it was just me and my sister dancing and humming to the words. The film dosn't have anything harsh other than some sexual reffecenes and mild bad words but it's worth for ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 09:44, 30 November 2008 | Report This Post


(Camp)letely Awful!!

Let's get something right from the off - the plot is not based on or around Abba tunes; the first line of the song is indeed a kick-start from what someone has just said, but the rest of the song's lyrics do not fit. There's no finer example for this than The Winner Takes It All: Brosnan wants to talk about his potential parentage with Streep but she responds, 'I don’t want to talk' and cue song. That's all fine and well , but when it gets to the chorus the song makes ab... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 11:22, 29 November 2008 | Report This Post


Mamma Mia!

Here’s a word of warning, leave any shred of serious sensibility at the door for this one because take it from me it won’t survive the unapologetic cornfest that is Mamma Mia! From a distance, i.e. during the opening credits, Mamma Mia! looks and sounds like quite an entertaining, punchy, bunch of fun. However, fast-forward 108 minutes and you’ll most likely be singing a very different tune. Or at the very least find yourself complaining to your cinema companion that youR... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Danni at 13:33, 20 November 2008 | Report This Post


Mamma Mia!!!!!!!!

Mamma Mia is a truely brilliant musical and I would recommend it to everyone! Abba's songs are brilliant and they are probably the most succesful band ever. I am sorry to some of the actors but the voices of Abba was a bit better but overall, a brilliant, hillarious, nice and light hearted musical! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by LukeVlad at 18:18, 09 November 2008 | Report This Post


the worst film ever?

I have not been so annoyed by a film for a very long time. Mama Mia is simply awful. It could have actually been quite good if anyone with anyone had bothered to make it so. Talk about complacent movie making. I am insulted as a cinema goer and the fact that this made more money in the UK that The Dark Knight horrifies me. I have not been this embarrassed to be British since Mr Blobby got to number one in the charts. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by markwaters at 16:07, 09 November 2008 | Report This Post


Mamma Mia!

The plot of this movie is about a girl who is about to get married and have never meet her father, one day while reading her mother’s diary she discovers she has three possible fathers and decides to invite all them in secret to her wedding. This takes place in one remote Greek island, it happens during the summer and the main stars are Meryl Strep and Pierce Brosnan. Mamma Mia it’s a musical where every scene is an excuse to put the actors singing Abba hits; practically the story o... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Maria Nunes G. P. at 14:48, 12 September 2008 | Report This Post


Mamma Mia

Fabulous! One of the best 'feel good' films I have ever seen. I have seen it several times and every time I have come out with a smile on my face. The music is great - love or hate Abba, you know all of the songs. The actors obviously had a ball making the film which comes across in their performances. The scenery is beautiful. Julie Walters is as ever wonderful, Meryl Streep - well what can you say.....is there nothing she can't do? Can't fault it. If you haven't seen it...then go and if it doe... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by stevenottm at 18:04, 19 August 2008 | Report This Post


Did no one else find Meryl Streep disturbing?

What I (guiltily) enjoyed about the stage show was that everyone involved knew it was ridiculous, and clearly had a laugh making it. Whereas, in the film, you have only the three fathers who look like they're having a ball. Streep looks like she's positively forcing herself to be nice and smile, and the women don't look at all like friends. It's horrible to watch. I'd have much rather they approached it with tongue planted somewhere to the side of their teeth. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Master of Zinj at 12:02, 05 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: I was wrong!

In all fairness I think this is a love it or hate it movie-and I for one loved it!'ve never left the cinema with such a feel good atmosphere buzzing through me, and also have never laughed so much at a film. In my opinion Julie Walters' brilliant comedy acting makes up a thousand times over for the awful singing- and the breathtaking scenery and mise didn't do any harm either!   8/10 ... More

Posted by loopy_loz at 23:02, 04 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: I was wrong!

OK, I hate ABBA's music, it drags me back to a time of family parties as a kid where a bunch of adults with bad comb-overs and skin tight shirts danced in front of a traffic light disco. So I didn't expect much from this film but I took my wife and my mum to see it. It starts really badly, it's too stagey and everyone seems to be completely overacting, but once you get used to that it's actually very entertaining. There's a decent story and some good characters and I found myself caring abou... More

Posted by Marvel_79 at 08:16, 04 August 2008 | Report This Post


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