“I don’t know what my future holds, but the world is wide, and I want to make some memories.” – Young Donna (played by Lily James).
Sophie has finished renovating the hotel and is preparing a grand reopening in honor of her mother, Donna Sheridan’s memory. It is made known within the first half an hour of the film that Donna had been dead for a year. With the help of her step-father, Sam she was able to renovate the hotel on the fictious Greek island known as Kalokairi. Sophie, awaiting the arrival of her mother’s best friends, Rosie and Tanya, and fighting with Sky (whom I am assuming at this point is her husband) over where they should be in their lives.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again splashed into theaters July 20. If you are like me and wondered how exactly things panned out with Donna and her daughter, Sophie, three potential fathers then this movie has some things in store for you. It does a great job of bringing the past to life through the work of the younger versions for the characters from the original Mamma Mia movie. Lily James – who plays young Donna – sets off to travel after her college graduation from Oxford in 1979, where her best friends Tanya and Rosie also graduated. Ultimately, the movie is a drama that is built on mourning that is more than expressed throughout the film. It is depicted in intricate flashbacks that serves function of showcasing Donna’s life leading up to the birth of Sophie.
The film did a great job with the transitions between past and present scenes. The transitions were seamless and set up excellent parallels that show the striking similarities between Donna and Sophie. There were obviously some things that happened that were obvious such as Sophie being pregnant or that Sky would probably go to Kalokairi to be with her.
Like the first film, Tanya (played by Jessica Keenan Wynn) and Rosie (played by Alexa Davies) were comedic relief – both the past and present variants of themselves. One scene that I quite enjoyed of these two were when they came all the way to Kalokiari after Sam “let Donna down”. Not only did it provide some humor to the situation, it showed the strong friendship the three of them had. I also enjoyed that Rosie had a thing for Bill even when they were younger. It makes it feel like things are coming full circle for all of the characters to an extent. Additionally, seeing how much they cared for Sophie leading up to the grand reopening continued to show the love they had for her mother and that it trickled down to her as well. A specific example of this was that they were trying to be strong for Sophie and not dwell on how they felt about everything (which can be both good and bad – but in this case we will say it is good because dammit they deserve it).
I thought the actors that were cast as the younger versions of Harry, Bill, and Sam were spot on (even if it wasn’t quite how I pictured them) and that the portrayals of them really made the characters more likable. Two of the three of young versions of the lovers were how I pictured them.
Hugh Skinner, who played young Harry, was spot on in my opinion. He played an awkward young Harry which is exactly how I pictured him being. Everything from the cringeworthy attempt to hold Young Donna’s hand to the painful to watch café scene where he is asking her to be his first was perfect. He was awkward and trying to figure out if he was indeed the “spontaneous” person who thought he was. I’m not entirely sure if I was digging the portrayal of Young Harry as being awkward because it is how I imagined him being or if because I consider myself to be an awkward individual, but either way it was great.
Young Bill, played by Josh Dylan, was not how I expected him to be personality wise. Nonetheless I dig it. Young Bill was essentially a player who was looking at Young Donna as his next score. He was charming and seemed to genuinely vibe with Donna, which was cool to see. I would have liked to see more of him and his relative that owned the villa that was mentioned in the first movie, but obviously not everything can be included. It might have been briefly mentioned that he had a relative on the island. The portrayal of Young Bill did live up to the reputation of Older Bill being a lone wolf – as seen with the player attitude of not settling down and going from girl-to-girl. While Young Bill being a seducer was not what I expected him to be, it was fitting and made for a good change of pace. It would have been boring otherwise if all three of the younger versions had been looking for something more permanent.
Young Sam, played by Jeremy Irvine, was relatively spot on to how I pictured him. Although I knew he was going to leave the island to go back to his fiancée from the first movie, it still was saddening to see Young Donna experience that heartbreak. The two had an instant connection and it was disappointing to see that fall apart. He clearly had real feelings for Donna, otherwise he wouldn’t have come back to the island (or marry her twenty-some-years later). I found it to be relatable that he essentially ran away from his life back home to enjoy not having everything planned out for him for a bit before committing to that life. I’m not saying that people should run away from things, but at the same time if you are focused on one thing without taking time to consider other options then it can lead to regret later.
Alright – I have been waiting for this moment. Cher, who played Ruby Sheridan, being in the film was entirely unnecessary. She didn’t really contribute anything to the overall plot and I struggle to understand why it seemed even remotely necessary to include her in the film. I understand wanting to have a character change or grow in some way. But seriously, it was stated that Sophie’s grandmother never showed up to anything and that she was basically self-absorbed. I think the film would have been better off without including Sophie’s grandmother. In my opinion, it would have shown that family doesn’t always have to be blood with Tanya and Rosie being prime examples of that and would have continued the theme from the first film.
Overall, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again is a wonderful movie and I highly suggest seeing it in theaters. It has a load of catchy and upbeat songs. It also has all the familiar characters from the first movie and goes in depth into younger version’s of their lives. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again (to see it in theaters).