“This is the kind of relationship mothers and daughters dream of but most never have.”
Get thy fine body out to see Mamma Mia while it’s still on the big screen or rent it as soon as you can! I’ve seen it twice: once with my youngest daughter, and once with Lady Diane, my CEO of Everything. This movie is an archetypal anthem to the joyful energy of the baby boom generation! (This is classic Pluto in Leo, for those of you who understand astrology.) Mamma Mia the movie is based on the Broadway musical, whose storyline was created around the music of ABBA. Although the movie is funny and fluffy, there’s a lot to think about in the plot.
Donna (played by Meryl Streep) has been running an old inn on a Greek Island single-handedly for years, and the inn is falling down around her. Donna has soldiered on as the single mother of Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), who is about to be married. Sophie has never known who her father is, but, finding her mother’s diary, she figures it must be one of three men. She surreptitiously invites these men to her wedding, certain she will recognize her father when she sees him. The movie begins with guests arriving on the island for the wedding—with the mother-of the bride none the wiser about the impending arrival of her three former lovers, one of whom is the father of her child. Let the games and fun begin!
The screenplay is brought to life by the lively ABBA soundtrack all set against the most breathtaking scenery. (I’ve always wanted to visit the Greek Islands by boat. And this piqued that desire—big time!) By the way, I care not a whit that this film got some pretty tacky reviews. I listened to one bad review on The Early Show on CBS the day after seeing the film. The critic panned everything about it, including the glorious Meryl Streep. Will someone please don a pink feather boa and rescue that man before he has a heart attack from lack of joy? Now that I’ve vented, let me continue. The entire cast sang all their own material, including Pierce Brosnan and one of my favorite men on the planet, Colin Firth. They all did a spectacular job. (And I saw the original cast on Broadway so it’s not like I don’t know what professionals look and sound like!)
There are two musical numbers in the show that were particularly moving to me. One is Dancing Queen when Donna’s girlfriends are trying to console her by reminding her of their old life together as performers in the ’70s. Before long, all the women at the Inn, all of whom have been working tirelessly to prepare for the wedding, end up dancing down to the dock—with the native Greek women dropping their burdens to join them. I felt as though this was symbolic of the energy of feminine joy and pleasure that is at the forefront of my generation’s next revolution!
The second scene is one of the yummiest mother-daughter love fests I’ve ever seen. Donna is helping her daughter Sophie get dressed for her wedding. At one point, Donna cradles Sophie in her lap while she paints Sophie’s nails. I was so moved by the tenderness of this scene, I actually experienced chest pain. This is the kind of relationship mothers and daughters dream of but most never have. I’m going to do everything in my power to have this with my own girls.
When Mamma Mia starts, you think Sophie will find her father and finally understand who she is before she gets married. Ultimately, the movie isn’t about the bride but rather about a glorious, beautiful, midlife “dancing queen” and the power and beauty of female friendships. Without giving away too much, it ends with both lovely women realizing what they want most in life and allowing themselves to have it. A close friend put it this way, “Mamma Mia is a multi-sensory, pleasure-filled movie! As a mom who devoted most of my life to raising a child, I could rejoice with Donna when she allowed herself to receive love and pleasure for the first time in decades.” I couldn’t have said it better myself!