10 years ago, Mamma Mia! burst onto our screens, leaving its (platform boot-sized) mark on pop cultureYouTube/Universal Pictures UK

10 years ago, Mamma Mia! burst onto our screens, leaving its (platform boot-sized) mark on pop culture. 2018 has delivered us the sequel we never knew we needed, every bit as heartwarming as the original.

No other film has ever captured my relationship with my Mum so perfectly

The film centres around Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) attempting to reopen the family hotel in honour of her mother (Meryl Streep). The sequel is also part prequel, flashing back to the life of young Donna (Lily James) and her three suitors.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, like its predecessor, is a treat for the senses - and I am not just talking about young Bill (Josh Dylan).

Set on a Greek island but filmed in Croatia, the picturesque surroundings are dream-likeYouTube/Universal Pictures UK

Set on a Greek island but filmed in Croatia, the picturesque surroundings – complete with sparkling blue water, orange groves and pale cliffs – are dream-like. The natural beauty of the setting is enhanced by the decor of the renovated hotel (Pinterest level aesthetic) and carefully coordinated flares and floaty garments. Sweeping camera angles ensure that the audience experiences the large-scale dance numbers – particularly ‘When I Kissed The Teacher’, set in Oxf*rd, and a reprisal of ‘Dancing Queen’ on boats – in all their glory.

Whilst men undeniably play an important part in the film (especially when in lycra catsuits)... the film’s appeal lies in its presentation of women

For the ears, there is a soundtrack which blends more obscure tracks (highlights include ‘Why Did It Have To Be Me?’, ‘Angel Eyes’ and ‘One of Us’) with fully-fledged classics (‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’; ‘The Name Of The Game’; ‘Super Trouper’). One of the criticisms of the original film was that the singing, to put it politely, was not up to scratch. To put it impolitely, Pierce Brosnan’s wails would not have been out of place on ‘I Knew You Were Trouble (goat edition)’. That has been resolved here by only tasking Brosnan with an unaccompanied rendition of ‘SOS’ as he reminisces about Donna, one of the film’s most understated yet moving moments. Absolute icon Cher also arrives to sing ‘Fernando’, raising the singing standard significantly.

That said, it is not so much how the film looks or even sounds which has put bums on seats a second time around. Whilst men undeniably play an important part in the film (especially when in lycra catsuits), I think it is fair to say that the film’s appeal lies in its presentation of women. You do not have to look very far (your Facebook timeline or Snapchat should do the trick) to see that women of all ages want to share this film with their Donna or Sophie, their Tanya or Rosie. In fact, who you watch the film with is of such significance that I know that several friends have held off seeing the sequel until they can do so with their nearest and dearest. After all, you cannot watch ABBA-related cinema with any Tom, Dick or Harry (or, more appropriately, any Sam, Bill or Harry).

Whilst Streep has less screen time in the sequel, the mother-daughter relationship is celebrated nonethelessPhotos: YouTube/Universal Pictures UK

It is for this reason that my first experiences of both the original and the sequel have been shared with my Mum/favourite person. In 2008 my Mum started taking me, aged 9, to 12A-rated movies (#legend #riskitforachocolatebiscuit). The first film we saw was the cinematic masterpiece (fight me), 27 Dresses. The second was Mamma Mia! It struck such a chord because no other film has ever captured our relationship so perfectly; she might make me want to tear my hair out sometimes, but there is no one else I would rather have style it with white flowers for my wedding to Sky (Dominic Cooper). Whilst Streep has less screen time in the sequel, the mother-daughter relationship is celebrated nonetheless. Streep’s duet with Seyfried (‘My Love, My Life’) was as beautiful as it was brief, showing that sometimes, to paraphrase Dua Lipa, “one [song] is all it takes”.

Writer-director Ol Parker gives Donna’s two best friends, Tanya (Christine Baranski/Jessica Keenan Wynn) and Rosie (Julie Walters/Alexa Davies), some of the film’s most memorable linesYouTube/Universal Pictures UK
We all love the films so much because of their refreshing representation of female friendshipYouTube/Universal Pictures UK

My second (and third, fourth and fifth) viewings will no doubt be with my friends at Newnham. I think we all love the films so much because of their refreshing representation of female friendship.

We are presented with three funny, fiery, free-spirited female characters who make time for cake, sex, and emotional support for one another 

Normally female characters, if they are shown to have any friends at all, are pitted against each other in a contest for male attention, Gossip Girl-style. Instead, we are presented with three funny, fiery, free-spirited female characters who make time for cake, sex, and emotional support for one another (#friendshipgoals). Rather than sidelining this friendship, writer-director Ol Parker gives Donna’s two best friends, Tanya (Christine Baranski/Jessica Keenan Wynn) and Rosie (Julie Walters/Alexa Davies), some of the film’s most memorable lines, including “Be still, my beating vagina” and “My soulmate may actually be carbs”.


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Call me by my name: a first year in Cambridge in two films

Arguably my critical faculties are not at their sharpest since swapping the library for Love Island. Some of the islanders did, however, teach me a new technique: answering your own questions. Is the film entirely predictable? Absolutely. Is it incredibly cheesy, with too much leaning on walls and dramatic weather? Most definitely. Is there any real plot to speak of? Of course not.

Whilst any of the above would be devastating to a serious film, they are part and parcel of any good musical.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again will make you want to (Dad) dance, jive, and have the time of your life.

The film will make you want to (Dad) dance, jive, and have the time of your lifeYouTube/Universal Pictures UK

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