On long drives, my mom would pop in an old old old ABBA cassette and we kids would all hum along, and then sing along, and then eventually peter off into sleepy silence. Still the music would play on and on. The older kids would start to complain at some point, but my mom always said that when we had our own cars, we could play our own music. At which point, we would all swear that we would never play ABBA.
Well, if now I’m playing ABBA. Hahaha. And I blame it all on Meryl.
I approached the movie with some trepidation, but with more excitement. I mean, I remembered listening to ABBA! Sure, I also remembered getting fed up with it, but that was from the repetition. I liked the songs, especially Chiquitita which one Latino courtesy uncle used to call me.
Plus, I remember almost getting to see the musical; not seeing it had something to do with a leather whip, a daschund, and a three orange m&m’s – but that’s a long story.
Anyway, I finally got to see the movie last night and I was blown. a. way. And wouldn’t you know it, I totally related to Sophie.
Y’see, the movie’s about a young girl (Sophie) who is madly in love with a wanderer (Sky) who, because he loves her too, has decided to give up his wandering ways, not knowing that she’s a wanderer too, except that she’s being held back by a sense of guilt at leaving her mother who raised her alone. In what may have been an unconscious effort to complete her mother’s life – and in so doing complete her own – Sophie sends out invitations to her wedding to the three men most likely to be her father. For their own reasons, they drop everything and come. Once there – ‘there’ being a lovely Greek island – the three come to terms with their pasts and discover the beginnings of their futures.
It was the guilt part that got me.
There have been many times when I’ve felt the desire to just up and go – follow my bliss as it were. But always guilt. Heh. Sometimes it feels like I have enough guilt to start my own religion. And most of that guilt, centered around my mom. I don’t know why. I guess, like Donna (Sophie’s mom), there’s something desperate about her energy and dynamism; almost like she’s a whirlwind as a defense mechanism. And like Donna, you can see it in her eyes sometimes.
My mom has never asked me to stay – in fact, she often tells me to to go and, if i absolutely have to, only to come back with my shield or on it (no, Frank Miller did NOT invent that line for 300). But still, the thought of leaving her seems to me quite ungrateful. I mean, the simple act of moving into my own apartment was a gut wrenching moment, even though neither of us quite consented to show it. And I’m pretty sure she still resents me moving out. But that’s a mother’s job – to tell her daughter that it’s ok to fly out of the nest, but to wish with all her heart that her daughter doesn’t.
The daughter’s burden, on the other hand, is to stay until she knows with full certainty that she truly wants to be somewhere else – not to get away from her mother, but to be with the one who holds her bliss. I haven’t gotten to that yet, but when i do, I hope it’s with the same clarity that Sophie had when she realized that it was time to go.
Even more than the charming portrayals -
Dominic Cooper (Sky) was, as always, hotter’n hot pockets. Loved him in the History Boys, loved him here double! I regret though that he had such a small role. Couldn’t be helped, I guess. But the main thing is he was able to come across real well even with so few lines; and even if he was a bit of a douche at one point. And when you can make a girl go weak at the knees while being a tool, you know you’re doing something right!
And as far as older men go, Stellen Skarsgard is a god! even with tattooed knees! Pierce Brosnan, as Glenville pointed out, was hilarious while trying to emote on S.O.S. It was tough trying to ignore the pained expression on his face, but the whole scene was so nicely worked that no lasting damage was done, except to his hotness. Colin Firth was also cute – but sadly still stuck in the stuck up proper gentleman stereotype he’s been in since Bridget Jones’ Diary.
The Dynamos – Christine Baransky and Julie Walters – were hammy goodness all throughout; perfect foils to Meryl Streep’s neurotic Donna. And pretty creditable singers too.Baransky, in particular, sizzled as the mature sexpot who may have well be archetypal for Sex in the City’s Samantha.
- and even more than the MUSIC -
it was Sophie’s story that made sure this movie left an indelible mark on me.
Filed under: movies, Quick Posts, ABBA, Mamma Mia!, Meryl Streep, movies, musical, Pierce Brosnan