I finally got to see Mamma Mia last Sunday having tried once before when it was fully booked! It took me a while to make my mind up about it. It was, after all, cheesy in the extreme and I was to be heard saying "that just wouldn't happen" on a number of occasions. Mhairi who I was with had to keep reminding me it wasn't real.
My overall conclusion was that you can't help but getting into it. It's definitely a film that will appeal more to females however. For anyone who doesn't know it's basically about a girl getting married and using her mother's old diaries to narrow the field for potential fathers of the bride, down to 3. So she invites them all. That's it really and it's jam packed full of Abba songs.
Now I always thought Abba songs just couldn't be sung by anyone else but somehow they pulled it off. They weren't the best singers in the world so they made up for that with a passion for the music and by completely throwing themselves into it. There's a scene where Meryl Streep sings "The Winner Takes it All" and her performance was spellbinding.
The reason I think it works and works mainly for women though is because it's about female friends supporting each other and throwing themselves at life with abandon - it's what we all, as females, want from our friends. The two groupings (the daughter and her 2 bridesmaids and the mother with her 2 lifelong friends) show us friendships in the nurturing stages right through to those that have survived the test of time - again, what we all want from our friendships.
So it's kind of aspirational - the idea that the girl friends we have now will still be there supporting us, laughing with us, crying with us and most importantly of all, singing Abba songs with us, no matter what age we are, is something to aspire to. That's my assessment of the film anyway.
The only thing that distressed me about it (and I do not use the word "distress" lightly) was what they did to the Colin Firth character. I won't tell in case you've still to see it but let's just say that was the most unconvincing part of the film. And his final appearance on screen? I am just warning all those who, like me, fell in love with him in the BBC's Pride and Prejudice, to close their eyes at the end. It's not a sight you'll want to see. The film itself however, is - so if you need your spirits lifting, I suggest you go and see it.