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July 26, 2018 - Image 7

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Thursday, July 26, 2018
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com ARTS

“Mamma Mia!

Here We Go


Rave Cinemas,

Quality 16



If it were possible to distill
joy into liquid form and inject
it directly into the vein, it still
wouldn’t be as potent or infec-
tious a high as “Mamma Mia!
Here We Go Again.”
Stuffed to the brim with beau-
tiful people, colors, happy songs
and bright emotions, the sequel
to the original 2008 “Mamma
Mia” is one of the best movie
theater experiences you’re like-
ly to find this year, or even this
decade. It’s two straight hours
of cathartic emotional release,
a swirling giddy combination of
laughter, tears and dance.
The film opens several years
after the first ended — Amanda
Seyfried (“Anon”) plays Sophie,
reeling from the death of her
mother, Donna (Meryl Streep,
“The Post”). Sophie’s in the pro-
cess of rebranding the Greek
island hotel her mother owned,
attempting to return it to its
former glory to honor Donna’s
memory. The modern-day story
is intercut with flashes back to
1979, in which we follow young
Donna, played by Lily James
(“Darkest Hour”), as she travels
across Europe and has a series
of brief, but meaningful, love
Every single person involved
with making this movie is at
their shining, brightest best.
James turns in one of the most
charismatic and charming per-

formances in recent memory,
full of a vibrant young energy
that makes it obvious why these
three men would immediately
fall in love with her. She’s the
kind of actress who makes it
nearly impossible to look away
when she’s on-screen, dedicating
herself with an almost reckless
abandon to the glitter and brava-
do of this movie — as does every
single other actor here. There’s a
sense pervading the entire movie
that everybody is just so happy
to be there. And thank God they
were, because I am
so happy to be here
“Do what makes
your soul shine,”
makes what seems
like an impossible
choice. It’s a gor-
geous mantra, one
in the bones of
this story. Because for all the
sparkles and spectacle, “Mamma
Mia” shines at its heart.
I wish I could explain, in
words, all the things I loved
about “Mamma Mia.” If I could,
I’d tell you about Colin Firth
(“Kingsman: The Golden Cir-
(“The Man Who Killed Don
Quixote”) swinging their hips in
tandem atop a boat while “Danc-
ing Queen” swells. I’d tell you
about “Waterloo” in a French

restaurant, and a baguette being
used as an electric guitar. I’d tell
you about big floppy hats and
flowing colorful skirts, or about
the way the chemistry between
James and Josh Dylan (“Allied”)
jumps clear off the screen.
If I had the words, I’d tell you
about the world of “Mamma
Mia,” the way it’s full of love and
bravery, of people who live their
lives with passion and romance,
never (in the words of fellow
Daily staffer Arya Naidu, who
spent most of this movie sitting
her chair with one
hand over her heart
and another peri-
odically punching
me in the arm) set-
tling for anything
that doesn’t abso-
lutely thrill them.
I don’t really have
the words, though,
Mia” is not a movie
to be written about
— it’s meant to be felt.
“Mamma Mia” operates not on
any kind of fancy twists of sto-
rytelling mechanics, but rather
on the rawest levels of cathar-
sis — the viewer is taken by the
hand and whisked on a journey
through whatever will make
them laugh or cry the most in
each moment. In the process,
“Mamma Mia” develops an emo-
tional language through song
and dance that’s clear and well-
formed. All the bombast and

chaos is tied together by a tight
intuitive throughline, coming
together to create a story about
the passions and tribulations of
life, and all the ways love can
hurt and heal people. It’s about
dancing and motherhood, sex,
joy and generations of women
supporting and caring for each
Kim Gordon once said that
“People pay to see others believe
“Mamma Mia” that’s exactly
what we did. There’s a scene
near the end that cuts between
the young and newly pregnant
Sophie singing with her mother’s
best friends and young Donna
giving birth to Sophie. Donna is
all alone in a dilapidated farm-
house, until the kind older Greek
woman who owns it comes run-
ning to her. She strokes her hair
and helps her birth the baby that
will grow up to be Sophie, sing-
ing on that very same island in
tribute to her brave and beautiful
mother — and right in that scene
I understood that this is a movie
about women making the choices
to define their lives in ways that
excite and fulfill them. They’re
looking for love — real love, not
the cheap stuff — and real joy,
and this story is a celebration of
their search as they reach just a

little higher.
It’s about pop music, perfect
Greek islands, sequined body
suits and about how sometimes
being a dancing queen means
singing your way through a
broken heart, performing with
your whole body and soul for an
empty room. It’s about (literally)
falling into the arms of a Scan-
danavian sailor with the bluest
eyes you’ve ever seen, about par-
ties filled with all the people you
love most in the world. It’s about
Cher showing up uninvited at
the stroke of midnight, blonde
and fabulous, and declaring that
Sophie has “glitter in her blood.”

It’s the rare movie that lifts
your spirits from the feet up,
never doubting the innate good-
ness of its characters or devaluing
the sweet and corny happiness it
brings into the world. “Mamma
Mia” is a magical movie, full of
moments so over the top perfect,
that I couldn’t stop smiling for
its entire runtime. It’s the kind
of movie that makes the world
a little bit brighter — the kind
of movie that makes your soul

*Thank you, again, to Arya
Naidu for providing this quote



Summer Editor in Chief

‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go
Again’ glitters with joy, fun

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