Mamma Mia!

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mamma mia.jpg

Mamma Mia! is a 2008 film version of the hit stage musical of the same name that is based around the music of ABBA. It stars Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters and Dominic Cooper.

The plot is simple enough: 20-year-old Sophie (Seyfried) is the daughter of single mom and former rock star Donna (Streep). Sophie is getting married to Skye (Cooper) and wants her father at her wedding; unfortunately, she doesn't know who it is as Donna never told her. To be fair, Donna herself doesn't know; there were three guys right around the time she became pregnant: Sam (Brosnan), Harry (Firth) and Bill (Skarsgård). Sophie invites all three possible dads to her wedding to try and find her natural father.

Throw in a Greek island, the other two members of Donna's former girl group (Baranski and Walters) and a dozen ABBA songs, and Hilarity Ensues.

Tropes used in Mamma Mia! include:
  • ABBA
  • Age Lift: Donna is supposed to be in her early forties. Streep was nearly sixty when she did the role. On the other hand - this is Meryl Streep we're talking about.
    • That's just the tip of the iceberg, though. All of the members of the older generation are played by actors close to retirement age.
      • Colin Firth was 48 at the time of filming, so one could argue that he's the only one who's the right age.
  • Anachronism Stew: Most glaringly, although the film is apparently set in the early 2000's, 20-year-old Sophie is explicitly said to have been conceived "at the end of flower power", i.e. 1969-1972. There are other examples as well.
  • Audience Participation: On stage, audience members are encouraged to sing, clap, and dance along. About a month and a half after the film's U.S. release, Universal shipped out a "sing-along" version with the lyrics appearing on screen.
    • Once A Showing: There's a big gap in the song "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" in which all eyes go to the character being exhorted to make the vows. At least one audience member will keep singing.
  • But Not Too Gay: Harry and his boyfriend gets maybe half a minute of screentime, on a generous count.
  • The Cameo: Benny Andersson appears as a piano player during "Dancing Queen". Bjorn Ulvaeuss appears as a member of the Greek Pantheon during "Waterloo".
  • Chick Flick: The fifth highest-grossing film of 2008, and targeted at female audiences to boot!
  • Christmas Cake: Mostly Tanya.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends
  • Cool Middle-Aged Guy: Bill.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Technically, both Sophie and Donna are the main protagonists, but what director on Earth is going to cast Meryl Streep in a supporting role?
  • Dramatic Ellipsis: Sophie wonders why the diary contains so many of them.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The whole show takes place over 2 days, with the intermission (if you're watching the stage version) taking place overnight.
  • Gene Hunting
  • Genki Girl: Sophie. The older females are quite energetic as well, despite their age.
  • Greek Chorus: Literally!
  • Hollywood Night: "I Have a Dream" and several other "night" scenes.
  • Hot Dad: Three of them.
  • Hot Mom: Donna.
  • Invisible to Gaydar: Harry.
  • Jukebox Musical
  • Large Ham: Virtually the entire adult cast, at least one of whom doesn't get to do it very often.
  • Likes Older Women: Pepper.
  • No Indoor Voice: In the movie, all the women qualify.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: After the bachelorette party, both Bill and Harry are trying to tell the other that they found out that they're Sophie's father (at least that's what they think). However, Bill thinks Harry is trying to Come Out to him, while Harry thinks Bill is trying to admit to hooking up Rosie.
  • Power Trio: Three of them, suitably enough -- Donna and the Dynamos; Sophie, Lisa and Ali; and the three possible dads.
    • Also, Sky, Pepper and Eddie, albeit on a lesser extent, since Eddie (or Salt, depending on the version you're watching) is practically cut.
  • Rousseau Was Right
  • Rule of Funny: One review described the film as the closest thing we'll ever come to seeing A-list celebrities doing drunken karaoke.
  • Rule of Sean Connery: For many viewers, Meryl Streep's presence - and acting skills - transform the movie from merely barely tolerable to actually quite enjoyable, provided much Willing Suspension of Disbelief is applied.
  • Scenery Porn: The movie is full of it.
  • Shout-Out: "Bright, Harry Bright" (as James Bond is standing next to him, no less!).
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Way toward the Idealism end.
  • Stealth Pun: Oh right, ha ha, those guys singing in the background are a Greek Chorus. Well how's that for brekekekeke-ing your ko-ax.
  • Tell Me About My Father
  • Those Two Girls: Sophie's best friends Ali and Lisa.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: After the bachelorette party, Donna/Sophie is fretting to Rosie and Tanya/Ali and Lisa over the three-dads-present issue. Rosie and Tanya/Ali and Lisa decide to take the men out fishing to keep them distracted.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal
  • Who's Your Daddy?: Sophie eventually decides she doesn't care (Word of God is that the father is Bill).
  • Why Waste a Wedding?: Word for word when Sophie and Sky decide not to get married, thus Donna and Sam get married instead.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Sophie.