Before you ask, yes I did see this movie back in July. However, it has taken me up until now to really sit down and write about just how much I loved it.* While watching the movie (as well as the first Mamma Mia movie), I couldn't remember why I knew all the words to a lot of the songs used. It wasn't until later that I remembered that I used to listen to ABBA all the time between the ages of thirteen and sixteen. I didn't tell anyone, though, because I assumed people would think it was weird that I loved listening to music by a Swedish band. So I listened to the songs in my headphones at night, silently memorizing the lyrics. For whatever reason, I'd blocked out those memories to the point where I couldn't remember why I knew all the lyrics while watching the movies.
I think that, most of the time, people listen to these songs thinking of a romantic kind of love. I know that's what I thought of when I was 13 and 14. But when I watched the movies, all that comes to mind is the love that family and community can provide. The music of ABBA and the stories the songs given to both Mamma Mia movies make me feel so much so deeply. The relationship between Donna and her mother is sometimes reflected in my own experiences (though not with me and my mom), and I see a spark of familiarity with Sophie and Sam.
Donna's belief that she is going to live a great life, even if she doesn't know what it is going to look like, reminds me a bit of myself. Her ability to pick up her life and run off to a place she knows very little about is, in a way, inspiring to me. Like Donna, I’ve always assumed I would lead an extraordinary life, I’m just not always sure how I’ll do it. Donna’s ability to pick up her life, travel to somewhere she’s only heard of maybe once or twice, and start anew all without seeming anxious about it is inspiring. Unrealistic, maybe, but still inspiring (and it’s a musical, so are we really concerned about reality?).
As Sophie, I have my own Bill and Harry as well. I am surrounded by love, family, and community. I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by incredible people and role models who have taught me so much about life and what makes it beautiful. I can relate to the ABBA songs I loved so much in middle school, just differently than I originally thought. Now, when I listen to their music I think of the love I am surrounded by on a daily basis. Their music is there to remind me of all I have to be thankful for and to be happy about. Of course, their songs are also great to listen to when you’re in a bad mood so you can turn that around.
Anyway, if you still haven't seen Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, drop everything and go find a way to see it. It’s a beautiful movie that celebrates the joy of family, the beauty that can be found in grief, and the wonder in a new adventure. I really loved it, and I would see it again in a heartbeat.
*Parts of this was taken from the Twitter thread I made after watching the movie, it just took me until now to be able to elaborate on my thoughts.