• Sweden's news in English

Stellar cast makes Mamma Mia! a film worth seeing

René Rice · 14 Jul 2008, 14:03

Published: 14 Jul 2008 14:03 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Following the current trend of turning hit musicals into movies (Rent, Hairspray, Sweeney Todd, etc.), comes perhaps the most confusing adaptation to date: Mamma Mia!

It’s set in Greece, has an Italian title, a predominantly British and American cast and is based on songs written by Swedes.


Whilst it sounds like a recipe for disaster the film somehow manages to work, on most levels at least.

Amanda Seyfield plays Sophie, a young bride-to-be who has a sudden, inexplicable urge to find out who her father is. By inviting all three possible candidates (played by actors Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård, respectively) to her wedding on the sun-drenched Greek island where she lives with her hotel-owner mother Donna (Meryl Streep), she figures she'll be able to ascertain who of the three should be walking her down the aisle. This proves more difficult than she expects, however, as even her mother isn't sure who the father is.

As weak as it may sound, that is essentially the movie’s entire plot, but luckily there are enough distractions to keep us from dwelling on the lack of story - namely the abundance of catchy Abba songs throughout the movie, the impossibly idyllic Greek island setting and some very tongue-in-cheek performances from the film's stellar cast.

In fact one of the main reasons why the film is a success is due to the near-perfect casting by Priscilla John. Meryl Streep proves once again that she can pretty much turn her hand to anything; Pierce Brosnan delivers a likeable and distinctly unBond-like performance as Sam; Colin Firth is fittingly inept as Harry; Sweden's own Stellan Skarsgård takes an enjoyable comedic turn as Bill; and Julie Walters impresses as Donna's friend Rosie, with her now all-too-familiar rendition of a feisty middle-aged woman.

The only weak link is Amanda Seyfield, whose annoying teen-like performance just seems to serve as a constant reminder that this is in fact a Hollywood film. I'm not sure if it's even possible to over-act in a musical, but she definitely tries her hardest.

Story continues below…

Perhaps the real star of the film is its soundtrack - Benny and Björn's songs still sound fresh today and their tireless energy is impossible to ignore, even when sung by actors.

It's refreshingly obvious from the performances that everyone thoroughly enjoyed making Mamma Mia! and that they clearly haven't taken any of it too seriously, so if you approach the film with a similar attitude then you're likely to leave with a smile on your face - and half a dozen Abba songs in your head.

René Rice (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Sweden to keep record-low interest rate in 2017
Sweden's landmark negative interest rate will continue towards 2018. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

The Swedish central bank said that it will take longer than expected to reach its inflation target.

Presented by Stockholm University
9 unexpected study programmes at Stockholm University
Photo: Niklas Björling

Did you know Stockholm University offers 75 master's programmes taught in English? And some of them are programmes you won't find anywhere else...

Creepy clown messes with the wrong dog walker in Sweden
Not the clown in the story. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A dog helped its owner fight off a creepy clown chasing the pair in southern Sweden.

A million Swedes are digitally excluded: report
How should Sweden bridge the digital divide? Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Tech-savvy Swedes? Perhaps not. A new study suggests that at least a million of its residents feel the pain of the digital divide.

Malmö's 19th Swedish title sets Champions hopes alight
Malmö fans celebrating after the match. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Malmö FF have their eyes set on the Champions League after winning the Swedish league for the 19th time.

What's on in Sweden
Five great autumn events in Sweden this week
Jazz in northern Sweden. Photo: Umeå Jazz Festival

Food, music, movies and more food. What better way of helping yourself forget that the days are getting shorter and colder?

Here's how slow Sweden's high-speed trains are getting
A Swedish SJX2000 high speed train. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The high-speed rail journey between the three biggest Swedish cities is about to get longer.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

US election
Donald Trump won't get new Ericsson head's vote
Trump pictured at a campaign rally in Florida. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

The new Swedish-American boss of telecoms giant Ericsson has revealed he will not vote for the Republican nominee in the forthcoming US presidential election.

Swedes named fourth most gender equal in the world
A file photo of men and women pushing prams in Stockholm. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Sweden has closed 81 percent of its overall gender gap according to the World Economic Forum.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 26th
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available