Musicals I: Mamma Mia!

30 October 2017 Comments Off on Musicals I: Mamma Mia!


I first heard of ABBA in “Persepolis,” Marjane Satrapi’s amazing creation, and I thought they were being made fun of. Well, in context that made sense; they were a Swedish pop group, and not Iron Maiden. However, I later watched “Mamma Mia! The Movie” – a musical romantic comedy based on ABBA songs – upon the advice of someone very dear to me, and ended up weeping tears of joy. Following the opening scene, Amanda Seyfried sings while running up a hill on Kalokairi, a Greek island. Imagine the shiniest item you’ve ever seen, crush it into million pieces, and spill all that into the Mediterranean Sea. Seyfried is also a gorgeous element adding to the scenery, but “Honey Honey” is a song to pump up everything good in everyone. You don’t have to be a young girl in love to feel the excitement, believe me. Every ABBA song in the film is paired with sensuous and well-harmonized, colorful scenes, contributing to the already artistic experience of cinema.

Dancing Queen is everything blue. The sight of three women dancing in a bedroom, having fun with stage props and everyday items, and starting a regular pillow fight doesn’t make up an amusing scene for you? Well then, seeing all the women in the village join them, run to a pier, and execute a surprisingly good piece of choreography will definitely put a grin on your face. What is nice about this is that those ladies represent something other than what “Dancing Queen” originally conveyed as its message. I won’t explicitly say what the director, Phyllida Lloyd, did here, because I don’t want to spoil your moment of joy. (One might say that I’m oddly optimistic to think that anyone reading this will stop everything else and go watch a musical. I really am, though, especially sad about the small number of musical lovers among the public.)

“Our Last Summer” wins my heart in spite of Pierce Brosnan and Stellan Skarsgård’s singing. They deserve some credit for their effort, but overall it’s a “no.” It’s not that hard to imagine a summer romance in France, and to hear that in a song, but again, the beauty comes with the images. If you’ve ever gone on a boat tour from the western or southern coast of Turkey, you know about the small bays where you can walk to the shore, and the ocean breeze on the deck. Watching “Mamma Mia,” we’re drawn right into that environment and able to feel as if we’re there. The details and the light here are right on point.

“Lay All Your Love On Me,” as the name of the song may suggest, is about a couple. In the movie, however, we watch Dominic Cooper’s proper entrance into the plot. I’m not saying this just because he brings some proper abs along; it’s of great importance (to me at least) that the couple’s synergy on screen doesn’t come off as cheesy. A round of applause for both Cooper and Seyfried for their take on this song, turning what was maybe the manifesto of clinginess into a visual reflection of desire, of two people who don’t hold back when talking about how they feel about one another.

“Slipping Through My Fingers” is the chill wind, yellow light, a lazy afternoon, the feeling of a silent kitchen at sunset. It also depicts a relationship of great value – the reason why I, and most other daughters, felt this tickling in our noses, which made its way to down to our hearts. The song may not have lost its original meaning – the movie also touches on the relationship between a mother and her daughter, after all – but the familiar setting of the scene truly makes everything sweeter. A simple hair braid, a Band-Aid, and reading glasses for the deteriorating vision of someone over 40….


Watch “Mamma Mia!” – you may not declare it your favorite movie and shout that out loud (like I do), but you will feel happiness.