If you have not seen Mamma Mia, I highly recommend you watch it before reading this article, not only because of potential spoilers but because it is a classic you can watch on Amazon Prime, Vudu, or iTunes (fees may apply).
If you are anything like me, a beach-loving wanna-be hippie, this is the perfect movie for you. The music (ABBA is criminally underrated), the costumes, the setting, the dancing all set up for the perfect dream lifestyle. This movie, if you did not read the above warning and have not watched it, is about Sophie Sheridan and her Mom, Donna as Sophie tries to find out which of her mother’s ex-lovers is her father in time for her wedding. The movie has important moments about self-discovery, family, female sex lives, and overall fun. This is 100% my comfort movie, and I am glad to see that this movie holds the same grip on others my age as it did back in 2008.
Self-Discovery and Family
Again, another warning if you have yet to stop reading this and have not seen the movie, but one of the major parts of the movie is when Sophie realizes she doesn’t need to know who her dad is in order to know herself. She realizes that the people and experiences you have are all that you need and while finding yourself may be difficult, you have to go through those bumps in the road to do so. From getting in an argument with Sky (her fiance) to having all three men believe they are her dad, she overcomes all of these triumphs to realize she does not need a dad or anyone but those she lets in and herself to define who she is. This also is huge for showing a non-stereotypical family. Before the wedding, Donna is a single mom killing it on her own, running an inn by herself and living the life she has wanted with her daughter, and Sophie is happily engaged. This movie shows how important mother-daughter relationships can be, or really any single parent-child relationship. It shows that you can still have a successful and happy family dynamic with one parent or two parents of the same gender. It shows that a mom, dad, and child do not have to be the requirement to have a successful life. It also shows how powerful growing up can be on both the child and the parent/guardian side through “slipping through my fingers,” showing the beauty and sadness that comes with growing up. And to be 1000% honest this song makes me cry every time. It is a slow and soft reminder to hold those you love close as you grow, as those who you have the best relationship with will be there no matter what, even if they want time to stop. This movie is a beautiful representation of a non-stereotypical thriving as they discover themselves, with each main character learning something new about themselves over the course of the movie.
Female Sex-Lives and Overall Fun
One of the main things that drive the plot is the ex-sex life of Donna when she was younger, and the fact that there are three potential fathers to her child. Sure, there are some jokes as her friends find out about these men, but overall the movie does a good job of normalizing the sex lives of women of all ages in a healthy way. They use songs such as “Honey, Honey” and “Mamma Mia” to sing about the normally taboo subject of a woman’s sex life, but they do it in a way that embraces it and praises it instead of tearing her down for having three ex-lovers. The characters Tonya and Rosie do a good job of showing that older women also have a sex drive, with Tonya making multiple dirty jokes about her past and current affairs, and her racy one-night stand with a boy on the island during, “Does Your Mother Know?” For Rosie, she uses the song “Take a Chance on Me” for the sole purpose of trying to get Bill, one of Donna’s ex suitors she has her eye on, to date her. This play has multiple times where the romantic life of a female is brought up and instead of getting shut down or shut shammed like in most movies, the characters are praised for being human, which is refreshing during a time when women were typically taught to be modest and heavily shut shammed. Also, the songs “Gimme, Gimme!” and “Voulez-Vous” are sung at a bachelor/bachelorette party, and are all about wanting to have sex and relationships, and they express it in a way that is fun instead of scary.
This movie also has overall moments of just having fun, with one of my favorite sentences to exist being, “screw ‘em if they can’t take a joke,” screamed right before the singing of “Dancing Queen.” The entire song in itself is a huge feminist anthem, and watching the women of the island dance around the dock and in the water makes me want to travel to the lake very badly. “Super Trouper” makes me want to grab some girlfriends and go to a karaoke bar to become Dynamos. This whole movie relates everything to fun and not taking life too seriously while letting you know that all serious moments will pass in time.
MAMMA MIA! It will forever be my favorite pickup movie, and I feel like there are lots of lessons to learn about yourself, the future, family dynamics, and just overall fun. It shows multiple times that life and fun do not have to end after college, and that you should feel free to be yourself at all times and that no matter what happens or how old you are, you will always be a “Dancing Queen.” :)