Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Set five years after the original, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again features a series of flashbacks to tell the story of how Donna came to end up living as a single mother on a Greek island.
With our headlines being dominated by Brexit and President Trump, we are living in uncertain times and you can be forgiven for wanting a little escapism from the world.
And if you get that urge, block out two hours in your calendar and go and see Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
While jukebox musicals aren't for everyone, this sequel to the 2008 film featuring the music of Swedish pop group ABBA certainly offers up a lot of mindless fun.
Picking up five years after the original, the plot follows Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) as she runs her late mother Donna's (Meryl Streep) villa on the beautiful Greek island of Kalokairi, with her longtime beau Sky (Dominic Cooper).
The stress of launching a newly-renovated hotel causes tensions to run high between Sophie and Sky, though appearances from her mother's friends Rosie (Julie Walters) and Tanya (Christine Baranski), as well as her stepfather Sam (Pierce Brosnan), help to ease her anxieties about the venture.
As she reminisces about her mother with Sam - one of the three men that could potentially be her father - we are transported back to the late 1970s in a series of flashbacks, and learn just how Donna came to end up in the Mediterranean.
The young Donna (Lily James) is seen forming the pop group The Dynamos with her pals at Oxford University, with the younger versions of the characters played by brilliantly by Alexa Davies and Jessica Keenan Wynn.
As Donna fearlessly embarks on an adventure, she also ends up crossing paths with several young men, including Harry (Hugh Skinner), Bill (Josh Dylan) and Sam (Jeremy Irvine).
Director Ol Parker oscillates between the past and the present using well-devised split screen shots which reflect on the similarities between Sophie and Donna's journeys.
He also carefully intersperses favourite ABBA hits such as I Have A Dream, Dancing Queen and Mamma Mia throughout the plot, in addition to more obscure songs, like Angel Eyes and When I Kissed the Teacher.
Cinematographer Robert Yeoman, a regular Wes Anderson collaborator, brings a sharpness to the choreographed sequences, with one particularly memorable number conducted within a Paris cafe and set to ABBA hit Waterloo.
As Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is simultaneously a prequel and a sequel, the constant flicking between past and present can feel a bit jarring at times, though this is made up for by the clever use of the music, which captures the swells of emotion in each of the character's stories.
Seyfried and James both do a great job in the song and dance department, and thankfully, Parker has kept Cooper and Brosnan's singing to a minimum.
The performers keep their energy high throughout, and cameo appearances from Streep, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, Andy Garcia and Cher cap off the film in a truly delightful and moving way.
What this musical lacks in plot it makes up for in heart, and you'll leave the cinema feeling like you've had a 114-minute holiday.
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