Two years ago I had wanted to go and see Mamma mia on Broadway when I was in New York, but somehow with only five days I ran out of time, and because I was alone there with Léon, it would have meant taking him or finding a professional sitter. Since then it's been on my to-do list next time I am in New York or London.
Recently I heard the movie had come out. :-)
While I was on holiday I got an email from my parents raving about it. Now, my mum and her friend Joyce often go to the cinema but I can't remember a single time in my childhood when dad went to the cinema, except when we were on holiday and rainy weather forced us into one. More surprisingly he was suggesting that if I wanted to go and see it when I came back, they'd come and see it again! That good? Wow.
They suggested I left the kids home with Thomas and went to the cinema. I don't think so! Firstly, for anyone who knows us - this whole new chapter in my life started when Thomas asked me to dance to an ABBA song (Dancing Queen) nearly four years ago at a work's night out, so ABBA isn't something he was being left at home for! Secondly, I am not willing to have another relationship where we can't share in each other's interests. If he goes to ABBA, I promise to watch Star Trek when it's on! ;-)
I went on to the cinema websites for last night because André was having the 3 big kids for dinner. It is infinitely easier and cheaper to go to the cinema just with the baby than with 4 kids. Glancing down the show times I noticed they were showing the 'Sing-along' version at 8 O'clock! I figured that was unmissable but was I pushing my luck? I suggested it to Thomas - Does he love me enough to be dragged along to an ABBA sing-along? He didn't look horrified, he didn't claim to be washing his hair that night - I truly have found the perfect husband - Barbra Streisand in London last year, an ABBA sing-along this year! I suggested it to my parents. Dad was scared and offered to babysit Anna instead. I decided he was coming anyway, tough!
So we went for a quick curry and then turned up at the Quay cinema. It wasn't sold-out, phew!
I was a bit apprehensive about someone else singing the beloved ABBA songs of my adolescence but I needn't have been. It was such a happy, feel good movie that didn't come into it.
The setting was beautiful - sunny Greece. I haven't been to Greece since I was a thin long-haired 20 something like the girl in the movie - I suddenly felt 20 years younger! I love Meryl Streep so the fact that she was completely the wrong age for the character she was playing (If Sophie is 20 and Meryl is nearly 60, this crazy week of hippy passion that resulted in her being pregnant and being told not to return home to the US by her mother happened when she was 40ish, I don't think so!) just added to the happy cheese factor! And Pierce Brosnan's singing was so bad the cheese was further enhanced! Julie Walters was a scream as always especially as she tried to chat up Bill. It was lovely to catch glimpses of Abba's Benny and Björn both looking very pleased with themselves in cameo roles. I loved the way songs took on new meanings in different contexts. Songs that had always seemed to indicate the sad end of relationships such as When all is said and done, Winner takes it all, Our last summer changed in the movie. By changing the sex of the singer, songs became amusing too - Does your mother know? of course.
And sitting in the cinema watching this was bizarre. The audience interacts as if it is a stage play with actors present - cheering at bits, clapping, shouting for encores - which actually come! And of course singing along with the words on the screen - wonderful. At the end of almost every movie the audience rushes out during the credits to avoid the carpark rush but of course this time everyone sat to the very last note of Thank you for the music. Suddenly I was transported back 31 years when I sat watching ABBA the Movie with my mum in the old cinema in the Gorbals - it too, like all ABBA things ends up with Thank you for the music. The perfect end to a perfect movie.
I can't wait till the DVD comes out - this, like Grease, is something we'll all be watching for 20 years to come. A real feel good movie!