Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again ★★★★

(for Much Ado About Cinema’s Top 25 of 2018)

Over the summer, I saw Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again five times in theaters. Just like young Donna Sheridan, I was also aimlessly stumbling through the miasmic haze of post-grad life. But unlike me, Donna doesn’t succumb to her fear of the future. She waves goodbye to her best friends and jet-sets off to Paris and Greece, where she allows her bountiful spontaneity to manifest itself in the form of sleeping with three hot guys. One of these suitors miraculously ages into Colin Firth, who later on appears with an entire brigade of ships while belting “Dancing Queen.”

And that’s silly! This movie is absolutely ridiculous! Until suddenly it’s not, and you’re sobbing your eyes out for the entire last act. In present day, Donna’s friends and family are grappling with the loss of their treasured, overall-wearing matriarch — a dark turn for such a famously upbeat franchise. Yes, it is in fact possible for bad things to happen in the MMCU (Mamma Mia! Cinematic Universe), but the characters always manage to counter these ups-and-downs with an impassioned ABBA song and a well-choreographed dance.

Much like Before Sunset (yes, that is what I choose to compare this to), Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again has become one of my go-to escapist films to turn to whenever I begin to feel my conviction in the serendipitous parts of life slipping through my fingers. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that there is nothing less desirable than a world without romance, by visiting a dreamscape brimming with nothing but.