Q: What’s the movie about?
A: A young bride-to-be (Amanda Seyfried) hatches a plan behind her mother’s back (Meryl Streep) to find her real father before she walks down the aisle... And of course she does it all using the hit songs of ABBA.
Q: Who’s in the movie?
A: Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Christine Baranski, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, Julie Walters, Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper
Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?
A: Go! ! If you loved the Broadway show this movie is based on, you’ll love this movie. If you didn’t love the Broadway show, you’ll love this movie. If you didn't see the Broadway show, you’ll love this movie. Basically, if your heart is beating and you can sit upright in a movie theater for 100 minutes, you’ll love this movie. Just to be clear, there’s no one who won’t love this movie.
Q: Will this movie make me laugh?
A: You will laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, but you're supposed to.
Q: Will this movie make me cry?
A: Yes, when Meryl sings, “The Winner Takes It All.” Don’t feel bad, just let it out. There, now, don’t you feel better?
Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?
A: Thanks to the Academy’s arcane rules, Abba’s pristine pop gems will not be eligible for Oscar nominations. But you can pretty much bank on Streep being nominated for an astounding 15th time. And newcomer Amanda Seyfried might get some serious attention, too.
Q: How is the Acting?
A: It's the reason the movie works better than the play. The cast wrings true emotion out of each scenes. Streep brings a weirdly poignant manic energy to her part that is at first disconcerting, but quickly settles into brilliance. She elevates a movie based on Abba songs like only Meryl Streep can. And newcomer Amanda Seyfried is so perfectly cast as her daughter, it’s eerie.
Q: How is the Directing?
A: A bit haphazard and manic, yet it doesn’t undercut the pure joy derived from the songs, the comedy, and the beautiful Greek setting. Phyllida Lloyd is a British theater and opera director, but she opens up the play effectively and nails all the big moments. It doesn’t feel like a play turned into a movie. It just feels like a movie.
Q: How is the story/script?
A: Like a patchwork of thin plot points strung together to make the songs make sense... But credit is due for accomplishing that so well! Also, since the film is set in Greece, it's an especially nice touch to add a ‘Greek Chorus’ to the proceedings. Hey, it’s a musical! It’s in Greece! Let’s add a chorus!... So obvious, but sometimes the most brilliant ideas are.
Q: Is there anything else worth mentioning about the movie?
A: Even after all these years, there’s no denying how brilliant and fun Abba’s songs are. You may also acquire a new appreciation for how deceptively smart and effective the lyrics are.
Hot tip: Be sure to stick around for the end credits. You will not be disappointed.
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