Welcome to the Weekend Binge. Every Friday, we’ll suggest a binge-able title designed to keep you from getting too stir crazy. Check back throughout the weekend for even more gloriously queer entertainment.
The Two Moms Double Feature: Mamma Mia/Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again
Ahh, ABBA, the wonderful Swedish pop foursome that gifted the world (and queer culture, in particular) with a series of unforgettable hit tunes including “Dancing Queen,” “SOS,” “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” “Waterloo,” and of course, “Mamma Mia.” Many a drag act had lipsynced to strains of ABBA before the group’s song catalog became fodder for a Broadway show, and later, a duo of hit movies.
The plot(s): a free-spirited, feminist inn owner named Donna (played by Meryl Streep in the films) and her daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) prepare for Sophie’s wedding to a hunky suitor (Dominic Cooper). Sophie desperately wants her estranged father to attend, but there’s a problem. Donna isn’t sure which of her three sometime lovers (Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, and Stellan Skarsgård) actually fathered Sophie. The arrival of the three men to the inn sends Donna into a panic, though fortunately, her two besties (Christine Baranski and Julie Walters) are on hand to help with the craziness.
The sequel to the film catches up with Sophie following Donna’s death as she plans to reopen the inn. A series of flashbacks detail Donna’s difficult relationship with her own mother, Ruby (played by Cher) and how Donna met Sophie’s three dads. In the present, Ruby’s arrival sends Sohpie into a Donna-like panic, especially after she realizes the new hotel manager Fernando (Andy Garcia), has a longtime link to Ruby.
Got all that? In movies like this, plot takes a back seat to the music, production numbers, and charisma of the cast. Given the pedigree of this cast, the charisma flows just as much as the music. And considering the number of gay icons on hand here–Cher, Streep, Baranski & Seyfried–the only way it would be gayer is if it starred drag queens.
As it is, Streep, Cher, Baranski and Walters veer dangerously close to drag parodies of themselves. That said, Mamma Mia and Here We Go Again are all-in-good-fun campfests in the same vein as Grease or Hairspray–the kind that invite audiences to sing along and giggle at the mugging cast. This Mother’s Day weekend, we recommend revisiting the films alongside mother (drag, biological or adoptive) and kicking back a few cocktails while you do.
Try not to sing along. Also, watching without a libation in hand is not recommended.
Both films stream on YouTube, Amazon, VUDU & iTunes. Mamma Mia also streams on Peacock.