Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Cast: Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper, Cristine Baranski, Julie Walters
This screen adaptation of the immensely popular stage musical builds a bubbly and playful story around Abba’s catchiest songs, and delivers one of the dullest films in recent memory. Meryl Streep plays Donna, a former hippie who runs a taverna on a Greek island where she’s about to host her daughter’s wedding. The 20-year-old girl has secretly invited three of her mother’s former lovers and hopes to discover which one of them is her father. If Donna had her promiscuous youth in the 1970s, this can’t be set in 2008. Whichever year it is set in, the casting suggests that Donna and her three lovers had their wild days in their mid-30s. The plotline doesn’t make any sense mathematically, but that’s a small complaint in this context. Phyllida Lloyd, who directed the original stage musical, makes an embarrasingly uncinematic film debut. She cannot put together one compelling static shot, let alone stage complicated, choreographed musical numbers. The cast is mouthwatering but their performances are appalling, and if you thought these Abba songs were indestructible, wait until you hear the karaoke versions on offer here.