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Subject: Re: Mama Mia - An Operatic, Abbalicious Movie Musical
From: Lloyd Hanson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Lloyd Hanson <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 8 Sep 2009 18:36:57 -0500
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Yes, Paul, you have said it well.  I, too, dismissed the musical and,  
of course, the movie until I saw it and could not overcome my  
emotional involvement, especially the "Slipping Through My Fingers"  
final song.  Streep is an artist of the finest order.

I can only admire and be stunned.

Lloyd W. Hanson



On Sep 8, 2009, at 4:13 PM, Padillo, G. Paul wrote:

> Okay - I admit that my Dad's love for all things Abba back in the late
> 70's and early 80's was passed down to at least one of his boys:   
> me.  I
> used to poke fun at the Swedish tunesmiths and their lovely ladies,  
> but
> was discovered more than once in a university practice room banging  
> out
> and singing the latest of their tunes in all their wonderful
> Abba-lisciousness.  I had an old girlfriend who opened in the show on
> Broadway, then toured with it (as "Rosie") and starred in the Vegas
> production for 5 years.  Still, I never saw the show and had no idea
> what I was in for when I clumsily pressed the button for "Mama Mia"
> instead of "Max Payne" on my remote control.
>
>
>
> After the initial cringe-inducing moment of self-realization - I was
> completely enthralled by the direction in which Phyllida Lloyd took  
> this
> show - and have rarely been so swept away by a "breezy Summer movie
> musical" - maybe ever.  I take back every negative comment I made to  
> or
> about those who got similarly caught up by "Mama Mia!"  I've grown to
> admire almost all of Ms. Lloyd's work (though I still bristle that she
> didn't film the complete "Gloriana" with Barstow in one of her  
> greatest
> achievements).
>
>
>
> Never one to pay too much attention to the critics, I do remember the
> Rolling Stone review (rather lengthy - and taking every liberty to  
> spew
> as much venom at everyone involved in the project as though each had
> been directly responsible for AIDS or breast cancer.  I admit to
> laughing at the reviews thinking, "if I ever saw it - I'd probably  
> feel
> the same."  Wrong.  What an utter and surprising delight this motion
> picture was.
>
>
>
> Mama Mia's strength - as with every good show - lies in the songs
> themselves and the producers/creators of the show wove a story with
> eight or so appealingly flawed characters that sing an almost endless
> stream of Abba classics running the gamut - surprisingly well - of  
> every
> emotion whether worn on its sleeve or squashed by decades of  
> loneliness.
> Dialogue was, wisely, kept to bare minimum, allowing the power of the
> songs (along with the glorious visuals provided by the sea and a tiny
> Greek island) - to tell the story in a fashion familiar chiefly to
> operagoers (the through-composed musical still being a relatively new
> concept).
>
>
>
> The heart and soul of the picture was Meryl Streep's blistering,
> hilarious and profoundly touching performance, singing and dancing her
> heart out.  Streep has one of those faces that, through muscle memory
> alone - seems capable of erasing or adding decades to her look in less
> time than it takes to blink and her assumption of  Donna the
> Lonelyhearted drove home the fact that few actresses in the history of
> film have or ever will be Streep's equal.  Goddess worship you say?
> Considering the gamut of roles she has taken - and continues to take  
> - I
> can't think of anyone who has done half.
>
>
>
> (I do have to say I was shocked at the performance of Julie Walters  
> who,
> not having noticed opening credits, could only wonder if they CGI'd
> Estelle Getty in a dark wig into the show.)
>
>
>
> In a film chock full of highlights, the trio of Streep, Walters and
> Baranski singing "Super Trooper" was one of the grandest for me - the
> propulsive, undulating "oom pah pah" taken up by the local island  
> women.
> Ditto the mass ensemble dance number for "Dancing Queen" - and the
> tear-inducing "Slipping Through My Fingers," sung by Streep preparing
> for her little girl's wedding.
>
>
>
> As breathlessly delightful and airy as all of this was, it in no way
> prepared me for the 11 O'clock aria which arrived with Miss Streep's
> performance of "The Winner Takes It All."  The pain, shame, guilt,
> broken dreams and love of a failed relationship all surfaced raw and
> blistering like a torch passing through iron.  Lloyd piles on the  
> visual
> effects without overdoing a thing - in fact, everything she fills the
> frame with is barely a match for the intensity of Streep's performance
> which can here only be described as operatic and shattering.  The  
> sight
> of the candlelit walkway through the mountains, the wide sea, and a
> windblown Streep hanging onto - then laying bare - every emotion  
> before
> fleeing - and running up the hill.  It was one of the most raw,
> cathartic experiences I've received from a film in a long, long time  
> and
> the fact it occurred during the course of a musical comedy is as
> glorious as it is improbable.
>
>
>
> Max Payne will just hafta wait.
>
>
>
> p.
> http://sharkonarts.blogspot.com/
>
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