Unrealistic Moments in Mama Mia 2: Why We All Love it Anyway

Hey fellow bloggers,

So by now I’ m sure you’ve seen or heard of the Mama Mia 2 movie release…and it’s awesome! If you’re still deciding whether to splurge on tickets, you can take it from me (or,  if you prefer, from the 80% review on Rotten Tomatoes) that the movie’s worth it. If you’re like me and haven’t seen the first, you just need to know that the sequel is the story of Sophie’s mom who birthed her on a foreign tropical island not knowing which of her three summer flings produced the child. (P.S. that’s why Sophie has 3 dads.) Overall, Mama Mia: Here we Go Again has got great (hot!) actors, groovy music and a summery-island feel to top it all off. It’s like the perfect summer escape fantasy for all those ABBA/musical lovers, expecting couples and young ladies exploring their future… well almost the perfect escape.

Praise aside, none of us can deny that way too many scenes of Mama Mia 2 are unrealistic, impractical or glaze over glaring plot holes. A case in point is the introduction of young Donna’s character: she’s jetting off to some foreign country who’s language she doesn’t understand, with a patched-falling-apart suitcase and little to no money. She hasn’t even planned or saved enough to afford a hotel for 1 night; she simply strolls into the first hotel she sees upon arrival and hopes to get away with sneakily stealing the keys to a suite. I can only imagine that the optimists in the audience view this as a foolproof plan for Donna to find her “awaiting destiny” and liberate herself from the frustrating, lonely world in which she presides. However, even if most of us are willing to suspend our belief when the Harry catches Donna stealing and in response invites her to dinner instead of calling the police, we all know how this would end in real life. She’d be detained spending all night in a cell surrounded by cops who’s language she didn’t even understand. That is, if she didn’t just get kicked out of the hotel, rejected from every other one she visited and forced to spend the night on the streets. These outcomes may seem rash but my my research led to a video documenting a man testing Donna’s exact situation: the generosity of foreigners when one has no money or place to stay for 24 hours. This inquiry project  proves it’s not as easy as Donna makes it seem to acquire hospitality when you face a language barrier or lack of money.

I’d ramble on about unrealistic scenes but what I’m really trying to do here is pose a question on a phenomenon I’ve noticed recently. Why is it that we all secretly love Mama Mia and it’s feel-good vibes despite  its unrealistic shortcomings. That is, apart from the nostalgic ABBA tunes which bring us back to that peaceful, 70’s state of mind! Why do we willingly suspend our belief, watch on, even if we know that the fairy-tale ending on screen would never happen in real life. The answer, I’ve come to learn, is that our natural human empathy allows us to almost personally experience relaxation, summer-fun, escape as we watch the characters of the movie do exactly this.  Movies like this often do so well because if you think about it, this kind of escape from work is what everyone in modern day western society craves. Our culture is one set on this treadmill-tunnel vision path of work. Graduate. Then either enter the work force, work hard on the house/kids to support a partner who’s in the workforce or go to post-secondary so as to better enter the workforce. Stats show that we are increasingly craving the instant rewards and pleasures of travel now because we can no longer guarantee that we’ll get the reward if we wait for the American dream to come true. We see Mama Mia 2 and are reminded of our internal dream to run away to some mystery tropical land where our destiny is more than boring 9-5 shifts; through our human empathy we vicariously live this dream through Donna.

But what I’m really here to tell you, is that we don’t have to live Donna’s island fairy-tale to be free from out the treadmill pattern. It’s not that we need less time at work: it’s that we feel stressed or unhappy because we don’t maximize the benefit and positivity  of the time we do have away. The answer is to fill this time with our friends, our family our passions and all that helps us de-stress. So as September rolls around, and all of our busy schedules intensify, I’d like to take this moment to remind you all of this truth that all we stressed-folks know but seem to have forgotten. While Donna’s vacay escape is fantastic, we don’t have to drop thousands on an island resort to try and achieve her relaxed bliss…which, as explored above, isn’t realistic in the first place. There is a world of real pleasures waiting to be unlocked for free if we simply spare time for the little things in life (friends, family, hobbies for the soul) that make a big difference.

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