Stockholm seemed a fitting place to see the film version of Mamma Mia! Julia and I saw the musical a few years ago in London and loved it. As it was raining yesterday I took the four children off in search of a cinema. We eventually found one and settled down with our popcorn to a real treat. We were in the middle of the front row, my favourite place to sit.
The film is brilliant; we all loved it. I particularly related to the plot because part of it hinges on who is going to give the girl away at her wedding. I had a similar conundrum at mine. By then my step-father and I had fallen out, so he was off the list. My real father seemed an obvious second choice (although he had practically nothing to do with bringing me up). So he was dragged along to Sweden, along with around 100 other guests.
The morning of the big day he left. He has still to fully explain himself but has said he finds weddings so “bourgeois”. So I was left with two major problems. One, who was going to do the Dante reading and two, who was going to walk me up the aisle. I asked my Italian aunt if she would do the reading.
“But I don’t know if my hat will go with Dante,” she said. Perfectly understandable. But she did it, and read beautifully. I asked my mother to walk me up the aisle and give me away. It was an emotional moment and fitting as my mother is the person who brought me up and the one closest to me by far.
I won’t tell you what happens in the film, but go and see it. I felt like clapping and singing, rather like we did in the musical, but being in Sweden I suppressed my desires for fear of arrest for unruly behaviour.
The kids loved it. “I sunged all the songs,” Leo told me. “Oh why is it finished?” wailed Olivia at the end. Meryl Streep was, as always, totally amazing. I read somewhere she wrote to the boys from ABBA and asked if she could be in any film version they made.
She was the perfect choice, rather like my mother was at my wedding.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2008