We went to see Mamma Mia 2 on Friday night. It’s a long time since we all went to a film together and only son was not entirely positive about going. Amid all the gloom of whatever is going to happen in the next year or even the next month, Mamma Mia 2 was a real feel good film for people of all ages [except only son].
It was about friendship, fun, love and, of course, mother/daughter relationships. My mum had already told me she had sobbed throughout the film, but it was not until a pregnant Sophie started singing “and now it seems to me my lonely days are through, I’ve been waiting for you” amid footage of Donna giving birth that I lost it. It was an emotional rollercoaster after that. One minute crying, the next laughing at Cher’s unmoving face singing Fernando, the next worrying that she wouldn’t be able to make it through the dance moves as her body looked several times older than her face, the next the christening and Meryl Street singing about how her daughter was her love, her life. There are an awful lot of films about romantic love, but strangely not so many about parental love – and none to the kind of beautiful tunes that Abba banged out in album after album. I admit I was a big fan back in the day when it was frowned upon by my peers. I even had the Abba recorder song book.
The first film came out the year I last saw my brother before he moved to the other side of the world. Despite – or maybe because of – being forced to sing Abba all the way from Scotland to England on the B roads in his formative years and despite bearing more than a passing ressemblance to Pierce Brosnan, he was unmoved by Mamma Mia 1. He was more a Velvet Underground kind of guy back in the day. He painted his room black and wore steel capped pointy shoes. I was a bit of an embarrassment music-wise.
I’m not sure what he would make of Mamma Mia 2. Halfway through “I’ve been waiting for you”, only son approached me complaining of boredom. “Is this film never going to finish?” he asked before being told by his sobbing mother to return to his seat in no uncertain terms. The deep-rooted, complex mother daughter thing had clearly passed him by despite the fact that he lives it every day. Which is not to say that the deep-rooted, complex mother son relationship is not a thing too. Or the father son thing…or the father daughter thing.
I’ve just had several weeks of intense family reflection, starting with a visit from my stepbrother. All of that childhood stuff is so baked in in so many different layers. Mamma Mia 2 was the perfect chance to just let it all go.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.