(MAJOR SPOILER ALERT! The fact that I’m commenting on this film on a grief/bereavement blog should be a fair clue where this is headed!)
With Mamma Mia 2 now out in the cinemas, I went with a friend for a bit of light amusement. I’m not exactly an Abba fan, but the idea of a corny film with people dancing and singing on a sunny Greek island seemed just the right way to pass a few hours.
So I took off my “grief support” hat for awhile and sat down to enjoy it.
But guess what? Within minutes it was apparent that although this was a movie that was pure entertainment, pure nonsense and escapism, there was a grief thread too, as Donna, the main character from film 1, had died, and now the main character in this film, her daughter, was continuing her bonds of love and honouring her mother’s memory by rebuilding the hotel on the island, naming it Bella Donna, and the film’s flimsy narrative was centred on the opening night of the hotel.
Within a few minutes of the film starting, she’s on the phone to her absent boyfriend, sad that he can’t be there for this special occasion (I won’t spoil the ending but guess who does show up on time after all…) and he is telling her, “your mum’s been gone a year…” – kind of implying, as friends of the bereaved often do, that it’s time to move on and not focus her life on her mother’s dreams.
No more spoilers, that’s all there is of it really – for the plot and the outcome – the fillers are the songs and dancing, and the whole thing is all improbable and implausible, but quite fun if you enjoy that sort of thing.
Oh, there is one scene at the end, and I must confess I was holding back tears, because she discovers her mum is present – in spirit – at a very special and emotional event.
There were other scenes too where the characters remember their friend/wife and it is a tiny bit emotional, if you are that way inclined.
So though it was just a very silly film, there were some memorable illustrations of grief.
And that’s it.
If you’ve loved someone and they are gone, you grieve.
And when you are grieving, you notice other people’s grief – even when it is fictional.
Read more: Rebuilding and renaming the hotel, the various pictures, etc – are examples of continuing bonds or “bonds of love” as I talk about at the retreats – read more here