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Mama Mia! May We Go Again?

  • rkurrasch 

One of the blessings of the digital age is that most anything is available almost anytime somewhere, and so when a favorite movie came along, I saved it for a repeat viewing.

The film is the 2008 musical “Mama Mia!” starring Meryl Streep and a superb cast. I learned a long time ago the perils of recommending films, and so while “Mama Mia!” has no nudity, some may find its generous serving of sensuality a little uncomfortable, and the familiar beat of Abba’s music is not the only factor driving the on-screen action (if you get my drift). Just saying, so you know.

You might not go for the plot, either, which is rather like an excuse to string the songs together, sort of like the binder (the cookie dough) in a chocolate chip cookie. (I once had a parishioner who judged the quality of chocolate chip cookies by how little binder was used to hold the chocolate chips together, chocolate rather being the point of the cookie in the first place.)

At the same time, those who once wore outlandish costumes (who among us never wore outlandish costumes) would find the film a lot of fun, and therein lies the key to repeat viewings of “Mama Mia!,” its joy.  Out in the world …, well, we know what confronts us out in the world, but when the lights dim, we see life from a different angle.

If you can picture Meryl Streep doing the splits while jumping on her bed, you’ll get the idea.

It’s not that a fairy tale world takes over. The story does not ignore the history of the central figures. What might have been, but wasn’t; the poignant moments brought about by life’s passages; not just human foibles but human failures … it’s all there, but standing over the whole community is the essential goodness of the creation and the sheer gift of our life together. How to embrace the gift? How else but in song and dance and friends old and new and tables piled high with really good food.

And then there are those second chances. We come and we go; our paths diverge and converge; we mess up and an abundant creation invites us to pick up and try again. Our connections are what make our lives.

You wouldn’t exactly call “Mama Mia!” a religious film … or would you? It certainly did not start out that way but I suspect that God enjoyed it along with the rest of us which makes it a religious film in my book. To paraphrase Omar Khayyam, a bowl of popcorn, “Mama Mia!,” and thou … the perfect antidote to all that sucks the very oxygen out of the room these days, reminding us that the good earth and its good people do abide.