Mamma Mia! The Movie (2008) was one of the top international box-office hits of its year and the fastest selling DVD in British history. Responses were passionate but polarized: while legions of fans participated in celebratory sing-along screenings, critics dismissed it as a ‘Super Pooper’. The critical split often ran along the fault line of gender, with male critics initially unimpressed by the uninhibited, tongue in cheek frivolity of this rare film written, produced and directed by women.
This welcome first book on a twenty-first century cultural phenomenon explores these diverse responses to Mamma Mia!, along with key issues such as the film’s representation of female friendship, of maternal and paternal identities and its focus on the older female protagonist, as well as its status as ‘jukebox’ musical, queer text and product of female authorship. Empire magazine’s critic Ian Nathan concluded his bemused account of the film’s unprecedented success by stating: ‘Mamma Mia is not like other films’. This book aims to explore exactly how and why that is the case.