Contains Spoilers for Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again
For anyone who has had the pleasure of watching the Mamma Mia sequel, you will completely understand me when I say I felt personally attacked by the emotion in that movie. Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again brings back all the best musical numbers from the first film, whilst adding even more ABBA hits to the track list, as it narrates two stories from different time periods alongside each other, on the backdrop of the stunning fictional Greek Island of Kalokairi.
The relationship between Donna (Meryl Streep, Lily James) and Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) connects these two overlaying stories and leads the rest of the cast in this fun, fabulous arcade of drama, humour, adventure and ridiculousness, which will most likely make you laugh and cry at the same time. It really is a spectacle to watch as the characters and story are so well loved.
However, one of the hot topics at the moment for Mamma Mia fans is those darned continuity errors. From character’s eye colours changing over time to the time scale of Sophie’s conception, if you are an avid Mamma Mia fan (like me) these things will be glaringly obvious. It’s not an end-of-the-world deal breaker and the movie did amazingly at the box office despite these small mistakes. Moreover, maybe a movie where characters spontaneously burst out in song and dance shouldn’t be put down for lack of realism.
Nevertheless, one of my personal pet peeves is plot or structure errors that could have been fixed so easily, with just one minor adjustment or even a single line of dialogue giving an explanation. This is the case for Mamma Mia 2, and you may have guessed that I will be talking mostly about young Harry’s role in this movie, seeing as most of the plot holes centre around or connect with him in some way.
The first continuity error we all noticed in Mamma Mia 2 was Harry’s guitar! In the first movie Harry tells Sophie that he bought Donna’s guitar for her, however in the sequel young Harry is shown carrying the guitar when he arrives in Greece but turns back after noticing that Donna is on a boat with another man, not having a chance to leave the guitar with her. I’m not even going to go into Harry’s apparently made up nickname of “Headbanger” which was not mentioned once in Mamma Mia 2.
The second massive conflicting plot point was the order of Donna’s flings with Harry, Bill and Sam. We do see Young Donna writing in her very distinctive pink diary in Mamma Mia 2, which Sophie finds and reads in the first movie, however what actually happens in the flashback wasn’t exactly how Donna’s entries explained it.
The sequel follows young Donna as she originally meets Young Harry in Paris and sleeps with him, before catching a lift off Young Bill to the Greek island. Bill has to leave straight away because of a sailing competition leaving Donna to meet and fall in love with Sam. After it is revealed Sam is already engaged to another woman, he leaves and Bill turns up again after his competition. This is when Donna and Bill bond even more and they sleep together.
However, we all know that in the first movie’s Honey Honey musical number, Sophie reads her mom’s diary and reveals that Donna originally met Sam first and, after being heart broken by his engagement, sleeps with Bill and then Harry later. This is a completely different order to the flashback we see in Mamma Mia 2, but could it have been easily fixed with one small added scene?
It’s true, as stated in the first movie, that Harry first met Donna in Paris and then followed her all the way to Greece, but it could be that after Donna sleeps with Bill in an attempt to mend her broken heart, Harry decides to show up again for another romantic night (and also to gift Donna that guitar). This would tie in perfectly with the diary entries as Sophie reads “August 11th. Harry turned up, out of the blue, so I said I’d show him the island.” The way this entry is written, does make you suspect that Donna and Harry had already met before.
So, all I was looking for was a short, sweet scene near the end of the movie, after Donna’s night on the boat with Bill (as Bill’s character didn’t seem the type to hang around for long anyway) where Harry arrives on the island with his guitar and, with this beautiful act of devotion, Donna sleeps with him again. It’s clear from Harry’s posh background he probably needed to return to England shortly after this to continue working in his dad’s bank, and this would have been the moment Donna starts realising she is pregnant. This would have matched up with the descriptions in the first movie and wouldn’t have screwed up the timelines. We also would have seen more of Young Harry (played by Hugh Skinner) who I thought was such a fun, brilliant character. I personally, would have wanted a short Waterloo reprise on his arrival on the island as well.
Another big reason this scene would have made sense is because we all know the couple who do end up together is Donna and Sam, so the fact Donna ends up sleeping with two guys after her relationship with Sam, who she clearly didn’t have that intense connection with, would have shown just how completely in love with him she was and how it was so hard to get over him. Donna and Sam’s romance is such a big part of the story and so I feel Bill and Harry’s relationships should reflect this. Ultimately, Donna is still depressed and unhappy even after having rebound sex with other men, which completely strengthens her love for Sam in my opinion.
I am desperately hoping that the deleted scenes of Mamma Mia 2 will show Harry reuniting with Donna near the end of the movie, because that small detail would completely resolve the majority of the continuity errors I have mentioned, and it not, we can at least dream that something like that happened.
I will be honest and say that this potential lost scene between Donna and Harry doesn’t solve everything. There’s the aforementioned “headbanger” nickname adult Harry said he used to call himself which wasn’t mentioned anywhere in Mamma Mia 2, the fact that various cast members playing younger versions of the characters had different eye colours (most notably Lily James’ brown eyes compared to Meryl Streep’s blue), and the appearance of Donna’s mother in the sequel, who was played by Cher, as it is implied in the first movie that her mother was already dead.
The plot holes of Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again have been discussed regularly these past couple of weeks, but this doesn’t diminish the pure happiness and fun energy beaming from the music, the cast and the story. You’ll probably leave the film having cried a lot but you’ll love it all the same.