Dance. For many millenniums it has celebrated living, pulverizing skeletal rigidity, lending liquidity to motion, in the words of the muse of movement, Isadora Duncan (1878-1927) “dancing is the highest intelligence in the freest body, the luminous manifestation of the soul”; it is universally therapeutic, a combination of the Vedic elements: earth, water, fire, air and the illusive ether, void, where the magic is conceived. Director Ol Parker’s confection of Abba’s infectious music, luscious galvanizing landscapes, syrupy romance, dazzling performances, gift viewers a sense of yesteryear, when hearts were uninhibited, unbroken and the world was percolating in wonderment and beauty. Lily James as the young “Donna” (Meryl Streep’s role) is a revelation, stuns with the exuberant buoyancy, lustful expectations, gluttonous craving for life’s adventures and loves; imbibe she does, taking three lovers within a week, their musical “connection” resulting in the “queen” of vivacity, “Sophie” (exceptionally empathic depiction by Amanda Seyfried). The flashback technique is smoothly effective, formidable casting eliminates confusion between the youthful boys and middle-aged men: “Sam” , Jeremy Irvine/Pierce Brosnan; “Bill” Josh Dylan/Stellan Skarsgard; “Harry”, Hugh Skinner/Colin Firth; Christine Baranski, “Tanya” and Julie Walters, “Rosie”, Donna’s oldest friends add vintage, salty, seasoned wit and style to the pungent gaiety throbbing throughout the film. The actors must have had the time of their lives, a highlight of their multifaceted careers.
Pina Bausch (1940-2009) another dance diva felt movement soars beyond borders, uniting all mankind. “Mama Mia 2’s” uplifting, heart-palpating glee, a reminder that music and dance free the spirit, enliven the soul, and touches to the core the meaning of happiness.