Thursday, 16 August 2018

Spoiler warning

If you haven’t seen ‘Mamma Mia - Here we go again’ and intend to do it:
Stop reading here!
I want to make a few comments about the end of the movie.

In the first movie Meryl Streep plays a central role. In the second movie the audience has to wait until the end before she enters the scene. Why? Because her character – Donna – is dead. We only get to know Donna as a much younger person. In flashbacks.  So, how can the grown up Donna enter the scene – if she is not alive?

This is why I want to make a comment. The possibility of Donna’s daughter, Sophie, actually meeting her late mother comes through a sacrament. At the christening (baptism) of Sophie’s child, Donna enters the church. It comes across as a vision. My impression is that only Sophie can see her mother. When she, Donna, leaves the church building, she walks into the sunshine – or into the eternal light.

Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) and Donna (Meryl Streep) meet in the church.
At the end of the movie, however, everyone can see her. Both in her grown up (Meryl Streep) version and in a younger version. Likewise the three possible fathers of Sophie are also present in two versions. As teenagers and as adults. As well as Donnas two best friends. Temporal and spatial distances are being bridged.

My own mother died in 1999. I often feel close to her when I participate in another sacrament, Eucharist. It is my understanding that time and space in a sense cease to exist when we break bread and share the cup.

Hence I am not surprised that this is a perspective that the movie makers make use of. One can of course ask questions about how the two composers of the music, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, who also appear in the movie, have reacted to this end scene. It is not the first time religion plays a significant role in their production. The musical: ‘Kristina from Duvemala’ has faith as a central theme. Benny Andersson has composed the music of several modern church hymns but Björn Ulvaeus is known to be an atheist.

Be that as it may. When I participated in a conference about preaching in the beginning of this month, one of the key note addresses was about Pauli Murray. The speaker, Dr Donyelle McCray, told us about how Pauli presided in her first Eucharist (prima missa) as an Episcopal priest in the church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where her great role model, her grandmother Cornelia, had been baptized and how that meant a lot to Pauli. A sense of closeness to an important person in her life and family.

In both the movie and in the story about Pauli Murray I find resonance to my own experience. My wish is that more people should find their way to the sacraments, where time and space can be bridged, through Christ.

3 comments:

Anna Carlbom said...

Even though Christian, physically, has been gone for 6 years his presence is a part of our lives and I'm convinced he is raising a toast for his little today and constantly watching over his niece ��

Anna Carlbom said...

Little brother I mean

Anders Göranzon said...

Thank you, Anna! Even in our family we often remind ourselves of Christian and all good memories. Yes, he is with us.