- Awesome Music:
- Base-Breaking Character:
- For many people, Skye, due to being probably the least entertaining personality in the movie. For others, he's a fine Understanding Boyfriend who does what the movie needs him to do.
- For others, Sophie, for her utter stupid plan in order to determine who her father is, so he can walk her down the aisle... which not only ends up going nowhere, but it's rendered useless TWICE by Sophie herself, first with her asking her mother to walk her instead and then by deciding not to get married at all. For those people, Skye's frustration with Sophie, who's shown herself to be an arrogant, self-involved dimwit, is perfectly understandable. For others, however, choose to interpret that many people who grow up without their dad can be desperate to have the knowledge of him, and to meet him, and also can be very indecisive. So, while people might find Sophie irritating, it is understandable why she's the way she is. The very fact that she does ask her mother to walk her down the aisle (since Donna was the parent who actually raised her), then realizes she's not ready to get married after all, and that she's content in the end not to know which man is her father, can be seen as positive Character Development.
- Ending Fatigue:
- There are three musical numbers after the plot is wrapped up, plus the first portion of the end credits has two more songs. Amusingly, this opened in the U.S. the same day as The Dark Knight, which also had trouble wrapping up.
- The stage version ends this way as well, but "Take a Chance On Me" occurs before the wedding, and "When All is Said and Done" doesn't occur at all.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Epic Stick Lady during "Dancing Queen".
- Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The movie implies that you can't be a successful single mother and have totally happy children from it. While Sophie does come to terms with the idea of not knowing who her father is, Donna still needs Sam's support for Sophie to leave the island and pursue her dreams.
- Fridge Brilliance:
- Going off the genetics of hair colour, Bill is most likely to be Sophie's father, as confirmed by Word of God, because he's the only blond of Sophie's three possible fathersnote . Indeed, Donna only shows signs of pregnancy in the flashbacks set after she sleeps with Bill, which once again makes him the prime candidate to be Sophie's father.
- It's also implied that Donna might be lying about not knowing who Sophie's actual father was, since Bill commented that he thought his great-aunt who Donna had taken care of before she died had left her money to family. Because, of course, she did. It seems rather unlikely that the great-aunt at least didn't figure it out eventually, though Donna might have been in denial. Of course, whether Donna would be in a situation to find out about the recessive trait of blonde hair is up for grabs as well.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
- While a moderate success in the US, it did extremely well in Europe, and at the time of its release was the highest grossing movie ever in the United Kingdom, and is one of the top-selling DVDs of all time in that country. In 2008, 1 in every 4 UK households had a copy.
- It actually did outgross Avatar in ABBA's native country, Sweden.
- Narm: Pierce Brosnan's singing. Oh God, Pierce Brosnan's singing. Mark Kermode was not inaccurate in calling it the closest you'll ever get to seeing major Hollywood actors doing drunken karaoke.
- Narm Charm: The ladies in full getup after the movie's fully over? Alright, you can take that with a giggle or two, as the ladies do actually pull the getup off quite well. But when the GUYS come out in costume for "Waterloo"? Oh dear God.
- Retroactive Recognition:
- He Really Can Act:
- Amanda Seyfried surprised a lot of people by her ability to sing. In fact, one of the reasons she was cast was because she could pull off a high note during "I Have a Dream" ("I believe in angels..."). Her performance here would later be heavily credited for earning her the role of Cosette in the film adaptation of Les Misérables four years later.
- Meryl Streep may have been nearing sixty at the time she filmed this movie, but she knocks "The Winner Takes It All" out of the park and into the stratosphere!
- Rule of Sean Connery: For many viewers, Meryl Streep's presence — and acting skills - transform the movie from merely barely tolerable to actually quite enjoyable, provided much Willing Suspension of Disbelief is applied.
- So Bad, It's Good:
- Tear Jerker: Two moments right in succession: Donna singing "Slipping Through My Fingers" while getting Sophie ready for the wedding and "The Winner Takes It All" sung by Donna to Sam a few moments later.
- WTH, Casting Agency?:
- So, what is Meryl Streep doing in a musical? She went to see the stage show with her daughter for her eleventh birthday and got kinda hooked on the idea. Also, one critic commented once on how she keeps touching her face and using her expressions mostly for acting, which makes it seem as if she's just a head. One journalist in Israel asked her if she was trying to prove she has a body as well, and Streep replied this might have been the case. She had also starred in a stage musical of "Alice in Wonderland" years earlier.
- Better example would be Pierce Brosnan. Clearly he was cast to be swooned over rather than listened to.
YMMV / Mamma Mia!