18 Songs, 1 Hour 9 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Impossibly exuberant, occasionally loopy, and as relentlesslly infectious as its iconic source material, the screen adaptation of the hit stage show based on Abba’s world-beating pop music catalog doesn’t so much walk the fine line between tribute to the screen musical and outright parody as gleefully blur it unto oblivion. At an age when stuffy AFI tributes would seem her lot in life, Oscar winner Meryl Streep adds yet another subchapter to her already burgeoning resume: pop diva. Whether delivering the title track and “Dancing Queen” with the muscular self-assurance of Merman or lending a weary, Sondheim-esque pathos to “Winner Takes It All”, the veteran offers a winning surprise at virtually every turn. Christine Baranski’s spotlight “Does Your Mother Know” offers a similar revelation, while young newcomer Amanda Seyfried’s quavering soprano is the perfect foil to Streep’s often gutsy vocals, taking two fine showcase turns on the iTunes-only closing tracks, “I Have a Dream” and “Thank You For the Music”. Abba mainstays/executive producers Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus insure that the musical backdrops never stray far from their own epochal productions, even if their pulse seems skillfully quickened throughout to good effect.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Impossibly exuberant, occasionally loopy, and as relentlesslly infectious as its iconic source material, the screen adaptation of the hit stage show based on Abba’s world-beating pop music catalog doesn’t so much walk the fine line between tribute to the screen musical and outright parody as gleefully blur it unto oblivion. At an age when stuffy AFI tributes would seem her lot in life, Oscar winner Meryl Streep adds yet another subchapter to her already burgeoning resume: pop diva. Whether delivering the title track and “Dancing Queen” with the muscular self-assurance of Merman or lending a weary, Sondheim-esque pathos to “Winner Takes It All”, the veteran offers a winning surprise at virtually every turn. Christine Baranski’s spotlight “Does Your Mother Know” offers a similar revelation, while young newcomer Amanda Seyfried’s quavering soprano is the perfect foil to Streep’s often gutsy vocals, taking two fine showcase turns on the iTunes-only closing tracks, “I Have a Dream” and “Thank You For the Music”. Abba mainstays/executive producers Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus insure that the musical backdrops never stray far from their own epochal productions, even if their pulse seems skillfully quickened throughout to good effect.

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