Anyone who hasn’t seen the stage show may be expecting some kind of Abba tribute held together by some flimsy plot a la the Queen musical We Will Rock You.
But while the soundtrack is obviously completely dominated by the hits of the 70s Swedish supergroup, there is actually no other connection with the hit makers whatsoever.
For the most surprising aspect of this eagerly awaited (in some quarters) film musical is that it has a decent story populated by a bunch of genuinely rounded and likeable characters, portrayed by an extraordinary cast of superb actors, none of whom has an obvious musical background.
For a start, the entire movie is set in Greece, which may seem an odd place to belt out two hours worth of Abba tunes, but somehow ends up seeming like the perfect backdrop for some of the most joyous music ever produced by one band.
At the heart of the story is Donna (Meryl Streep), the owner of a B&B on a Greek island who has a 20 year old daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) who discovers her mother’s diary which reveals her father could have been any one of three romantic encounters Donna had two decades earlier.
Sophie contrives to get all three men (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard) to visit the island with the object of finding out which one of them she can legitimately call dad.
With the likes of Julie Walters, Christine Baranski and Dominic Cooper making telling contributions, this is ideal summer escapism (unless, of course, you hate Abba’s music), brought magnificently to life by acclaimed British theatre director Phyllida Lloyd, making her big screen debut.