Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.


    No Rating Available

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

All her life, 20-year-old Sophie has lived with her single mom, Donna, in their little hotel on an idyllic Greek island. For most of that time, though, she's secretly longed to find the father she's never known. A man that her former hippie mom refuses to talk about.

When Sophie happens upon Mom's diary, she finds clues that point to three lovers from her free-spirit past. So, since Sophie is about to be married, she invites all three men to her wedding—feeling that surely she'll know the one the moment she lays eyes on him.

Donna has also invited a couple of people to the festivities—her two lifelong friends and former bandmates Tanya and Rosie. They arrive with drinks in hand ready to recapture some of their wild and crazy past as Donna and the Dynamos. But you can think of them as just color. Because the remainder of the movie revolves around Sophie trying to decide which of the potential dads will walk her down the aisle and Donna plotting how to goosestep them out the back door.

Old romance is rekindled, nuptials fast approach and chaotic, musical mayhem ensues. Mamma Mia! What a wedding!

Positive Elements

Sophie earnestly wants to find the father she never had. She longs for some connection, if only for one symbolic walk down the aisle. She says, "I feel like a part of me was missing and when I meet my dad everything will fall into place." (Sadly, Sophie's fiancé, Sky, her mom and eventually even the movie itself all point out that she's silly for trying.)

Each of the men who show up behave as gentlemen and take Sophie, briefly, under their wings for a fatherly moment. She thrives under the attention.

Despite their struggles over and during the wedding, it's obvious that Donna earnestly loves her daughter and believes her to be the greatest gift in her life.

Spiritual Content

Sophie's wedding is set in a small Greek church with a cross on the front wall. An elderly Greek gent crosses himself in church. Throughout the musical, island citizens join in as a "Greek Chorus." A quick shot at the end of the picture shows this group sitting on a heavenly cloud. Donna looks skyward and intones, "Somebody up there has got it in for me."

Sexual Content

We're spared the visuals, but all the activities in the story are based on three sexual trysts that Donna had in the course of a couple weeks, 21 years prior. Sophie reads aloud from her mother's diary and helps paint the bed-hopping picture (over which her girlfriends joyfully squeal).

Sexuality and sexual wordplay are a large part of the present, too. Donna and her bawdy gal pals, for example, are repeatedly referring to and using inanimate objects (such as a power drill and a door knob) to symbolize Donna's need to "get some." Tanya, in particular, is presented to be something like Sex and the City's Samantha. They reference her repeated marriages, breast enhancements and g-string panties; and she's later hit on by a guy about a third her age. When she has a song with this teenage-looking boy who's obviously attracted to her, she slides to her knees in front of him (but out of the camera's view), leaving her hand on his chest. It's a trick to make audiences think she's performing oral sex on him. (And his expression helps.) When she gets up, though, we see that she's really just tied a towel around him like a diaper and we realize that the song is about her essentially telling him he's too young for her.

Tail shakes, leg spreads, crotch grabs and pelvic thrusts in the choreography also speak their own kind of sexual language. The Greek island environment supports lots of low-cut, midriff-baring outfits and swimsuits on the girls. And the guys from Sky's bachelor party all run and dance about with bare chests. Bill, one of Donna's former lovers, turns around in a towel and reveals his naked backside.

Sophie and Sky kiss on several occasions. When Sophie tells her friends that she has a secret, they automatically assume she's pregnant.

It's pointed out late in the film that another of Donna's former flames is now gay. "She was the first woman I ever loved ... and the last woman I ever loved," he says. Later he's shown, shirtless, embracing an equally bare-chested Greek man.

Violent Content

Donna falls through a trap door and lands on a mattress. Rosie feels the burn when sliding down a banister railing.

Crude or Profane Language

God's name is misused a dozen and a half times or so. "Frickin'" stands in for the f-word. And the British crudities "b-gger," "s-dding" and "b-llocks" are spoken once apiece.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Wine, beer, Mai Tais and other umbrella-topped alcoholic concoctions flow freely through the movie's partying scenes. Donna and her friends are often downing something. Rosie opens a proffered beer with her teeth before swigging it back. The older ladies get tipsy a couple times, and Tanya and a young friend of Sophie's are both shown severely hung over. Tanya offers a depressed Donna some sort of prescription drug; Rosie downs the pill instead.

Sky grabs a cigar as a prop for his bachelor celebrations, but we never see him light it.

Other Negative Elements

Donna laments, "I brought this all on myself because I was a stupid, reckless little slut." But her friends pooh-pooh that as the unreasonable morality of her mother talking. It's mentioned that Sophie is like her and Donna replies, "If she were more like me, she wouldn't be getting married at 20. Rosie adds, "Or marrying at all."

[Spoiler Warning] Following through on that last thought—in the big twist at the movie's end—Sophie decides that marrying Sky isn't necessary. The two will simply live together and travel the world.


Inspired and enhanced by a passel of bouncy ABBA tunes, Mamma Mia! played as a stage musical in more than 160 cities, motivating over 30 million people to sing along with old favorites and, in some cases, even dance in the aisles. I was one of the former, working hard to keep my toes clear of the latter.

One thing I noticed with the live production, though, that's even more true with the big-screen version is that you can't really think too hard about what the show is saying and still enjoy it. There are way too many problems for that. Mamma wants you to simply sway along with the frothy fun and marvel at how the nostalgic and infectious music is cleverly stitched into the emotional drama.

Helping you down that path, director Phyllida Lloyd, who also helmed the stage version, does a good job translating her creation to celluloid—buoying the tale with a broad musical theater feel, chipper choreography and lots of Greek chorus backups to flesh out the sound. Amanda Seyfried (as Sophie) is the film's shining star, practically glowing in the early going as she seeks out her dad. Even Meryl Streep (playing Donna) is surprisingly good at giving her songs all the physical and vocal pizzazz that you'd expect from a Broadway lead.

Here's where we get back to that thinking part, though. Sure, there are your typical musical theater holes in the story logic, but this goes deeper than that. What starts as a young girl's longing for a family she's never known, ends up being a jaded lecture on how conventional families, wisdom and morality are all just downright silly and antiquated concepts.

Older women need not mature and learn from their mistakes, just party-hearty and strut your stuff, Mamma Mia! maintains. Poor moral choices don't really have consequences. That's your mother talking. It all works out in the end. Whatever your particular sexual bent or gut-centered desire, go for it. If you wanna shack up and sail away instead of saying "I do" and "I will," well, just do it. We'll all strip off our shirts, sing and dance, follow our hearts and it'll be A-OK. (Or maybe that's ABBA-OK.)

You might not notice or care about the implications of that kind of worldview while in a "Dancing Queen" trance. But you will the second you stop and think about it.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range



Meryl Streep as Donna; Amanda Seyfried as Sophie; Pierce Brosnan as Sam; Colin Firth as Harry; Stellan Skarsgård as Bill; Julie Walters as Rosie; Christine Baranski as Tanya


Phyllida Lloyd ( )


Universal Pictures



Record Label



In Theaters

On Video

Year Published



Bob Hoose

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!