A look at sisterhood through the lens of ‘Mamma Mia’ this friendship day

Honey, honey, where would we be without our girls?

Harper's Bazaar India

I read somewhere, "female friendships should feel like summer", and it has stuck with me since. It does not matter where I am in life or what I am going through, I know my girls will always have my back. When I think of them, they really do feel like summer—I feel the same soft warmth enveloping me in a hug and the smell of freshness hangs in the air.

15 years ago, a movie evoked similar emotions. Although Mamma Mia was a film about a young woman on a quest to find her father, it left a lasting impression on everyone because of the way it portrayed friendship. It showed the world the true power women had when they were with their girls. It did not matter if you were 40 or 20, no problem was too big.

Set on a Greek island, against the backdrop of the glistening ocean, we meet Donna Sheridan, and her ride-or-die’s, Tanya and Rosie. I remember watching this movie for the first time as a young girl, and the bathroom scene, at the beginning of the song ‘Chiquitita’ made me feel all warm and fuzzy. Donna is having a breakdown, and Rosie and Tanya are trying their best to comfort her and make her laugh, and they do succeed to some extent. This felt like the perfect representation of female friendships: haphazard, messy, loud, necessary, and preferably with a cocktail on the side. Donna’s daughter, Sophie, also goes through her share of problems, and she, too, has her friends Lisa and Ali, who help her sift through the mountain of issues she has created.

Female friendships allow us to be our true selves. They give us the freedom to discuss, help us through our feelings of sadness and confusion, and give us the courage to admit that maybe getting married is not the dream. Who else but your girls will you admit to: "In my dreams I have a plan, If I got me a wealthy man, I wouldn't have to work at all, I'd fool around and have a ball”?

This movie was ahead of its time in many ways. It showed the world that being a single mother was not a burden. It created a sense of community and portrayed sisterhood in the most beautiful ways. It depicted the friendship between a mother and daughter. Sure, the movie starts off with a cat and mouse kind of chase between Sophie and Donna, with both trying to hide secrets from the other, but it seems trivial when Sophie asks her mother to help her get dressed and if she would walk her down the aisle. I do not think there was a single dry eye in the room during ‘Slipping through my fingers’. 

Just like in the song ‘Dancing Queen’ where Donna skips and dances as she makes her way to a pier, gathering the women on the island as she goes, this movie has collected women over the years. It is a movie made by women, for women. It is about female empowerment, friendship, and independence, and encourages each and every woman to dream.