Thank you ABBA, for bringing this shining light into our lives.
I know what I want my life to look like when I grow up and I want it to look like Lily James living her best life as Donna in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, singing ABBA at unsuspecting townspeople, saving horses in storms and flipping rundown farm houses that she didn’t have to pay a single penny for.
One crucial, vital aspect to this lifestyle is also the string of men that she leaves reeling in her wake. After much scientific research and exactly one viewing of the sequel (a.k.a. Pappa Pia: The Fuckboys Are Back Again), I’ve ranked all the men in the film for your viewing pleasure. Be warned, there’s spoilers ahead.
10. Young Sam
This boy is trash. Yes, sure, he appeared like a white knight to save a scared horse with Donna in the middle of a storm and fulfilled one of my very particular early teen fantasies, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was engaged when he met Donna and didn’t say anything about his cute wife-to-be. (Also, who the hell goes on the adventure of a lifetime and ditches their fiance at home?)
Dress it up however you like and house it in an aesthetically pleasing Pinterest perfect home, but the boy is a cheater and he did Donna dirty. Donna deserves better. I will give him this: the sex must have been incredible if even Donna was thinking of putting everything on the line and settling down with him literally after they’d just met.
We all remember where we were when Dominic Cooper stripped off in a wetsuit in the first film. We were all so much younger back then. While he is undeniably a snack, do we really know who he is beyond his relationship with Sophie? My biggest problem with Sky is that this lost boy still has all the same issues he had in the first film, namely that his entire life is defined by Sophie’s and though he kicks up a fuss, he doesn’t really do a hell of a lot to change it.
He goes to New York to train as a hotelier for Sophie’s resort dream, is offered an amazing job while there that he seems to really want (otherwise why would he have brought it up to his other half if he wasn’t considering taking it) and then after they fight, he drops everything to go back to her. He didn’t even finish his training in New York that was meant to help and did absolutely nothing to contribute to the launch party beyond maybe send out a couple of press releases – Bill, Harry and Alexio were the ones who figured out the guest list. This is a boy who can’t commit to anything professionally, doesn’t have ambitions of his own and doesn’t follow through. Hard. Pass.
Young Bill is the love of my life, but Old Bill has Peter Pan syndrome and it’s not a good look. I’m assuming he’s in his mid-60s and he just seems to have never grown up: when we first see him again, he’s literally pranking people by forcing his twin to take his place at a prestigious awards’ ceremony. He’s also another cheater on the books, he went off and had an affair with a younger woman over baking extraordinaire Rosie, a.k.a. Queen Julie Walters. The man clearly has a death wish or has never read the Harry Potter books, as you would not cheat on that woman if you knew what she had done to Bellatrix LeStrange.
However he’s still a step up from Young Sam, as he actually has a personality, has an adorable friendship with older Sam and is resourceful enough to help his maybe-daughter out in a pinch. He also did what many men and women have always wanted to: tied up Colin Firth with his consent.
This greasy-haired man is basically a teenage boy who rehearsed with his band in his parent’s garage, but never really progressed beyond that point. That said, we can respect a man who strives towards his dreams wholeheartedly and commits to his ambitions (unlike Sky), even if he’s one of the worst singers barring Pierce Brosnan in the film.
Despite his stunningly blue eyes, strong costume choice and pure faith in the power of music and goodness of strangers, it’s not enough to convince us to nestle up with a total momma’s boy with some of the weakest dick energy we’ve ever come across. Next.
6. Young Harry
The moment young Harry bumbled onto our screens with his broken French and awkward charm, we instantly fell in love. He’s the most realistic of the lot, given that we related hard to how he became a doting puppy the moment Donna stamped his V-card. Even though it was his first time, he was also more considerate than some of our other nightly callers and found it important that Donna had enjoyed herself too.
Young Harry’s the epitome of post-Oxbridge gap yah boy trying (and failing) to be cooler and edgier than he actually is, but we love him for going out into the world, taking risks and trying to discover who he is. Given that Waterloo was probably the best scene in the film, we’d probably jump into bed with him too. He’s not somebody we’d tie the knot with, but definitely somebody we’d reflect on fondly after dealing with problematic fuckboys (see: Bill, Young Sam).
Sam definitely has a problematic past (see: Young Sam, trash human), but he’s also proof that people have the capacity to change and learn from their mistakes. While Pierce Brosnan might be off painting underwhelming Bob Dylan portraits, Sam is killing the architecture game with his gorgeous home and clearly values sentimentality – returning to the home on the hill where his penis temporarily broke Donna’s brain and keeping hilariously huge photographs of Young Donna in his laundry chest.
Even though he may have come into Sophie’s life a little late, he seems to be the most involved dad. While he’s super supportive, he also seems to understand that she needs to be able to make her own decisions and mistakes. Young Sam was terrible, but Old Sam is a man who’s had to eat crow, learned from his past and has since become a better human. Also, unrequited love gets a bucket of extra points in my book.
4. Young Bill
We agreed in the office that we didn’t think much of Young Bill in the posters, but seeing those baby blue eyes in motion showed us we had never been more wrong. This professional sailor with his own boat (a boat!) is not just a snack, he is breakfast, lunch and dinner. Quite frankly, casting this sunswept Swedish god was incredibly rude to his older counterpart Stellan Skarsgard, who has not aged the same way Colin Firth has.
Playful, sexy, driven and hungry to see the rest of the world, he’s undoubtedly a fuckboy – but at least you know what you’re getting into on day one. While he flirts and jokes a lot with Donna, at the end of the day (and after competing in an international sailing race, reuniting two star-crossed lovers and saving her from her trash human related misery) he waits for Donna to take the lead and step into his cabin. You’re never going to be his one and only, but if you’re looking for a fun summer fling then he’s the one.
3. Fernando Cienfuegos
This man should be the Urban Dictionary definition for Big Dick Energy. Every man can learn from the mysterious groundskeeper’s dedication to his wardrobe – even in the Grecian heat. It’s all in the details here, the array of neck scarves, beautifully fitted suits and perfectly groomed facial hair. A man who still takes care of himself is a man who will take care of you and he understands the power of a compliment, veering away from gross skeevy territory and instead praising Christine Baranski and Julie Walters for the under-utilised royalty they are.
He’s enigmatic, kind and dependable and to be honest I thought the big revelation in this film was going to be that he’s actually Sophie’s father. He’s certainly more present and involved in her life than her other dads. While this zaddy might be stealing hearts and movie scenes, he’s also a true romantic who never gave up hope that Cher would walk back into his life. It’s no surprise that he has an entire ABBA song named after him, this silver prince deserves nothing but the best. And Cher comes pretty close.
THE GLOW UP IS REAL. This awkward baguette-wielding rah became a sweet bisexual icon who makes bank, keeps it tight and fills out garish ABBA gear like no other. (Younger Bill, Sam and Harry could never.) He walked out on one of the biggest business deals ever to be there for his maybe-daughter with no real plan in place, but with the best of intentions and a heart overflowing with fatherly love.
While his life seems to have become overly structured by his super successful business and he’s logical to a fault, he isn’t ruled by that and still knows how to have fun – hence him and Bill channelling their best Titanic Rose and Jack at the front of a boat. Also, we have been blessed with the following GIF for life.
I could sing an entire album about Alexio, the beefy, straight-out-of-a-Mills-&-Boon fisherman. When we first come across this king, he’s stranded in a fishing boat far too small for him and all of his bulging muscles – looking forlorn and begging for help from Young Bill and Donna. He inspires even fuckboy Young Bill to believe in the power of true love with his mission to save his beloved from a wedding she doesn’t want.
He’s also a man who never forgets a good turn a stranger has done him, returning later in the film to save the whole day and repaying his debt to Young Bill. Using his undeniable gravitas and charisma, he rallies the entire fisherman community to take a chance on a random party on another island. Also when everybody else groans about bringing their wives and families, he doesn’t so much as complain because he knows he’s moved heaven, earth and Young Bill’s heart to get to where he is now. Alexio is the best man and therefore, fictional.