Last night the UK's Channel 5 showed an ABBA 'Docudrama' called 'When All Is Said & Done'. I was surprised that ABBA allowed it, as I thought that they did not approve of anything that revealed very much of their private lives. Anyhow, it was followed by 'ABBA In Concert'.
From what I can tell since I haven't been able to watch it, I find this documentary drama to be quite exaggerated and all the reviews I've seen so far about it seem to be quite negative. Speaking of which, does anyone know where those outside the UK can watch it? Despite not being too happy about it, I am quite curious to see how it is.
Post by chelseacharger on Dec 21, 2017 22:56:05 GMT
There were a number of people closely associated with the group members who contributed their insights. Lola Murray, who is a long-time friend of Agnetha's and Ingmarie Halling from The Museum. But it wasn't a sanctioned 'ABBA' or Universal/Polar production. It's possible that those who agreed to participate, had approached the ABBA members themselves with the reasoning that it was probably better that they gave the programme some balance. The production was likely to go ahead without them and it could have been a hell of a lot worse had they drafted in the usual 'talking heads' z-list celebs instead, regurgitating the same old myths surrounding the group. People like Claes af Geijerstam and Mike Watson as well as the aforementioned at least worked with them so could provide some legitimacy.
The programme did state from the outset that although the telling of ABBA's story was based on real events, there would be scenes of 'fictional dramatisation'. And it's the 'drama' parts that probably irritate the most. In short, they were guessing how certain characters were reacting in situations, some traumatic. I can sort of get over the female actresses not looking like Agnetha and Frida, if the acting is good enough and believable. But some of the sets like the recording studio and the inside of a plane were laughably cheap and ludicrous. They could surely also have searched farther and wider for actors who didn't need wigs to play Benny and Bjorn too.
Not sure what to make of it in total. I think they tried to be respectful but in a ham-fisted way (If that makes sense). For many ABBA fans, the private lives and troubles of the group members should be left well alone as long as they wish it so. And no actor/actress is going to fully do justice to any of the group members. But ABBA obviously still 'sells' and these sort of productions are aimed at a wider audience than those of us who inhabit fan sites.
Channel 5 Catch Up link : (Don't think it works for those outside the UK)
Well I watched it on Youtube. No so terrible. I thought they could have tried harder to get actors who looked more like Bjorn and Benny though.
The end when they showed Frida and Agnetha talking together and smiling made me feel really good. (I got a bit choked up) I hope it really happened exactly like that and they have renewed their friendship.
Now I've watched it - an armchair psychology bonanza. I found the dramatisation parts absolutely hilarious!
Edit: And now I've given it some more thought. From a feminist perspective, this should be deemed ultrareactionary. For once, the girls are at the centre of attention, and how is their story told?: Exclusively in terms of their relations to their parents, partners, children and fans (not that trying to combine motherhood and stardom is not a worthy subject),not to mention each other, their worrying about their looks and ageing, and how it all affects their self-esteem. Their contribution to the music comes down to - changing 'fifteen' to 'seventeen' in the DQ lyrics!
So having the greatest spare time to watch this excruciating, badly rigorous documentary,
Spoilers: I like the inclusion of insiders' words (excluding the archivists) like Lolo Murray and Mike Watson. That's the only thing I like about this documentary, even though it may sound brutal. The dramatization can go take a hike. Lolo and Ingmarie's is very revelating.
ABBA were definitely no drugs, Agnetha was angrier (and some confirmations) Frida is depicted as some sort of an anti-hero who's selfish and has a lot of stage prowess, but has the lowest self-esteem ever out of the members of ABBA. "So depressed that she couldn't get out of bed". Well, it is borderline true, come to admit it, from the insiders words... and Frida and Agnetha swore a lot. And they kinda had to "pay their prices". But I felt the directors were taking it rather too far.
Nowhere to be seen? Frida's been committed to environmental causes in the 1990s!
The fake Swedish accents in the dramatization were TOTAL cringe...
And the rhetoric "did ABBA destroy themselves" is a nice introductory. The one where Agnetha is encountered by Who-Shall Not be Named looks kinda intriguing. August 1975; Polar Studio? FALSE! August 1975; Glen and Metronome Studio. The insiders' words on the tour.. wow. but bad acting prevails. And Lasse Hallstrom isn't a hefty Aussie filmmaker, Channel 5, lol...
And Fake Frida looks inconsiderate for Fake Agnetha's new baby during the premiere. Oh my, this is getting a little ridiculous. And Fake Agnetha... don't get me started. That line was unintentionally... Should I think it's so awful that it's so good or should I think it's so good that it's awful? 1967 Fake Frida didn't have that short kind of a hair.. factual error!
"Dinner is served, madam"... said Fake Benny. Ridiculous. And as for Fake Frida's father, Fake Alfred's encounter of Fake Frida in 1977 I remember one time when I read an article where Frida spoke bad German to greet Alfred. This documentary shows nada. I remember that being rather strange, enigmatic, and alien if I describe correctly, inferring from an article. But I know it doesn't necessarily have to be like this.
The dramatization was not well executed. Not well executed. And the Boston incident was not at all convincing. Neither did Fake Agnetha's "mental breakdown"... It didn't really correlate to the insiders' words quite well. Imbalanced dramatization... and the director make Fake Frida slapping Fake Benny look like SHE started the divorce, not Benny... I scold that... And Fake Agnetha saying that "Whatever happened to Dancing Queen"... did it really happen that they would say that? It seems more like Siobhan's personal opinions than of what Agnetha chatters through the studio tapes.
I'd rather watch a TV adaptation of Finnegans Wake than watch that cesspool of dramatization.
As an american, I have to wonder why things like this still get made for the UK.. .these awful "docudramas" about abba, dwelling on the tawdry events of their personal lives, the soap opera aspect of it.
Here in the States, we had a somewhat similar soap opera with a VERY popular band, Fleetwood Mac. I realize there are substantial differences between the two bands and the soap opera story, however, the point remains...
all music fans know of the Fleetwood Mac soap opera, and it would probably make good tv... yet it never does. Except for the odd thing that gets dragged out very infrequently, such as the VH1 Behind the Music things, those were many many years ago.
So why is it that Abba gets into the UK as a soap opera, more than Fleetwood Mac here? Perhaps Mac has better lawyers, I dont know.