11 huge mistakes and plot holes from ‘Mamma Mia 2’ that make NO SENSE

3 August 2018, 20:20 | Updated: 11 June 2020, 19:49

By Katie Louise Smith

So basically, none of what Donna wrote in her diary was actually true?

Mamma Mia 2 is everything. From the out-of-control memes to the international state of mourning over the fate of Meryl Streep's Donna Sheridan, the internet has been obsessed with the second instalment of the ABBA jukebox musical ever since it dropped in 2018.

Despite being a strong contender for the best film ever made (I'm sorry but the line "Be still, my beating vagina" ALONE qualifies this movie as one of the greatest cinematic creations, don't @ me), there is, however, so so so SO many details that don't quite add up with the plot from the first movie. In fact, the timeline is so completely messed up that almost everything of what Donna states in her infamous diary is contradicted in the first film.

After an extensive sleuth and many many rewatches, here are all the mistakes and storyline continuity errors that we've managed to spot across the two films:


1) The timeline makes absolutely no sense.

Here's what we know: Donna graduated from Oxford University in 1979, which means she was in her early twenties when she decided to sack off all her responsibilities and move to Greece. Assuming all her encounters happened within that year, it would suggest that Sophie was probably born in 1980.

In the first film, it is explicitly stated several times that Sophie is 20 years old - which would indicate that the film is set in 2000 (don't let that 2008 release date fool ya... the stage play actually premiered in 1999, in case you were wondering.)

Mamma Mia 2, however, is set five years after the first movie - not 10 years, which is the amount of time we waited for the sequel. That means it's 2005 when we arrive back in Kalokairi for the big re-opening of Hotel Bella Donna. But if the year is 2005, why is everyone using the latest iPhones when, in real life, they had BARELY been invented yet? WHY? WHY MERYL, WHY?

2) In Donna's diary, she explicitly states that she meets Sam first. But in Mamma Mia 2, she meets Harry first.

Most of the continuity errors in the film stem from what's written in Donna'a diary aka the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE WHOLE SAGA. In Mamma Mia 2, the first guy Donna encounters, and later sleeps with, is Harry, who she meets in Paris before she even makes it to Greece. But according to her diary, she meets Sam first and Harry is the one she meets last.


3) Sam didn't row Donna to the island, she met him on the island.

"Sam rowed me over to the little island," Donna writes in her diary, which Sophie later clarifies is in fact Kalokairi. But as we all know, as per the fraudulent timeline of Mamma Mia 2, Donna meets Sam in the middle of a rain storm on the island.


4) Bill didn’t “rent” a motorboat, he owned a freakin' boat.

In Mamma Mia 2, Donna just misses the ferry to Kalokairi and ends up hitching a ride on Bill's boat. But as per her diary in the first movie, she states that Bill "rented" a boat and she took him to the island. Honestly, what's the truth?


5) Harry never actually stepped foot on the island.

In the diary, Donna writes "Harry turned up out of the blue so I said I'd show him the island" but in the second movie, Harry gets left on the dock as the ferry leaves and turns around and walks away.

There's actually a reason why the order of the guys change from the first movie, though. Director and writer Ol Parker explained that he wanted to make sure each one of Donna's whirlwind romances actually meant something, and that her reasons for sleeping with all three of them actually made sense and resonated with the audience.

“My job was to give her slightly different reasons for each of the men,” Parker said. “Young Harry is comedy and a slight pathos and also charming. Young Sam is a love story. Young Bill is to help her feel better from having a broken heart.”

6) In the diary, Donna says Sam "announces" that he was engaged and leaves to get married - but it's Donna who finds out instead.

After Lily James effortlessly hits us her own flawless rendition of 'Name Of The Game', Donna finds Sam's journal and promptly realises that he's engaged to another woman. She calls him out on it, storms off and never speaks to him again.


7) Harry says that Donna’s guitar was a gift from him but he is still in possession of it at the end of the second movie.

In the first film, when Sophie asks Harry why he stole her mum's guitar, he responds: "No, I borrowed it. Look, DS – Donna Sheridan – and HB – Head Banger. I bought her this, it cost me £10 plus my Johnny Rotten t-shirt."

But at the end of the second movie, he's literally standing on the dock with the guitar strapped to his back... wearing his Johnny Rotten t-shirt. Donna doesn't arrive on the island with a guitar either so unless he managed to make it back to the island and give it to her, there's no way she could possibly have it?

Harry Mamma Mia Guitar
Picture: Universal Pictures

8) And let's not even get started on what the three guys are actually meant to look like.

WHERE? IS? SAM'S? MOUSTACHE? In all fairness, when they decided to add that throw away gag to the first movie, they didn't realise they were going to make a sequel ten years later focusing on the younger versions of those men. We'll let this one slide...

9) Donna says her mother is dead and YET...

One of the biggest continuity errors between Mamma Mia and Mamma Mia 2 is the status of Donna's mother. In the first film, just after performing at Sophie's Bachelorette party, Donna says "someone up there has got it in for me, I bet it's my mother..." implying that her mother is actually dead.

But as we all know, Donna's mother is not dead. She is alive. And she is Cher.


10) Tanya and Rosie had no idea who the other guys were in the first film, despite apparently already meeting them back in the day.

As Donna recounts the story of the three guys she slept with, Rosie and Tanya act like they have no idea that Donna slept with three men in quick succession, or who they actually are. But in Mamma Mia 2, they know about them; they are both introduced to Bill at the tavern and have a chance encounter with Sam on the island too. (To be fair, neither Tanya nor Rosie knew who Sam actually *was* when they saw him but still... THEY KNEW.)


11) If Amanda Seyfried’s boobs can tell when it’s raining… how come she didn’t see that storm happening?

Just kidding. (But also not really. She really should have forewarned her guests.)


Despite all of those head scratching inconsistencies, the movie still remains iconic. The laws of time, space and existence do not matter on the magical island of Kalokairi - and thank GOD. Otherwise we would not have been blessed with Cher's presence.

Did you manage to spot any other mistakes or plot holes on your travels? Let us know!