Sunday, December 31, 2017

ABBA: When All Is Said And Done Drama-Documentary - A very negative review

You guys knew that I'd eventually get my hands on this documentary, didn't you.  As someone who's very against tribute bands and how they always mess things up and get things wrong, let me tell you, after watching this documentary, tribute bands seem like the most amazing thing ever, aka, the documentary was that bad.  As soon as the documentary was released, I'd seen so many reviews saying that it was totally not worth it and it was so horrible.  To be honest, I think this documentary would make people hate ABBA more than try to tell a nice story about Agnetha and Frida which it absolutely failed at telling.  This documentary was horrid and absolutely disgusting and if I had to rate it, I would give it the worst rating ever.   And today, I am going to share with you my thoughts on this horrible documentary and show you all how horrible it is so that you don't have to watch it.
This is the first thing that the documentary shows.  I think "contains some elements of fictional dramatization" is an understatement!
As pointed out by other people, the fact that they did not use ABBA's logo shows that this is not an official production.  (Also many thanks to Nina Ríos for uploading all of this to youtube!)
I was only two minutes into the documentary and already I hated it.  The acting from the people playing ABBA were horrible, and after seeing these four individuals as Bjorn, Benny, Frida, and Agnetha, I feel like taking back everything I said about the Ted Gardestad movie because the actors in that look just like ABBA compared to these actors.

Let me introduce you to
Fake bjorn, the lyricist (he's not a guitarist)

fake frida

fake benny, the songwriter (he doesn't play piano)

and fake agnetha
and also fake stig

also starring fake old frida

and fake old agnetha
 Whoever picked out these actors must not have known what ABBA looked like or was drunk or something when they picked these actors.  It's hilarious that they just slapped wigs on them and were like, "there you go, now you look just like ABBA!"  Also the fake Swedish accents...  Man, why is it that they always have to have these stupid fake Swedish accents?

One of the things that this documentary seems to want to say is that ABBA destroyed Agnetha and Frida's lives.  The narrator says things like "Two women made ABBA one of the biggest bands of all time, but did ABBA destroy them?" and "Living very separate lives, Agnetha and Frida's fates were still intertwined.  ABBA still haunted them."  It makes it seem that Agnetha and Frida are both very depressed people because of this, have no enjoyment in their lives, and gained no enjoyment from ABBA and the band.  It's almost like ABBA shouldn't have existed in the first place if it was really that painful (which I highly doubt!)

Also, of all the pictures that they have to use to introduce the band ABBA, they just have to use that one picture which involves tin foil.  You know, that picture?  Of all the pictures, why do they have to use that one?  I'd think they'd want to use one of ABBA's most well known pictures, like the ones of them in the cat dresses.  But nope.  It had to be that one picture that a lot of us dread.

Also, whoever created this documentary got a lot of facts wrong.  While watching this, I couldn't help
but notice that there were so many things that were messed up.  Firstly, the 1977 tour was not the first ABBA tour.  ABBA toured around Europe in late 1974, early 75.  Maybe because they weren't super famous at the time the documentary decided to eliminate the 74/75 tour from existence.  Also, the 1977 tour did not start in Australia.  there was a European leg of the tour before hand.  The fans weren't as "crazy" as they were in Australia, but it was still important. 

Before I continue on with the messed up facts, I have to talk about these horrendous, absolutely 100% inaccurate costumes.  I would say I am quite an expert when it comes to their costumes as I've been working on remaking them all for my dolls, and these are not ABBA's costumes.

The only costumes that looks the slightest bit like their actual costume is Frida's and that looks pretty horrible.  I don't think Agnetha would be caught dead in that costume.  I'm just...  there are no words that candescribe how horrible these costumes are.  Now this is what ABBA's costumes looked like.

 The back of Agnetha's real outfit is certainly not that low and the collar on the fake outfit....  what is that collar?  Is it even a collar?

According to the documentary, Agnetha was heavily pregnant when filming the additional scenes for ABBA the Movie in Stockholm.  If you consider 3-4 months pregnant "heavily pregnant", than okay, but I'm fairly certain that it's early in the pregnancy.

Also according to the documentary, the Chiquitita music video was filmed on a set.  A set complete with fake wind and everything it seems. 

And yet according to Raffem, it says "The single 'Chiquitita' was not promoted by any new video as it was released in January. Two videos were made in February in Leysin / Switzerland where ABBA were filming the BBC-special "ABBA in Switzerland".  The first video was filmed in the mountains outside Leysin and the second one in the hotel lobby. Very cheap productions with ABBA sitting in the same position during the whole song and miming."
Like what I said about the Ted Gardestad movie, they seem to not know which hairstyles correspond to which year.
Fake Frida's hair in 1979:

Frida's actual hair in 1979:

Fake Agnetha's hair in 1981:

Agnetha's actual hair in 1981:

Fake Frida's hair in 1978:
Frida's actual hair in 1978:

Also I find it funny that Bjorn and Benny's appearances do not change at all throughout the documentary, despite the fact that Bjorn grew in a beard in 81 and hasn't shaved it since.
Fake B&B in 1981.  Please tell me that guy in the center is not supposed to be Michael B. Tretow!!
Frida performing in Boston
Also apparently, according to the documentary, ABBA never performed in Boston because Agnetha got sick and was traumatized from the flight.  ABBA did in fact perform in Boston, though Agnetha was sick, and they only canceled the Washington DC show.  Just saying.  And also, nobody could be so heartless about Agnetha being traumatized from being in a crazy plane flight.  Honestly, I hardly doubt Stig was that nasty to her, yelling at her about the money and not caring about her health.  It's all exaggerated.  And apparently Bjorn and Benny really don't care about her because they didn't even come to check on her.

I notice that this documentary tries very hard to show Agnetha and Frida as perfect people who are misunderstood (and very depressed) and always try to make Bjorn and Benny out as the bad guys.  Like, they show Bjorn as very loveless, that he has no love for Agnetha or the children, only cares about the band, and is nasty towards Agnetha because of her anxiety.  I really doubt that as well.  I think Bjorn was probably a very supportive husband, and he missed the children a lot as well while on tour, and though he did care about the band, he was a husband and father and would never disregard his family.  They also put too much focus on Agnetha, as if she is the main person of ABBA, and Frida, Benny, and Bjorn are not important to the band.  It seems ABBA stands for only Agnetha in this documentary.

Also attending the ABBA the Movie premier was the worst thing ever for ABBA and Agnetha hated every bit of it.  That part was definitely over dramatized, especially with Frida, who they were going on about having issues with her own children and missing them, showing no sympathy for Agnetha who has just given birth 2 weeks prior.  Seriously?

If they tried to get actors who looked like ABBA, could they have at least gotten an actor who looked like Linda as well?  They just chose a random blonde girl who really does not resemble Linda one bit.  Wrong hair color.  Also Peter never shows up at all in the documentary, and in the scene where Agnetha leaves the house, she only takes Linda with her and Peter is never to be seen...

In the part talking about Frida and Benny's split, they just suddenly out of the blue mention that Bjorn wrote a breakup song about Benny and Frida just like he did with Agnetha and Bjorn's split, except that they never mentioned "The Winner Takes It All" at all.  It just talks about "When All Is Said And Done."

 Plus in the scene where they show ABBA recording their new song "The Visitors" and Frida comes in with her completely new haircut, the narrator mentions how Bjorn and Benny were too busy writing a musical when that only happened a year later in 82, not 81.  And then Fake Agnetha said, "Oh it's about the cold war.  How cheery.  What ever happened to Dancing Queen?"  They act as if Dancing Queen is the only upbeat popular song that they know of and completely disregard other popular, happy songs. Like, there's "Honey, Honey", "Take A Chance On Me", and "So Long" just to name a few... 

And then after ABBA broke up, we then get very little information about Agnetha and Frida's solo careers with their amazing albums, as if they don't matter.  it's hilarious.  At least they mentioned Agnetha's solo albums and acknowledged the existence of her solo career post-ABBA, unlike that special about Agnetha in 2013.  And I'm surprised no one mentions Agnetha's marriage to Thomas Sonnenfield.  I know it was a short relationship, they mentioned everything else.

I feel like with the whole stalker thing was over exaggerated quite a bit, to make it seem like more than it actually was.  It's a very sad situation and weird event that happened to Agnetha and it's horrible, but I feel like they're taking the worst event that could possibly happen and using it just to make the drama more entertaining and that's wrong. 

And then in the end, Agnetha and Frida reunite for the first time in forever having never seen each other in so long (which I don't believe.) 

In conclusion, I am appalled by this documentary and I wish it was never even made.  I feel like they took a lot of the interviews out of context and I can tell that Carl Magnus Palm was trying to make the story as realistic as possible, though that kind of failed.  They tried to make the documentary about both Agnetha and Frida and their "horrible" lives with ABBA, but ended up making the whole focus on Angetha.  The dramatization was absolutely terrible.   The acting stank, the kids who played Frida's kids were not trying at all to have fake Swedish accents, and the documentary made Bjorn and Benny seem like the bad guys in all of this.  If you think about it, Benny too left his children behind and went through a similar situation like Frida and her kids, so why is no one making a big fuss over that?  Why is Benny still seen as the bad guy?

Also the documentary kept on talking about how ABBA only got together at the Mamma Mia movie premiere in 2008 and completely disregarded the Mamma Mia musical premiere in 2000 or 2001 where all 4 members were there, and also the Tivedshambo performance for Stig in 1986.  And the members have attended numerous private parties in the 80s and 90s, including Gorel Hanser's 50th birthday party. 

If the documentary is always talking about Agnetha being a private person, why on earth did they make this documentary in the first place?   I do not think Agnetha and Frida appreciate this documentary being published at all as it adds so much negativity to their story and makes it seem that ABBA was a horrible thing that should never have happened.

Though the documentary was a little gripping I will admit, I am so displeased with it and think that it destroys the beauty of ABBA and their music and the amazing things that they have given to this world.  It's sick how they twist everything to try and make it entertaining and dramtic.  I'm very relieved that they didn't say anything about Bjorn and Benny's wives Lena and Mona because that would be disgusting. 

So, would I recommend this documentary to anyone else to watch?  No, because you'd just be wasting your brain cells. So that is my very negative and angry review of ABBA: When All Is Said And Done, the Drama-Documentary. 


  1. I totally agree. Although I found it initially watchable due to the various clips of ABBA themselves interspersed with the fictionalised scenarios, I still deemed it a very misleading and over-dramatised affair.


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