19th September, 2012
The Sapphires (PG)
In A Word: Uplifting
I used Gold Class tickets I had been given to see The Sapphires, and we ended up with a cinema to ourselves. This can be a drawback with some movies, but in this case we were so caught up in the story and the singing that we didn’t notice where we were - except, of course, when the usher delivered food and drink!
THE SAPPHIRES: From left: Gail (Deborah Mailman), Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell), Julie (Jessica Mauboy) and Kay (Shari Sebbens).
The Sapphires is based on a true story set in 1968, and begins on an aboriginal mission in remote Australia. Three sisters - Gail (played by Deborah Mailman), Julie (Jessica Mauboy) and Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell) and their cousin Kay (Shari Sebbens) are discovered by Dave (Chris O'Dowd), a down-on-his-luck musician, who becomes their manager.
He changes their singing style from country and western to classic soul. As a result of this, they all end up in South Vietnam entertaining the American Marines on the Mekong Delta.
The story is told in a very direct manner. There are references to the treatment of Aboriginal people on the mission, and also references to the way the black soldiers were treated by some white soldiers. However it is all filmed as part of the story line and not pushed to make a point.
There is an ironic Australian flavour to this movie which I really enjoy, plenty of banter which keeps it light-hearted, and, of course, good music. The girls really can sing! Yes, there is some swearing, but to me it was not overdone.
The cast are excellent in their roles, particularly O’Dowd, and Mailman as the acting mother hen of the girls. There are different kinds of romantic involvement during the film, but they are secondary to the main story of The Sapphires. The Vietnam war scenes are believably chaotic, with brief glimpses of the trauma suffered by all involved without being over-dramatic.
I came out of the film with a smile on my face, feeling light-hearted, and with soul music echoing in my head. Well worth seeing.
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