The Sapphires (2013) ****

The Sapphires is a musical/comedy adaptation about a group of aboriginal women with the dream to sing. Unfortunately, they are living in Australia during the Vietnam War and are facing racism and oppression at every turn. While their voices may stun and impress, they have no one willing to give them a shot. That is, until the hilarious Chris O’Dowd steps into the picture!

O’Dowd plays Dave Lovelace, a talent scout who’s stuck in Australia looking for talented performers at local gigs. One day, Gail (Deborah Mailman), Julie (Jessica Mauboy) and Cynthia McCrae ( Miranda Tapsell) really impress Dave with their outstanding voices and by a crazy turn of events, they decide they want to go sing for the troops in Vietnam. I mean, a gig’s a gig, right?

Before they leave, the girls want to recruit their cousin Kay McCrae (Shari Sebbens), whom they haven’t seen since she was taken away as a young girl and raised “white”. This little detail will outline some major differences between the members, as well as give the Sapphires an obstacle to overcome. The racist undertones and the ongoing war present an interesting film that manages to shine, just like its name implies.

The best thing this film has going for it is O’Dowd and the wonderful music and interactions that the girls offer. At its core, this film is a feel-good movie that does its job really well. It’s a lot of fun to watch and will provide you with a lot of great laughs. The drama side to this film is weaker, when compared to the comedy and music, but it still outlines a very important time in history. This film stumbles a few times, but it offers enough to make those stumbles forgettable. If you’re in the mood to watch a very entertaining movie, The Sapphires is for you! Need some more info to decide? Well, keep on reading for my Top Ten Thoughts on The Sapphires!

 

A look at the original Sapphires, compared to the new ones.
A look at the original Sapphires compared with their movie counterparts.

What I Enjoyed

What I Didn’t Enjoy

The music and singing in this film is beautiful.

The music, from time-to-time, can get a bit obnoxious.

The racist tones in this film are handled well and make for a more real film.

Most of the film relies on the performances to keep you interested. Most do, but a few are lackluster.

Chris O’Dowd completely steals the show. His wit and personality make him incredibly enjoyable.

The story, while compelling at first, dies down in the latter half of the film.

Each of the girls unique styles are displayed well in this film.

I thought they could have handled the Vietnam War itself a little bit better. It’s not as huge a factor in the film as one may think.

There is a lot of realism to this film, whether it’s coming from the characters or the war going on.

The editing in this film is very much designed to provoke emotions from you. It gets old very quickly.

The interactions between the girls are priceless. They can be anywhere from funny to dramatic in a heartbeat.

I get that the film revolves are The Sapphires and their performances, but the film would have benefited more from some more, well-written dialog.

The lengths these girls were willing to go in order to do what they love are incredible!

A lot of the films more serious moments seem forced and seemingly appear out of nowhere.

The feel-good theme that this movie emanates will really make you feel good!

While the soldiers enjoy the music at the time, we never get a grander scale of the effect that these women had at the time.

The many styles of music featured in the film are introduced in great ways!

Shari Sebbens seems to be the most disconnected in this film. She’s easily the weakest and most uninteresting link in the bunch.

This movie is very enjoyable and O’Dowd and his Sapphires will leave you feeling happy inside!

As enjoyable as this film is, it is somewhat forgetful. Other than O’Dowd’s great performance and some great music, the film doesn’t really stick with you.

Overall:

The Sapphires proves to be one of the most enjoyable movies I’ve seen in 2013, mostly due to a great performance by Chris O’Dowd. The music will move you and the films racial conflicts are more than enough to get you emotionally invested in this film. As fun as this film is, it’s one that is that is just that. Fun. I wasn’t left with some profound feeling of change due to the films message. In the moment it’s a great film, but that moment won’t stay around long enough to fully remember this film.

The Sapphires Trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2Ty4r6mvgg

4 STARS!!!

 

 

4 / 5 stars     

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