At times “The Sapphires” is a bit hokey, a bit predictable, and a bit manipulative, but it’s gotta whole lotta soul making it one of the more pleasant cinematic surprises all year.
There was literally a man in the audience clapping along with some of the music pieces in the film, and while that would normally bug the crap out of me, I couldn’t help but join, of course the clapping I did was in my head. But you get the point, here is a film that has the heart and soul of any Otis Redding or Temptations song and enough humor to make the Blues Brothers smile.
Telling a fast and loose story of the true events surrounding Aboriginal sisters who go from getting shafted in rural Australian talent shows to singing country western because of the color of their skin to later soul singing their way in front of thousands of U.S. troops as they travel around in the Vietnam War.
The three sisters, later accompanied by their lighter skinned cousin, team up with the whiskey swilling music manager Dave, very hilarious and at times wonderfully dramatically played by Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids). The sisters’ family fights and the racism of the time are nothing new, but the upbeat joy and very strong chemistry is undeniable. The film’s music and singing, led by Australian Idol champion Jessica Mauboy, is so delightful.
Tony Briggs and Keith Thompson’s script focuses so heavily in the film’s first half with levity, even with its race plagued troubles, that the when the sharp tonal curves from the Vietnam war shed its a bit too sharp. That still doesn’t stop you choking back the tears.
I was not successful choking back those tears, and I wish you good luck.
I was not successful choking back “this”, and I wish you good luck.