17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Loads of Heart and Soul,
This review is from: The Sapphires [DVD] (DVD)
There were two or three times during this wonderfully enjoyable film when I had to stop myself jumping to my feet in the cinema and applauding at the end of a song. The music - and in particular the stunning singing of Jessica Mauboy as Julie - really is that good.
The Sapphires tells the story (based on true events) of four Aboriginal girls in late 1960's Australia who form a singing group under the guidance of Chris O'Dowd's reprobate management, and win the right to tour Vietnam entertaining the troops.
There is a lot going on here in a relatively short period of screen time. Music of course, social commentary, comedy, the rapid transformation of otherwise very ordinary lives, love, war and sex (and the four girls are very sexy in the way that real people are). It's a good-looking film, apart from a few clips of documentary footage of Vietnam which feel a little levered in, mixing glamour and realism in just the right quantities. And amongst the feel-good elements, the film sets out to make some serious points about race. On the whole, it succeeds. Some of the white characters - O'Dowd himself, and the manager of the pub where the girls' journey begins - may be rather one-dimensional on this point, but the film is generally very far from trite in dealing with themes of identity and prejudice. The scenes where Kay, a fair-skinned Aboriginal child, is forcibly removed from her family by government officials to be brought up as "white" is unexpected and powerful.
The amount of ground which The Sapphires attempts to cover leads, perhaps inevitably, to some weaknesses of plot and dialogue, and this means that it's not quite a five star effort. But it's highly enjoyable and thought-provoking, leaving you with plenty to savour and reflect upon. You can't ask much more than that of a film.
And I just loved the comment from O'Dowd's character which goes something like this:
"Country and western music is about loss. But all they do is give up, go home and whine about it. Soul music is also about loss, but the difference is that soul singers want to get back the things they've lost."