The Sapphires is a bright and cheerful Australian musical comedy based on a true story. An Aboriginal all girl group called The Sapphires head off to Vietnam to perform for the soldiers in 1968, accompanied by their somewhat unreliable manager Dave Lovelace (Chris O’Dowd).
Despite the premise and the artwork for the film screaming ‘cheesy’, The Sapphires is very funny and has something more to it than you’re average musical comedy. It avoids most of the glee-club cliche’s, and although it’s about a girl group it’s not your typical musical. They don’t just burst into song at inappropriate and unlikely moments, like when Julie Walters and Christine Baranski serenade a crying Meryl Streep in a public toilet stall in Mamma Mia.
There’s romance and lots of humour, the four leading ladies are as funny and witty as they are beautiful making for a brilliant uplifting girl-power comedy. It’s based on a true story, and exposes the racial difficulties faced by the women back in 1968.
A lot of the film is very glitz and glam but ultimately it remains very real. They sing for soldiers out in Vietnam, including in the hospital wing, so although it is above all else an uplifting and cheerful film it keeps it real and doesn’t try to sugarcoat what the war was like too much.
Chris O’Dowd is hilarious as Lovelace, and his chemistry with leading lady Gail (Deborah Mailman) is both romantic and hilarious.
While entirely predictable in story, The Sapphires is a well executed film. The cinematography is great and some of the locations are stunning. The sets and costumes are very well constructed giving it an authentic 60’s feel (I assume…I wasn’t actually alive in the 60’s!)
It’s an uplifting feel good film with some good music and romance. It’s very funny, a lot funnier than I thought it would be, and Chris O’Dowd adds some witty humour to what could otherwise be really corny, for want of a better word! It’s well worth checking out, and it isn’t just a film for the girls either!