On DVD this week from director Wayne Blair, Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Company comes a story of love, war and the music in between with THE SAPPHIRES.
This film tells the story of Gail (Deborah Mailman), Julie (Jessica Mauboy), Kay (Shari Sebbens) and Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell), four Aboriginal girls in 1968 living in a mission. From an early age these girls sing together in beautiful harmony.
As they grow up Julie goes away and the girls are broken apart leaving emotional scars. The remaining girls perform when they can and on one occasion Gail and Kay go into town to perform at a talent contest for the prize money. There they meet Dave Lovelace (Chris O’Dowd), an R&B piano player who also is trying to make it with music.
Performing at the pub the crowd isn’t happy because the girls are Aboriginal but they are also good! Losing that contest put Dave into high gear getting the rather edgy girls together. He convinces them that they should sing professionally and he will happily manage them.
There first big gig? Vietnam! Looking for Julie the four girl’s start practicing and getting their act ready for the Far East. After convincing the family that this was the right thing to do they head out. It isn’t the experience they were hoping for as they learn more about each other, remembering where they came from as a family and what’s most important.
Because there will never be any group like The Sapphires.
FINAL WORD: I just love O’Dowd and this role proves even more so why that is. He may start out like a snake oil salesman but through out the film this character shows heart, and dare I even say love for these girls. He has a comedic timing that is endearing and it seems he does it with such ease.
Mauboy as Julie is strong willed and has no problem saying what she feels. When something is wrong her temper flairs and when something goes right, well, her temper flairs. The later is more so out of fear and protection for the other girls – and her own heart.
Mailman as Gail, Sebbens as Kay and Tapsell as Cynthia are three of the most perfect girls to play the characters that has such diverse personalities yet are exactly alike. Well, obviously they are ‘family’ in the film but this is more than that. Its this cast working together in such rare form that the films becomes such a joy and a lesson learned mixed with a heartwarming experience.
Other cast include: Tory Kittles as Robby, Eka Darville as Hendo, Lynette Narkle as Nanny Theresa, Kylie Belling as Geraldine, Gregory J. Fryer as Selwyn, Don Battee as Myron Ritchie, T.J. Power as Lt. Jensen, and Tammy Anderson as Eveyln.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE SAPPHIRES three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. There is such a deep story here worthy of telling. I do wish they had gone further into the history of the girls but there is enough here to definitely get the jest of it.
The characters deal with a history that is long and, in some cases, quite culturally brutal as well as the personal dynamics of a family. Watching the girls hang on to this precious dream is just amazing to me. Equally so is seeing what they had to do to even come close to it.
Adding the cherry on the cake is that this is a true story of these girls and the film includes where they are today and I absolutely love when that happens.
In the end – the tour that put them on the charts wasn’t even on the map!
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