Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Sapphires

Australia used to be renowned for really great heartwarming comedies, think Muriel's Wedding, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Strictly Ballroom. Then there has been a huge period of angst ridden drug addled movies, very dark, but some brilliant, think, Wish You Were Here, Animal Kingdom. Well, the Sapphires is somewhere in the middle. It's loosely based on the true story set in 1968 of three sisters and a cousin, Gail (Debra Mailman), Julie (Jessica Mauboy), Kay (Shari Sebbens) and Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell), who are semi discovered by a wayward young Irishman Dave (Chris O'Dowd). The girls are singing in an outback town talent show, dogged by racism, and their choice of music is Country and Western. Dave wants them to sing sweet soul music, and so they do...beautifully. They pass an audition to go to Saigon to perform for the groups, and go on the adventure of a lifetime. There is some love and pain along the way, one of the girls is estranged from her cousins as she was removed from them as part of the stolen generation when she was young, and as a result is confused about her roots. The oldest of the group, Gail is adamant that her cousin should pick a side, but this being a predominantly happy film, it all works out in the end. Firstly, the music is wonderful. One of the girls, Jessica Mauboy was a finalist in one of Australia's talent competitions and she is the absolute standout. Her voice is amazing and she exudes a real star quality. The character of Gail is played by Deborah Mailman who is a well known actress in Australia. She has a warmth and likeability which is lucky because her character is a right old fishwife. Dave falls for her, and all I could think of was, honey, if you think her militant controlling ways are bad now, just imagine what she'll be like in ten years, not a pretty sight. Chris O'Dowd, again is always endearing, again, that's lucky because he has little to redeem him, a thirty year old alcoholic loser with little to offer Gail other than his first wife. I'm also not really one for the whole pick a side culture thing. The truth is, I think that people are just people and there's no need to pick a side to identify with if you don't want to. I'm a look forward kind of girl, but it had important messages about tolerance that we can all learn from. The parts shot in Vietnam were good, as although they were mainly fun, they did touch on the horrors of war and gave a little feeling of how terrible it must have been over there. More of a dvd film I think, never the less, it's a bit different and a bit of fun. THE SAPPHIRES: Probably more like The Cubic Zirconias...5/10.

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