Wednesday, July 02, 2014

film find: the sapphires

The Sapphires is a fun, music-filled, (sorta) based on a real story movie that is definitely worth a look. Set in 1968, Chris O'Dowd stars as alcoholic Irish talent scout Dave Lovelace, who, while touring Australia and looking for new acts, runs across a talented group of girl singers and sisters (Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, and Miranda Tapsell). Dave believes the girls have loads of potential — if they are willing to stop singing country and folk music, and let him style them with his favorite brand of music — soul music. Joined by their estranged sister Kay (Shari Sebbens) and renamed The Sapphires, the girl group is quickly hustled on tour — to Vietnam, to entertain the troops.

Dave tries to teach a group of girls how to become a girl group
Australian Geographic tells us where they are now: The Sapphires today.

While the film may vary more than slightly from the real-life circumstances of The Sapphires, it features some strong performances and great music. The girls' struggles, as indigenous aboriginal Australians, gives viewers a look at a culture and a time they might not have thought about previously. Especially moving and horrifying is Kay's backstory, which highlights how lighter-skinned aboriginal children were separated by the Australian government from their families and raised "white."

O'Dowd is very good as the girls' irresponsible but well-meaning mentor. He provides not only comic relief, but also a romantic subplot as well. The Sapphires is a nice little film that may follow a typical rise-and-fall-of-a-musical-band movie plot trajectory, but adds both some local color and history that make it a real film find.


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