The Sapphires (DVD)

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The Sapphires (DVD)

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Review of "The Sapphires (DVD)"

published 10/09/2017 | catsholiday
Member since : 03/03/2003
Reviews : 1948
Members who trust : 410
About me :
We were travelling but now back so normal service resumed.Thank you anyone who is kind enough to read then rate my reviews, especially those Es.
Pro Great music, feel good story, great unknown actors
Cons Did slightly gloss over some historical issues of the time
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"The Sapphires - true blue Australians"

The Sapphires (DVD)

The Sapphires (DVD)


My daughter gave me this dvd a few years ago for my birthday and we re watched it the other day after my step daughter finally returned it to me having borrowed it shortly after we first watched it. I now have lost it again as I have lent it to the other step daughter so have probably seen the last of it!My daughter was born in Australia and like me still feels a draw to all things Australian especially films.

This film is loosely based on a true story of four Aboriginal girls who form a band in the 1960s and their manager who takes the girls to perform for troops fighting in the Vietnam War in 1968.

~#~*~#~*~#~*~ FACTS ABOUT THE FILM ~#~*~#~*~#~*~

GENRE: Biography, Comedy , Drama


LENGTH: 1Hr 43 min


DIRECTOR: Wayne Blair

WRITERS: Keith Thompson and Tony Briggs. Adapated from the play by Tony Briggs

STARRING: Chris O'Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy

Chris O'Dowd …..... Dave Lovelace
Miranda Tapsell …..... Cynthia
Deborah Mailman ….... Gail
Jessica Mauboy ….... Julie
Shari Sebbens ….... Kay

TAGLINES : “It's what's in the groove that counts.”
“Follow your heart. Discover your soul.”
“One ambitious manager. Four unknown singers. The tour that put them on the
charts wasn't even on a map.”

#~*~#~*~#~*~ THE STORY #~*~#~*~#~*~

The film is loosely based on a true story about girls, three sisters from a Cummeragunja Reserve up in Northern Australia and the fourth their cousin from Melbourne who were spotted by An Irish entertainer, Dave Lovelace.

Lovelace at the time was working as an MC at a small local pub when he sees a trio of Aboriginal girls singing country tunes in a pub competition. Aboriginals at the time wre very much second class citizens and they didn't win the competition but Dave sees they are very talented and persuades them enter a competition for bands to entertain Aussie troops in Vietnam. He also persuades them to sing soul music and take him on as their manager.

Things don't always go to plan and their are battles along the way as the girls and Dave lock horns . They are also thrown into a war zone and have to entertain US and Aussie troops who are desperate for entertainment and women .

The Sapphires were billed as the Australian Supremes and sang soul songs as that was what Dave knew about and what Black women were expected to sing at the time!
Dave explains :
“Country and western music is about loss. Soul music is also about loss. But the difference is in country and western music they've lost, they've given up, they're just at home whining about it. In soul music they're struggling to get it back and they haven't given up. Every note that passes through your lips should have the tone of a woman who's grasping and fighting and desperate to retrieve what's been taken from her.”

The film starts with titles explaining about the situation Aboriginal people in the 1960s and the fact they they had only very recently been given the right to vote in 1968. Australia is still largely a racist society and Aboriginals very much second class citizens.

The film ends with pictures of each of the ladies as they are now and a short piece about what they have done with their lives since The Sapphires.

#~*~#~*~#~*~ MY VIEWS #~*~#~*~#~*~

The film was filmed on locations in New South Wales and also in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam sp pretty authentic locations on the whole and the Australian scenery and pubs used were pretty much tru to my experience of Australia when I lived there in the 70s and 80s.

This is billed as a musical comedy and while it is treated ina light hearted way and there are amusing moments the story is a serous one as well as it does bring to light the appalling way Aboriginals were treated, it does show some of the horror of the Vietnam war but doesn't focus on this as other films about the war have done. We see it and understand that the girls were probably in some danger as they were flown in and around Vietnam but the film focuses on them, their music and their relationship with each other and Dave.

The girls have individual challenges as well as those of being aboriginal women at the time. They are all different and have different hopes and dreams. One is a single mother, another is racked with guilt over the past and her mixed race , one dreams and pushes for of bigger stardom, and one who is just excited at seeing a bit more of the world. They are however feisty strong characters determined not to be pushed down just because they are Aboriginals. We see this from their very first performance in the local pub when before singing they point out to the local audience that “Just so’s you know, you’re all standing on blackfella country!”

The music is great it fills the film with fun and great music. Much is performed by Jessica Mauboy alone other with the other girls while yet more music is performed by the original artists such as Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sam & Dave,and The Emotions. The music was what the girls sang and of the time they were performing. It is uplifting and the kind of music you have to get up and dance to or at least tap your feet along with . The music is performed within the film as opposed to the characters singing their dialogue as some musicals do which I find a bit false really.

What I liked about this film and the way it told the story was that it did focus of the story of these four Aboriginal girls who with the help of their, at times inept, manager Dave, manage to overcome the racist attitude at the time in Australia. We are made aware of the Vietnam War and the fact they were in a War zone but that was not emphasized nor was the racism as that was not their story. The war and racism aspects were not ladled on but we were made aware so that film could concentrate on their story which was a success story. We could enjoy the music, laugh at Dave and some of his foibles and learn more about th girls and their personal struggles to succeed.

The four girls are all genuine Aboriginal girls and they are all talented actresses and singers and were all believable in their roles. The one who really stood out for me was Jessica Mauboy who was the main singer n most of the songs, she had a very strong voice and sang and acted brilliantly.

Chris O Dowd also played his role perfectly and the chemistry between Chris O'Dowd and Deborah Mailman was excellent. The element of romance edged with Gail's (Mailman) determination to do good for her and the girls as she feels she is the eldest and needs to look after the others.

The fact that they included authentic black and white actuality footage of performances and events at the time as this added to the authenticity of the story, the drama. It was interesting to see how far cinema has come too as the difference in quality between the new footage and the old was significant.

As I mentioned this is loosely based on the real Sapphires but they only had three members Apparently when they were invited to entertain the troops in Vietnam, two of them refused as they were anti the war so the last Sapphire asked her sister to come with her to help her out.

Most of the cast are pretty much unknown prior to being in this film. Chris O'Dowd is the exception. Jessica Mauboys was the best known apart from O'Dowd but for her singing rather than acting. Yet despite this everyone plays their role well and there are no weak performers in my view from the youngsters through to the main performers.

The film is a real celebration of hope and strength. The music fills the story and lifts the spirit and the film feels like it has been a work from the heart and one that wants to tell the story of four young ordinary girls and a man with a drink problem who had so far not been a success and together they make something great.

The film was made on a small budget of around $10,000,000 as are many Australian films and yet for me it ticked all the boxes for a successful film. It more than made that back in the opening week end alone.

#~*~#~*~#~*~ INTERESTING TRIVIA #~*~#~*~#~*~

When the film was shown at Cannes Film festival in 2012 on its premier showing it received a ten minute standing ovation.

The co-writer and associate producer of the film, Tony Briggs is the son of Laurel Robinson. Laurel Robinson was a member of the real-life The Sapphires group.

The song that we hear the young girls singing as children in the film is a gospel hymn about Moses that has been translated into the Yorta Yorta language one of the many Aboriginal languages spoken by Aboriginals in Australia.

The women who inspired this story are sisters Laurel Robinson and Lois Peeler and their cousins Beverley Briggs and Naomi Mayers. They have been active community leaders, working to improve health and education for Aboriginal people.

They still sing daily but their audience these days consists of their family and between them they have 7 children, 10 grand children and 4 great grand children.

#~*~#~*~#~*~ AWARDS AND RATINGS #~*~#~*~#~*~

The film won no Acadamy awards nor was it nominated for any.

It did however receive positive feedback and ratings from around the world and in Australia it did very well from the Australian Directors Guild in 2013 where it won
Best Adapted Screenplay , Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Direction, Best Editing, Best Film, Best Lead Actor,Best Lead Actress, Best Production Design, Best Sound, Best Supporting Actress and was nominated for Best Visual Effects

Cannes Film Festival in 2012 : nominated for Golden Camera

Evening Standard British Film Awards 2013: Nominated for the Peter Sellers Award for Comedy

Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards 2013: Nominated for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Best Director, Best Editing, Best Film and Best Screenplay while it won Best Cinematography,and Best Music Score.

Palm Springs International Film Festival 2013 : It won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature and the Directors to Watch.

In ratings gave it 7.0/10.0 with 10,564votes – 91% critic’s approval – 67% critic’s approval

#~*~#~*~#~*~ WHAT THE CRITICS SAID #~*~#~*~#~*~

“There are undeniable flaws, from cheesy dialogue to neglected subplots. But there’s something so lovable about The Sapphires’ enthusiasm, and powerful about its moments of tenderness.”

The Guardian :
“It's an amiable film with some great musical moments and the classic "growing success" montage showing them on the road in south-east Asia. On music, identity and race, the film has a big beating heart in the right place.“

Total Film
“A feelgooder spiced by social conscience, this is one of those underdog productions with potential to punch well above its weight.”

Time Out London :

“With rising star O’Dowd in command of both the comic timing and emotional grace notes and beautifully playing off Deborah Mailman as the group’s alpha female, the movie is gutsy and entertaining enough to have us forgiving its occasional credibility glitches and obviously CGI-ed battlefront visuals. Shoring everything up, though, is a determined linking of Aboriginal and African-American civil rights causes, leading to a spectacular finale which re jigs showbiz-chronicle formula to startling and emotive purpose. A gem.”

#~*~#~*~#~*~ RECOMMENDED? #~*~#~*~#~*~

Yes I would indeed. This is not a heavy handed preaching film but it doesn't gloss over the Aboriginal racism issue either. This is a fun, feel good sort of film that you enjoy watching while it is on and even after it is over you think about these young girls who made a success of their lives at a time when for an Aboriginal woman this was unlikely.

I think it is a nice touch that the story is told by the son of one of the original Sapphires as he will have known what it was really like for his mother and I think that came out in the telling of the story.

I do enjoy seeing a film that has a nice positive feel to it and this had great music, a good story and great acting from some pretty unknown actors.

I didn't watch any extras so don't know if there were any on the dvd and now I have lost it again so I have reviewed this as a film only.

Thanks for reading

10th September 2017

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Comments on this review

  • Classicc published 12/09/2017
    Really great review but I'm all out of E's!
  • euphie published 12/09/2017
    e :o)
  • CelticSoulSister published 12/09/2017
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Product Information : The Sapphires (DVD)

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Product Details

Sub Sub Genre: Soul

DVD Region: DVD

Production Year: 2012

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Actor(s) (Last name, First name): Chris O'Dowd

Title: T

Director(s) (Last name, First name): Wayne Blair

EAN: 5030305516819


Listed on Ciao since: 25/02/2014