THE SAPPHIRES SPARKLE, GLITTER, SHINE!
I started smiling a third of the way into the film.
I kept smiling as I left the cinema.
And I am still smiling as I write this review.
The Sapphires is quite simply a triumph!
It’s that rare thing in filmmaking where the stars align to offer the perfect cast in an uplifting story, steered by a great director.
It is 1968 in outback Australia, three Aboriginal sisters together with their estranged “half-caste” city cousin, decide to follow their dreams to become singers.
After entering a talent quest held at the local country town pub – where Aboriginals are clearly not welcome, they fail to impress the hostile crowd. However they encounter Dave Lovelace ( a brilliant Chris O’Dowd – Bridesmaids ) an out of work musician who fills his days drinking and MCing dodgy talentless, talent shows.
The girls’ raw, undeniable gifts impress him so much that he agrees to manage and accompany them to Vietnam to play for the troops.
And so begins a transformational journey for all, that is engaging, emotional and toe-tapping enjoyable!
Celebrated actor Wayne Blair directs The Sapphires with a self assuredness that totally belies the fact that this is his directorial feature debut.
That he was involved in the original stage production way back in 2005 may have something to do with his storytelling ability and inherent understanding of the mood of the piece.
Often it is impossible to capture on film the magic of live performances but Blair and his team do so with gusto.
This film is very much about the music.
Every song seems to pop at just the right time, truly adding to the story rather than detracting from it.
The soul based soundtrack literally had me wanting to jump up and sing, which would have been incredibly painful for those around me. Smartly, I left it up to the incredible voice of Jessica Mauboy, who plays Julie the youngest of the troupe and the one with the best voice.
Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell and Deb Mailman complete the quartet and combined, their voices zing. Mailman is luminous in her role as Gail, the mother figure and eldest in the group. It is one of her finest performances.
But when I break it down and really try and work out why I enjoyed The Sapphires so much, it is simple…
Writer Tony Briggs – who wrote the original play to pay homage to his mother who was a real life Sapphire, together with co-writer Keith Thompson has given us a story that is so full of heart and courage.
I loved the characters and cared about their relationships and needs. It made me feel hopeful, light and really happy… and you know, at the end of the day, how good is that!
This film is this year’s Red Dog. Don’t miss it!
The Sapphires is in cinemas now.
We’ve also come across this super-duper (FREE!) app, Soul Sync, which makes it fun and easy for you sing along to your favourite songs from the film.
“Soul Sync is a world-first, lip-syncing app that syncs your mouth to the songs from hit movie “The Sapphires”, without having to sing a word.
“Anyone can sing like a Sapphire with Soul Sync.
“Star in your own music video featuring Chris O’Dowd and Jessica Mauboy.”
Get the app for FREE from the iTunes App Store.
MORE FROM LISA
*Lisa Hensley is a highly respected Australian actor who has played many roles in various feature films, TV shows and mini series. She is a regular on Richard Glover’s successful drive program on ABC radio. She began writing for magazines four years ago and is a regular contributor to Harpers Bazaar.