My corner of the oval

… thoughts from a Kiwi cricket fan

Film Review: The Sapphires

on October 1, 2012

So last night, I had the privilege of seeing an advance screening of the film, “The Sapphires.”

Taken from the Hopscotch Films website (

The Sapphires is an inspirational tale set in the heady days of the late ‘60s about a quartet of young, talented singers from a remote Aboriginal mission, discovered and guided by a kind-hearted, soul-loving manager. Plucked from obscurity, the four spirited women with powerhouse voices – called The Sapphires – are given the opportunity to entertain American troops in Vietnam. Catapulted onto the world stage as Australia’s answer to the Supremes, their journey of discovery offers them not only the chance to show off their musical skills, but find love and togetherness, experience loss and grow as women.
The Sapphires is an adaptation of the hugely successful Australian stage musical of the same name, and is inspired by the remarkable true story of writer Tony Briggs’ mother and three aunts. The four Sapphires are joyfully played by AFI Award winner Deborah Mailman, Australian pop sensation Jessica Mauboy and newcomers Miranda Tapsell and Shari Sebbens. Bridesmaids actor Chris O’Dowd delivers a tour de force comic performance as their manager, that is at once incredibly funny, likeable and genuine.
Receving a ten minute standing ovation at the prestgious Cannes Film Festival, The Sapphires is a crowd-pleasing combination of comedy, heart and romance and an unbeatable soul music soundtrack, set against the racial and social upheaval of the late 1960s. A jewel-bright charmer and an Australian classic, The Sapphires is not to be missed.

The Sapphires as depicted in the 2012 film

I didn’t actually know anything about the story of the film before stepping into the cinema, so wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I found myself intrigued, entertained and amused the whole way through the 104 minutes of the film!

It did feel, at times, that this was just an elaborate promotion for Jessica Mauboy, Australian singer/songwriter who was runner up to in the Australian Idol competition in 2006 (, but I guess all films have to have a lead actor or character, and her voice throughout the soundtrack was well utilised and sounded so stunning, that it just added to the whole visual and optical experience!

I felt the producers did a fantastic job in creating each of the main characters’ stories and, well, characters, and Deborah Mailman, Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell and Chris O’Dowd carried their individual and the group’s stories brilliantly throughout.

All in all, a very believable and “real” adaptation of true life events, right down to the military action and reactions!

The original sisters and cousins of The Sapphires

Oh, but I should add, if you’re not really a “musical” lover, this probably won’t be to your taste 😉 as the film is, essentially, a musical, with an amazing soundtrack of Soul songs from that era.  Songs such as “I heard it through the Grapevine,” “What a Man” and “Land of a thousand dances,” sung and recorded by Jessica and the vocalists that just made me want to get out of my theatre seat and dance!

And as the CD sleeve states (in my free soundtrack album given to me by – thanks so much for that!) …

Inspired by a true story, The Sapphires is a triumphant celebration of youth, courage, love, family and Soul music.


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