SYNOPSIS: Four smart, gutsy young women become unlikely stars in the most unlikely of places, with the most unlikely of allies, in THE SAPPHIRES. Set in 1968, the film follows Gail (Deborah Mailman), Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell), Julie (Jessica Mauboy) and Kay (Shari Sebbens) as they seize a risky, but irresistible, chance to launch a professional career singing for U.S. troops in Vietnam. Under the guidance of an R&B-loving Irish musician, Dave Lovelace (Chris O’Dowd), the girls transform themselves into a sizzling soul act and set out to make a name for themselves hundreds of miles from home. Inspired by a true story, THE SAPPHIRES is a celebration of music, family and self-discovery.


The Sapphiresis one shiny looking gem that unfortunately overlooked by many.

Based on a true story and re-imagined for the big screen, four aboriginal young girls, Gail (Deborah Mailman), Julie (Jessica Mauboy), Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell) and Kay (Shari Sebbens) under the management of an Irish musician, Dave Lovelace (Chris O’Dowd) forms a singing group to go to Vietnam to sing for the U.S. war troops. Set in a time where aboriginals are being ridiculed in their native land, the girls in the hope for a better future managed to find the true meaning of love and family amidst quarrels, fights and looming deadly attacks from the enemies.

This Australian-made movie is not afraid to face it’s unglamorous past. For these groups of people who first set foot on the country, they for a long time are not accepted by the whites while the paler blacks are kidnapped by the government to turn them into whites. The story of The Sapphires cleverly set this as a backdrop for the aboriginal girls reminding audience of this sad tragic fact and the same time, promptly lead us to how talented the sisters and their cousin are in their vocals regardless of their colour.

The four relatively unknown main cast members brought to the table their A game, not a surprise considering Mailman hails from the original stage play while Mauboy is a runner-up in Australian Idol. The other two, newcomers Tapsell and Sebbens hardly falter at all and the four of them hit perfect notes in their coverage of old soul songs in absolute unison.

The off-stage antics covering Gail’s unhappiness with Kay (who has a rather special backstory), her unexpected romance with Dave and Cynthia’s on-and-off romance with a boy back home explore the dynamics and relationships between the various core people. Even if some of the issues come across as easily resolved and formulaic, director Wayne Blair and his writers, Keith Thompson and Tony Briggs has a way to convincingly tell a story with lots of heart and filled with incredibly fun.

Yet it’s Chris O’Dowd who stole the show with his goofy, endearing Dave Lovelace. The Apatow regular who appears in Bridesmaids and This is 40 finally has a leading role to shine on his own. Move over dreamgirls, make way for The Sapphires. 




The DVD visual transfer is detailed and natural-looking. Dialogue and the music segments come across as clear and vibrant except the war sequences are constrained by the provided 2.0 soundtrack.



Review by Linus Tee



Genre: Musical/Drama
Starring: Chris O'Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell, Lynette Narkle, Rhys Muldoon, Don Battee, Tory Kittles, Gregory J. Fryer
Director: Wayne Blair
Rating: PG13 (Brief Nudity)
Year Made: 2013




Languages: English
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 16x9 Fullframe
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0
Running Time: 1 hr 34 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: InnoForm Media