Sing along with the '60s and 'Sapphires'

Sing along with the '60s and 'Sapphires'

Steve Salles, Standard-Examiner movie critic - April 19th, 2013
3.5 stars

“The Sapphires” is one of those heartwarming, toe-tapping tales of joy that comes around once in a great while. It certainly has its flaws and contrivances, but you just won’t care because you’ll be having such a great time with the people and their soulful soundtrack.

First of all, without Chris O’Dowd, the heart-of-gold cop from “Bridesmaids,” this movie wouldn’t be half as good. He plays a down-on-his-luck Irish musician, Dave Lovelace, who is roaming the outback of Australia in the late 1960s, playing for table scraps and drinks and emceeing an occasionally awful local talent show.

It’s here in the middle of nowhere that he discovers four talented Aboriginal singers — Gail, Julie, Cynthia and Kay — doing a country song quite well. Even though he’s not a big fan of country music, he knows they’re very good.

This is during the Vietnam War, and the U.S. Army is looking for acts to entertain the troops. So, Lovelace puts the group together singing soul music, they call themselves The Sapphires and they eventually get the gig.

Now keep in mind, a war is going on and security will be tight to keep these young women safe, but they do find themselves in some dicey situations.

Fortunately, most of the film is kept fairly light, with the antics of the drunken Dave trying to control the sister act, while the oldest sister is constantly in his face, trying to get him to do his job better. But the real star of this movie is the music; most of it sung by the stunning and dynamic Jessica Mauboy.

Get ready to hear some old favorites like “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch),” “What a Man,” “Land of a Thousand Dances” and “I’ll Take You There,” all sung in a Supremes style.

Great film — loads of fun, humor and wonderful music — what more could you ask for?


  • THE FILM: 'The Sapphires'
  • STARRING: Chris O’Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell.
  • BEHIND THE SCENES: Directed by Wayne Blair in his feature-film debut; filmed in Australia and Vietnam.
  • PLAYING: Broadway Centre in Salt Lake City. Runs 1036 minutes.
  • MPAA RATING: PG-13 for sexuality, a scene of war violence, some language, thematic elements and smoking.

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