Sapphires, The
PG-13
Entertainment: +4
Acceptability: -2

Chris O’Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy. Bio/comedy/drama from Australia. Written by Tony Briggs, Keith Thompson. Directed by Wayne Blair.

FILM SYNOPSIS: It's 1968, and four young, talented, Australian Aboriginal girls learn about love, friendship and war when their all-girl group, The Sapphires, entertain the U.S. troops in Vietnam.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I suppose if we critics got really, really picky, we could find and bring up flaws in the production such as some material seeming a bit too lightweight, with each problem quickly resolved (oops), but here’s what resonated with me throughout the screening – it made me feel and it made me feel good. I absolutely loved the performances, the dialogue, the story and most all, the music.

None of the Sapphires have a traditional Hollywood glamour. Most movies about girl groups consist of model-like women, flawless in appearance, as if only gorgeous music can only come from beautiful people. (I cringe at the thought of how difficult it would be for Ella Fitzgerald in this era. She was the greatest pop singer ever, but her voice was perhaps lovelier than her physique.) These ladies aren’t Beyoncé or Mariah Carey in outward appearance but oh my, can they sing.

They look like “real” people, which helps with the story as they don’t rely on outward looks to sell it. They convey emotion in song and body language through their voices and their eyes. Indeed, they use their eyes like Britney uses her hips.

The music deserves note. Basically it consists of Motown’s soulful songbook, but other genres are also voiced, everything from country western to gospel. The music makes you feel good. Isn’t that what music is supposed to do? The story and performances touch our emotions. The laughs are generously served, but I would also suggest bringing hankies, for this is a film that, as I said, makes you feel. And isn’t that what a movie is supposed to do?

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Goalpost Pictures

Summary
Crude Language: A couple of fairly crude sexual comments.
Obscene Language: The s-word is uttered six or so times, with a distinctive Australian accent; there are a few other minor expletives, but overall, I didn’t find the language dispiriting.
Profanity: One misuse of Christ’s name – you know how I feel about that.
Violence: In a fit of anger, two cousins hit one another; we see some war activity, with bombs going off in a militarized zone; some soldiers are killed in the skirmish; these action sequences taking place in Viet Nam are handled discreetly, giving us a flavor of battle, without becoming overly graphic. Very little blood.
Sexual Intercourse: Sex is discussed and there are a couple of sexual situations, but neither of these scenes becomes excessive or salacious.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: The male manager of the group drinks to excess and it is never made clear if he stops; we see soldiers getting drunk and there is a hint of drunk use by members of the military.
Other: Bigotry is exposed and rightly made to seem ridiculous.
Running Time: 103 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Up

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