1968 was the year that changed the world. And for four young Aboriginal sisters from a remote mission this is the year that would change their lives forever. Around the globe, there was protest and revolution in the streets. Indigenous Australians finally secured the right to vote. There were drugs and the shock of a brutal assassination. And there was Vietnam. The sisters, Cynthia, Gail, Julie and Kay are discovered by Dave, a talent scout with a kind heart, very little rhythm but a great knowledge of soul music. Billed as Australia's answer to 'The Supremes', Dave secures the sisters their first true gig, and flies them to Vietnam to sing for the American troops. Based on a true story, THE SAPPHIRES is a triumphant celebration of youthful emotion, family and music. Written by
There really was an Australian girl group in the 60s called The Sapphires but they only had three members not four. When they were invited to tour for the troops in Vietnam, two of the group declined due to their anti-war stance, so the remaining Sapphire drafted in her sister to help her out. See more »
Throughout the movie the girls are seen performing on Shure SM58 Microphones which were released in 1966. This is chronologically correct as the movie is set in 1968. However when they are performing to the 19th Infantry Division in Nha Trang, the microphones being used are Shure Beta 58 Mic's which weren't released until 1989. See more »
Before we go than, girls when I met you you were doing all country and western thing and that's fine we all make mistakes. But here is what we learn from that mistake. Country and western music is about loss. Soul music is also about loss. But the difference is in country and western music, they've lost, they've given up and they are just all wining about it. In soul music they are struggling to get it back, they haven't given up.
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Preceding the end credits is this tribute:
The women who inspired this story are sisters Laurel Robinson and Lois Peeler and their cousins Beverley Briggs and Naomi Mayers.
For over 40 years they have been active community leaders, working tirelessly to improve health and education for Aboriginal people.
Between them, they have 7 children, 10 grand children and 4 great grand children...
First and foremost, it's important to say that this is a drama, and the comedy and music are secondary. An enormous relief, in a film that needed to tell a story, and not turn the experiences of the four girls, and their manager, in to a musical.
'The Sapphires' tells a uniquely Australian story of four Aboriginal girls who overcame the prejudice of the 60s to find themselves sent off to Vietnam to entertain the troops, along with their charismatic, but occasionally inept, manager (Chris O'Dowd). There's a decent ensemble cast, with exceptional performances from Deborah Mailman and Shari Sebbens.
The film is uplifting, gently deals with some big issues that faced Aborigines and is entertaining to just about anyone. Some criticism of the film was that it underplayed both the Vietnam War itself, and a couple of related events (easily spotted in the film), however I disagree. The film was busy drawing together the strands of storyline concerning the girls. To have emphasised any further the war, or any particular event, could only have detracted from the audience's appreciation of the other characters.
Highly recommended for just about anyone. Non-Australians will be introduced to a little of Aboriginal culture and their struggle for equality, as well as a ripper movie that's fun and funny; Australians will be glad to see a rare story of Aboriginal triumph in the 20th century.
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