The Sapphires – LFF Review

It is 1968 in Australia and three Aboriginal sisters who like to sing country songs are turned into a soul group by a drunk bar worker who looks a lot like Chris O’Dowd. After gaining a singing cousin they travel to Vietnam to entertain the troops. Their journey is filled with song, laughter, heartbreak, and a fair share of bullets.

The Sapphires is a warm and wonderful film which presents a familiar story in a unique setting. Not only are the sisters dealing with some old rivalries amongst themselves they are also fighting widespread racism while dealing with travelling through a country at war with a drunk Irishman calling the shots. You can feel a genuine familial bond between the sisters and they are easy to sympathise with thanks to the attitude of white Australians in their town. Despite their numerous hardships the sisters never come across as self-pitying and instead use the oppression as fuel for their fire and desire to become famous singers.

Chris O’Dowd is his usual charming self and helps lighten even the darkest mood with an awkward smile and a well delivered line. O’Dowd also provides one half of the romantic core of the film allowing a more sentimental side to be seen.

Music runs throughout the film and the musical numbers are mostly wonderfully produced with a lot of energy and passion. Occasionally though the film slips into Glee territory as the lip-synching jars slightly and everything is almost too pitch-perfect. When four women are singing in an outhouse it is OK for them to sound like they are singing in an outhouse rather than a recording studio. We could all learn something from Kylie singing live in Holy Motors.

The Sapphires is a joyful watch and though holds no real surprises has enough originality to stray from predictability.

The Sapphires screens tonight at 6.00 pm and October 18th at 6.15 pm and tickets are still on sale for both. The Sapphires is on general release in the UK from 7th November 2012.