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The Sapphires (2013)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 131
Fresh: 119 | Rotten: 12

While it's plenty predictable and sentimental, The Sapphires also has an irresistible feel-good vibe, winning music and charming performances to spare.


Average Rating: 6.8/10
Critic Reviews: 32
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 3

While it's plenty predictable and sentimental, The Sapphires also has an irresistible feel-good vibe, winning music and charming performances to spare.



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Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 12,613

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Movie Info

Inspired by a true story, THE SAPPHIRES follows four vivacious, young and talented Australian Aboriginal girls from a remote mission as they learn about love, friendship and war when their all girl group The Sapphires entertains the U.S. troops in Vietnam in 1968. Cynthia (Tapsell), Gail (Mailman), Julie (Mauboy) and Kay (Sebbens) are discovered by Dave (O'Dowd), a good-humored talent scout with a kind heart, very little rhythm but a great knowledge of soul music. As their manager, Dave books

Aug 6, 2013


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All Critics (131) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (119) | Rotten (12)

This charming Australian import has a groove much like other low-key, let's-put-on-a-show indies such as Hear My Song and The Commitments, and never uses its social conscience as simply backbeat.

January 1, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The harmonies they strike in this reality-inspired charmer are sweetly sublime.

April 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You could drive an Abrams tank through the film's plot holes, but you'll likely be too busy enjoying yourself to bother.

April 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"The Sapphires" feels like a movie you've already seen, but it's nonetheless thoroughly enjoyable, like a pop song that's no less infectious when you know every word.

April 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"The Sapphires" sparkles with sass and Motown soul.

April 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sapphires is hardly a cinematic diamond mine. But this Commitments-style mashup of music and melodrama manages to entertain without demanding too much of its audience.

April 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The clichés are rendered painless by excellent performances from the five principles, with O'Dowd and Mailman particularly standing out.

January 1, 2014 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

A heavy-handed anti-racism message isn't easier to take when played to a Motown beat, though the Australian comedy-drama The Sapphires acts otherwise.

January 1, 2014 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

The Sapphires has too many facets.

January 1, 2014 Full Review Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The skill and sly moments of real panache help turn The Sapphires into a shining example of the type of film this country really ought to be making more of.

October 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Onya Magazine
Onya Magazine

Tries to dazzle itself but the shine comes off quickly, as this weakly structured story flees at the sight of any lingering dramatic conflict, preferring to turn history into a pleasant song-and-dance routine.

July 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

A unique and heartening look at four young women blossoming into mature adults as they enjoy a bout with success in the midst of a hard-fought war.

June 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Big Hollywood
Big Hollywood

Quite possibly the least original movie you'll see this summer -- and one of the most enjoyable.

June 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The mood is so charming and the music so inspiring that you continually cut it a break.

May 13, 2013 Full Review Source: The Patriot Ledger
The Patriot Ledger

By-the-numbers in every sense of the word, the film tracks a tried-and-true sort of triumph while featuring renditions of soul classics so bursting with energy and joy you won't care that the originality meter is leaning on empty.

May 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Even when it seems contrived The Sapphires is a feel-good movie in the most positive meaning of that term, thanks to the Motown music and O'Dowd's cheeky charm. Like the Four Tops, I loved every sugar pie, honey bunch moment. I can't help myself.

May 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Tampa Bay Times
Tampa Bay Times

Unfortunately, it has been turned into a routine and uninspiring movie, following a tired, old formula the entire way.

May 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

A surefire crowdpleaser with all the ingredients for the type of little-movie-that-could sleeper success that Harvey Weinstein has nurtured in years and award seasons past.

April 22, 2013 Full Review Source:

You've seen this story before, but never pulled off with so much joie de vivre.

April 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

They can put a song across just like the Dreamgirls. What's not to like?

April 16, 2013 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Exuberant but fairly formulaic.

April 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Doesn't always mix its anti-prejudice message and its feel-good nostalgia with complete smoothness. But despite some ragged edges it provides a reasonably good time.

April 8, 2013 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

Director Wayne Blair -- another veteran of the stage show -- finds his footing during the film's many musical numbers.

April 5, 2013 Full Review Source:

Despite the prosaic plot and reserved approach taken by Blair, Briggs, and Thompson, it's tough to get cynical about such a warmhearted picture that strives to tell so uplifting a story.

April 5, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for The Sapphires

Even those who are not easily moved by a fairly conventional and predictable movie like this one will have plenty to enjoy in such a poignant feel-good story full of great performances and beautiful singing voices about a group of Aboriginal women and their musical talent.
July 15, 2014

Super Reviewer

Really good, uplifting film, based on an actual female singing group. The story built around their trip to Vietnam is purely writer's prerogative, but very enjoyable all the same. If you grew up in the sixties, and occasionally still "groove" to the oldies, then you will enjoy this movie.
October 8, 2013

Super Reviewer

A bit cheesy and a bit predictable and the race issue wasn't consistent enough to have the impact I believe they were initially going for. It had 'loosely' based on a real life story written all over it. That said, it was a pleasure to watch. I was worried at first that it would lack that certain something, that special scene that would make it a great film rather than just a good film and luckily by the end there were a couple. Very easy to watch and very hard not to enjoy. Some of the acting is a bit dodgy, which is to be expected seeing as most of the actors were based on their singing skills but Deborah Mailman and Chris O'Dowd more than made up it.
July 1, 2013

Super Reviewer

Despite the common trappings, there are definitely elements that make The Sapphires a unique take on a ordinary subject. It touches on the children of Aboriginal descent who were removed from their families by the Australian government from approximately 1909 to 1969. This underscores the girls' childhood when they were living in a remote mission together. Kay's extraction from their family and the subsequent trio's evaluation in a singing competition before a bigoted judge further references this theme. Equal rights informs the underlying politics of their early lives but it's not really the focus. The script does a nice job of juggling the various forces that threaten the success of the group. It intersperses two love stories with a lot of rousing 60s Motown hits that are beautifully sung. I thoroughly enjoyed their versions of soul classics that included "Land of a Thousand Dances" and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine." If these characters appear a bit timeworn, the milieu is so uplifting and joyous, I didn't mind a bit. I cheered these girls on as if this was the first time I had ever seen someone take a chance in pursuit of a dream in showbiz. The Sapphires is a toe tapping, heart singing good time.
April 3, 2013

Super Reviewer

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