The Sapphires

2013

The Sapphires

Critics Consensus

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

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 136

76%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 13,281
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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 the sisters their first true gig giving them their first taste of stardom, and travels them to Vietnam to sing for the American troops. (c) Weinstein

Cast

Chris O'Dowd
as Dave Lovelace
Kylie Belling
as Geraldine
Lynette Narkle
as Nanny Theresa
Donald Battee
as Myron Ritchie
TJ Power
as Lt. Jensen
Miah Madden
as Young Julie
Nioka Brennan
as Young Kay
Koby Murray
as Baby Hartley
Hunter Page-Lochard
as Stevie Kayne
Meyne Wyatt
as Jimmy Middleton
Tom Whitechurch
as Young Tommy
Barry Southgate
as Singing Sailor
Rhys Muldoon
as Uncle Ed
A. Spencer Davis
as Singing Sailor
Rodney Todd
as Ed's Bass Player
Eric Rasmussen
as Ed's Guitarist
Julian Bel Bachir
as Ed's Drummer
Clarence Thane
as Bruce the Handyman
Merelyn Anderson
as Major Wicks
Kim Quyen
as Myron's Girl
Hai Thao
as Seamstress
Hoang Hiep
as Seamstress's Son
Stuart Christie
as Government Official
Quan Tran
as Vietcong Commander
Wayne McDaniel
as Lou McGarrick
Beau Brady
as Marine Sergeant
Sam North
as Young Marine
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News & Interviews for The Sapphires

Critic Reviews for The Sapphires

All Critics (136) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (124) | Rotten (12)

  • This feelgood flick will almost certainly be an international hit and it is undeniably uplifting, the joyousness of soul music smoothing out the odd shifts in tone that arise as a result of the strange genre conflict.

    Aug 11, 2017 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jan 1, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • The harmonies they strike in this reality-inspired charmer are sweetly sublime.

    Apr 5, 2013 | Rating: 3/4
  • You could drive an Abrams tank through the film's plot holes, but you'll likely be too busy enjoying yourself to bother.

    Apr 5, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • "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.

    Apr 4, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Apr 4, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Sapphires

  • Apr 22, 2015
    In 1968, sisters Cynthia(Miranda Tapsell), Gail(Deborah Mailman) and Julie(Jessica Mauboy) fail at a talent competition in Australia not due to their talent, but because of their being Aboriginal. However, that does not stop Dave Lovelace(Chris O'Dowd), the MC, from seeing their potential, even through the haze of his hangover. He even agrees to manage and coach them for a talent audition to entertain the troops in Vietnam, even after the sisters' parents' warnings about strange men and land wars in Asia. While in Melbourne for the audition, they look up Kay(Shari Sebbens), a cousin, who is wondering if hell is really endless Tupperware parties. As annoying as Chris O'Dowd is, "The Sapphires" is still an entertaining movie, fueled by some great period music. As inspired as it is by a true story about a group of women finding their voices and places in the world, it tries to handle two difficult subjects, the awful treatment of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and the Vietnam War, with some success but not with exactly the depth required. And maybe it is a case of too much deja vu with the later, but the movie does much better with its first half in Australia.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 15, 2014
    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.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 29, 2013
    I don't think I'll have much to say about this movie. This is a very entertaining, if fairly predictable, movie that handles its subject matter with kid gloves. It's an understandable approach as I think the movie was mostly meant to leave you with a smile on your face, it did, rather than really explore any complex issues about racism and the civil rights struggle. So yea, the movie underscores The Sapphires' "rise" with the racism they still face in their own country, the country that their descendants should rightfully own, and all around the world. The movie certainly dealt with very serious issues in a manner that doesn't really do justice to the racism that the aborigines really felt. But, again, that wasn't the intention of the film so it's more than understandable. A big problem with the movie is that the story is certainly lacking. Each character has her own little "subplot" per se, but I mean in the grand scheme of things. The movie pretty much looks at the group performing in various places and that's about it. Of course, it also looks at the struggles of rising through the ranks, but there's not really much of a thread holding this movie together. Individual subplots are good and all, but you also need a 'big picture'-type aspect to the story. I thought that was a problem. Because while the cast is great, the musical numbers are very entertaining and soulful, and the film has a feel-good vibe, I never really felt I was watching a movie with an actual story as much of a collection of the girls performing in different places during a difficult time for their race. Again, that's probably, really, the biggest problem with the film. But other than that, I really enjoyed this film. You might think that the lack of a decent story might be a big detriment to the film, and in a way it is, but this film certainly makes up for it with its music, its cast and it's soulful and energetic pace. And, as I said, it is a movie that certainly leave you with a smile on your face. At least, I had a smile on my face. A really entertaining movie here, it could've been much better but those flaws don't keep the movie from being a lot of fun to watch.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Oct 22, 2013
    Infectious "bio" about real life aboriginal girl band, popular with the soldiers in Vietnam while the U.S. was embroiled in that conflict there during the late 1960's. While it's nice to see an Aussie film that stretches the Aboriginal cliches, this is a generic treatment safe for the Lifetime cable network. "If we sing a song will that cure all our troubles?" The answer in this film is "yes!"
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer

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