A black girl-group of singers make it big in the ‘60s singing R&B! Sure, we’ve seen it before, but have we seen it with aborigines? That’s the premise of the new film The Sapphires, a fun toe-tapping flick that touches on racism in a different way from your usual ’60s-based musical flick.
In this, a group of child singers (girls) in the outback are doing their country-and-western (with some local folk) music thing—which despite later ridicule, is actually quite lovely. Not fashionable, of course, but lovely in a square way.
We flash forward a decade or so, and they’re grown-up and living in their aboriginal squalor, one of them conspicuously missing, one kind of fat ‘n’ bossy, one with a kid and so on. But they still sing. Wonderfully.
The story involves them going to a talent show where they’re so much better than everyone else, only racism could keep them from winning (and it does). Not only that it leads to the MC losing his job for standing up for them.
This, in turn, leads to a harebrained scheme to audition to entertain the troops in Vietnam.
It’s nice. Even the not nice parts are pretty nice.
The music is nice, too. Most of it’s not the typical ’60s stuff you’ve heard beat into the ground, though it’s familiar enough. Good arrangements.
You also get some love stories, a little look into the amazingly racist history white Australia had with its aborigines (which I was aware of but I don’t know if most people know the extent), some True War stuff, and some fun characters to spend a little time with.
There was a fair amount of clapping (and even some singing) along—far too much for The Boy’s taste, though he and the Flower both enjoyed the film quite a bit.
Fine acting from a bunch of people you’ve never heard of and probably never will again (especially the girls), even if you’re Australian, though you may know Chris O’Dowd as the sheriff with the inexplicable Aussie accent from Bridesmaids and Tory Kittles from “Sons of Anarchy” or Olympus Has Fallen.
Inspired by the true story of one of the screenwriters.