If ‘feel good’ is your thing, it will be difficult not to find enough in The Sapphires you’ll enjoy. In the 1960s, a group of Aboriginal sisters enter a local singing contest but like most things in their lives, they find racial discrimination getting in their way. Dave, the MC (Chris O’Dowd) spots their talent and becomes their manager when they decide to apply to become entertainers for American troops in Vietnam, switching from Country and Western to Soul with the new name ‘The Sapphires’.
O’Dowd does a great job as a rather hapless but charming Irishman, trying to rekindle a bit of purpose in his life through the group. It’s a quasi-musical, with lots of singing which is all rather charming. However, there’s little genuine sense of danger upon the group’s arrival in Vietnam, nor is there much feeling of how the women have changed, moving from their quiet community to becoming star performers hundreds of miles away. The film tends to meander somewhat in its second act with a heavily handled racial subtext but that’s not to say there’s not plenty of charm and character shining through.
Review by David Rank
The Sapphires is out on 7th November in the UK. Certificate PG (UK). Running time 103 mins.
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