The Sapphires (2012) - Biography, Comedy, Drama

Hohum Score



It's 1968, and four young, talented Australian Aboriginal girls learn about love, friendship and war when their all-girl group The Sapphires entertain the US troops in Vietnam.

Director: Wayne Blair
Stars: Chris O'Dowd, Deborah Mailman
Length: 103 Minutes
PG Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 10 out of 79 found boring (12.65%)

One-line Reviews (54)

It's exciting to see an Australian film diverge from suburban monotony and celebrate our countries vibrant culture and history.

Plot is okay, though a bit cheesy and formulaic.

The acting is at times ridiculously hammy and unnatural and the jokes are bland, obvious, unoriginal and cheesy.

Was it a coming of age story?

Some scenes feel contrived - the race issues and discussions, while necessary and relevant, often seem to be jammed into the plot without much context.

For what it is, this is an enjoyable, lightweight 'dramedy', which will satisfy 60s music aficionados, as well those interested in the history of Australian indigenous culture.

Also, to whoever said that they're just cheesie and the movie is a cliché: they should all go die.

This meeting of failures turns into the opportunity of the lifetime for them taking them to the exotic war lands of Vietnam entertaining the troops.

It is playful and comical, sometimes corny (but not often), very accessible, and hugely engaging.

The four girls gell well together, each with their own defined characteristics, handily explained to us late-on by O'Dowd's Dave Lovelace character while O'Dowd delivers another entertaining turn as the hard-bitten manager who softens to his protégés once they hit the road.

What an unexpected surprise!


I attempted to see The Sapphires back in October but an over-subscribed screening forced me into the shoddy, tedious Premium Rush.

Every cliché from the Writing Soap Operas For Dummies is crammed into this listless and predictable attempt at story telling.

The drama in particular stands out as being dragged in by the hairs as to give the already dusty premise some extra length of bone.

But it is a hugely enjoyable movie, with lots of good points.

A fascinating look at a singing group in the year the world changed .

'The Sapphires' is both a coming of age story where the sisters 'grow up' in the hostile environment of the Vietnam War as well as a tale of both exploration and reconciliation, where the ugly history of Australia's racist past is exposed and ultimately reconciled.

Certainly not a perfect film by any means, but it is a generally entertaining film with lots of laughs, a great soundtrack and a excellent performance from the always awesome Deb Mailman.

The film is uplifting, gently deals with some big issues that faced Aborigines and is entertaining to just about anyone.

The saga of racism in Australia is eye-opening and lends gravity to this generally light, but thoroughly enjoyable fare.

Far from perfect, but still very enjoyable.

Even as these subplots detract from the main story, O'Dowd's Dave can be credited for the film's unexpected humor, starting with the scene where he teaches the girls the difference between Country Music and Soul Music.

This differed from most of our local offerings in that it had an engaging story and was strong at a technical level as well.

The film depicts the formation of a real-life female Aboriginal singing group that are hired in Vietnam to entertain the American troops embroiled in the savage, pointless war against the natives.

Overall it is very successful, an entertaining movie with great personal relationship stories interwoven.

They saved the best for last when you learn about the inspiration for the film, I left the theater with tears in my eyes.

It follows four young girls who leave their Aboriginal community in the hope of entertaining US troops in Vietnam and becoming big stars.

The Irishman's comedic timing is excellent, and his infusion into each scene immediately makes it more enjoyable, particularly when the dialogue falters into clunky territory.

Instead he presents a mostly cheerful but ultimately bland waste of an evening.

The actresses give good performances and are really good at singing, but O'Dowd is arguably the star of the show, stealing nearly every scene with his sarcastic snappy personality, the Motown soundtrack of songs work well, there is poignancy with stuff about racism and the war, and it has good heartfelt humour, it is just a nice feel-good musical comedy.

Sebbens was probably the least engaging of the group as she has more "issues" to carry and is less naturally rough and fun.

Scripting by the numbers doesn't work, a real shame for all the actors involved, as if the script was worked longer in development with a couple of spoons full of honey less, this film could have potentially been highly enjoyable.

The principals generally work well together as an ensemble and, for the most part, are enjoyable.

If you like music movies like The Commitments you will enjoy this - we both thought it was pretty entertaining and a fun way to spend an evening.

Enjoyable and uniquely Australian .

The costumes and dance moves are classic, and you'll leave the theater racing to buy the soundtrack.

I always cringe a little when I see an Australian movie because usually the script is clunky and contrived and the acting is a bit off.

As a comedy-musical, THE SAPPHIRES packs a lot of sass and soul despite a contrived message of triumph over tribulation.

The film is about the fascinating and inspiring true story about four extraordinary talented Aboriginal women, sisters Laurel Robinson, Lois Peeler and their cousins Beverley Briggs and Naomi Mayers.

An alcoholic down on his luck, Dave sees an opportunity for himself and the girls and sets up their first gig – entertaining American GIs in war torn Vietnam.

However, the nature of the war itself is mostly assumed knowledge for the viewer, and the terror of the conflict is conveying sparingly but powerfully in handful of intense high-energy danger sequences.

Thanks to a generous and clever script nothing was underused and was meticulous, had quiet and poignant moments as well as big, entertaining and showstopper moments with no overshadowing.

An extremely enjoyable film that has a variety of great song and dance moments along with some genuine emotional scenes that add to this being an very nice and enjoyable experience.

I am a fan of Luhrmann's 'The Red Curtain Trilogy', but I disliked The Sapphires for the same reasons I disliked Australia – riddled with clichés and stereotypes, trite, and worst of all the script was truly appalling.

Chris O'Dowd also added his bit to the whole ensemble and altogether it made for a very enjoyable 90 minutes.

It would have been a nice surprise had it been a little more subtly set up, however, other then that, the music is great and the story is compelling.


If you like your films very very light and sort of directionless and predictable, and you are a fan of soul music, give it a shot.

The Sapphires is a very good, funny and extremely entertaining movie that I highly recommend.

A warm and uplifting story, Funny, entertaining, moving.

Under untrained hands, The Sapphires could've easily been a tiresome drama spliced with only fair scenes of music.

Classy, entertaining film .

For those unaware of Australia's recent history, it is a fascinating look.