A couple of days late catching The Sapphires…

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Missed ‘The Sapphires’ when it first screened but that’s what’s great about The Cannes Film Festival – they let you catch up later with re-screenings. So, at 2 pm today we got to see Wayne Blair’s ‘The Sapphires’, another great Australian musical.

The Sapphires with Chris O'Dowd, Jessicas Mauboy, Deborah Mailman, Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell
The Sapphires performing with their manager Dave Lovelace

The Aussies really are just so good at these and seem to be able to bring that genuineness to their characters that some of the American musicals just don’t have. You’re in there with the characters, caring for them.

One of the main Aboriginal characters (Julie) is played be a former Australian Idols entrant, Jessica Mauboy. Having lived in Australia, we were fortunate to follow Jessica from the moment she was discovered at an outdoors audition in the Outback, with flies flying around her face; to her runner-up position in the TV Show. She’s gone on to have a big music career in Australia. A real rags-to-riches story and she’s just the most humble person around.

Saw her walking up the red carpet last night, looking so proud and almost in disbelief at how far she has come.

The Sapphires Director Wayne Blair
The Sapphires Director Wayne Blair

The singing and acting in the film is great, and one keeps hoping for more music.

The story is set in the Outback, Melbourne and Vietnam during the Vietnam war. Three talented Aboriginal sisters convince the Irishman to be their manager. Sensing that he could make some money, as he is down and out, he takes on the job and drives the girls to Melbourne for the audition, where they are joined by their cousin, one of the children of Australia’s Stolen Generation (where Aboriginal children were taken from their families to be raised in white homes).

Lovelace moulds the band from being a Country & Western group into singing Soul Music which is his great love. (He pelts out a couple of soul numbers which had me wanting more.)

The Irishman is funny and serious, and brings relief to some of the stressful situations the girls go through in wartorn Vietman.

As The Sapphires perform for the soldiers, we get to see  their journey and coming-of-age during this very scary time. The movie is well-balanced with seriousness, comedy, politics and music. I wouldn’t have said no to more music though!

There’s an important message conveyed about the Stolen Generation, and it’s done so well, without becoming too ‘political’. Something other countries should look at and learn from, as often the focus is too much on the political and becomes too dry with not enough entertainment and escapism.

The Weinstein Company has the distribution rights and Harvey Weinstein is calling this movie a major sleeper both here in Europe and the USA.

So look out for it and if you like musicals go see this.

The Sapphires Manager Dave Lovelace played by Chris O'Dowd
The Sapphires Manager Dave Lovelace played by Chris O'Dowd

Oh, and managed to see ‘Killing Them Softly’ today with Brad Pitt which I really like and much preferred to his ‘Tree of Life’ movie from last year, which won the Palm D’Or…each to their own.