Set in the late 1960's, The Sapphires is a real-life tale of a group of aboriginal girls who followed their dreams to take them from outback Australia to the front line of the Vietnam War.
The story starts with sisters, Gail (Deborah Mailman), Julie (Jessica Mauboy) and Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell), all a-flap about the pub talent quest. Little do they know, the local audience at the talent quest turns out to be a crowd of bigots and the judges fix the prize against them. Storming out, they cross paths with the boozy talent quest host, Dave (played by Chris O'Dowd) and after a small confrontation, Dave has charmed the girls and scored them an audition in Melbourne for their chance to perform for the troops in Vietnam.
The group is completed by the return of the girls' cousin Kay (Shari Sebbens) to the fold and together they re-form their childhood singing group. After some grooming and three days rehearsal with Dave, the girls give a stellar performance at the audition and land themselves a place on the tour.
Once in Vietnam, the girls then go from performing in seedy bars in Saigon, to travelling though active combat zones, and along the way the girls find laughter, truth, love and themselves.
The Sapphires received a 10 minute standing ovation when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this year - and it's easy to see why. The story is entertaining, the performances are strong, the music is fun and will have you bopping along. That said, the story may have moved along too quickly in parts and some scenes seemed to end a bit too abruptly. This tends to leave some of the characters underdeveloped with gaps to be filled with stereotypes.
As with all good love-war flicks, there are some real tear-jerking moments - so have the tissues handy. The tears are balanced with some well-timed comedy with the delivery of some great one-liners by The Sapphires Irish Manager, Dave - really drawing you into the moment.
Musically, the film provides some wonderful performances by the girls as a group, and of course, some fantastic solos by Jessica Mauboy. Deborah Mailman also delivers a fabulously compelling performance that will leave you wondering why directors don't have her doing more singing in other roles.
All in all, this is a crowd-pleasing musical comedy that would be perfect for the next girls night out (or in!). You'll walk away with a nice glow in your soul, a smile on your face and a few tear-streaks on your cheeks.