Friday, March 29, 2013
DELIGHTFULLY RICH AND ENTERTAINING! The Sapphires is everything Sparkle was supposed to be, but even with the help of the late Whitney Houston, couldn't manage.
If you describe The Sapphires as just three sisters and a cousin form a singing group in the 1960's, then you're gonna yawn and say, I'll just watch Dreamgirls again. But you'd be wrong. The Sapphires is not only different because the girls are Australian Aborigines, with a white Irish screw up as their mentor/manager (Chris O'Dowd). It's different because it just hits every beat and note to perfection and I'm not talking about the Soul soundtrack.
Gail (Deborah Mailman) plays the eldest, mother lion, big sister of the group. She's not the best singer or dancer, but she's large and in charge and constantly challenging Dave's (O'Dowd) authority.
Julie (Jessica Mauboy) is the youngest and like Michael Jackson has the most presence and best voice of the group.
Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell) is the sexy one trying to get over being left at the alter.
Kay (Shari Sebbens) is the half white cousin, who was captured as a child and brought to Australia proper, to be raised among the upper class whites. Her story opens up a whole other aspect of the film.
Here's a video interview with the female cast:
I'm a big fan of films and directors who are able to seamlessly and realistically maintain a balance of quirky humor with relevant drama; and in this case, engaging musical. Director Wayne Blair manages this effortlessly. The movie is not so much about The Sapphires rise to fame, as all they ever really aspire to do is perform for the troops in Vietnam. The heart of the story deals with the racial inequality of the Aborigine people, who in 1966, were still classified as "flora and fauna" by the Australian government. A minor cross cut with the US Civil Rights struggle happening simultaneously, brings to mind the whole question of dominate race once again. I read an article on About.com called
But let us turn our attention back to the delightful qualities of this film. Part of which is the dialogue and believability of the girls both as performers and family; including a romantic love/hate chemistry between Gail and Dave. All this comes across mainly due to one half the the writing team, Tony Briggs, writing of which he knows, as he is the son of the real life Julie. In fact, the whole movie is more than loosely based upon real life events.
The Philadelphia screening of The Sapphires included a Q & A with Director Wayne Blair ( See video below which is part 1 of 2 videos, you can find the second half on Tinsel & Tine's You Tube Channel.