Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    May 8, 2013
    91
    A feel-good movie in the most positive meaning of that term, thanks to the Motown music and O'Dowd's cheeky charm.
  2. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Mar 20, 2013
    83
    The Sapphires is a movie for your heart (and your ears and moneymaker), not your head.
  3. Reviewed by: M. E. Russell
    Mar 8, 2013
    83
    The movie unfolds in the uplifting manner you'd expect, but its real pleasures lie in its terrific '60s pop-soul soundtrack and especially in its frequently funny performances.
  4. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Apr 4, 2013
    80
    It’s nearly impossible to sit through The Sapphires without a smile on your face. It’s a little shallow, sure, but, as with the girls’ troubles, when they open their mouths to sing everything feels like it’s going to be all right.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Mar 21, 2013
    80
    The Sapphires isn't flawless, but who cares? It's a joyous affair that's distinguished by its music, and by the buoyant spirit of its stars.
  6. Reviewed by: Megan Lehmann
    Mar 3, 2013
    80
    An exuberant celebration of Aboriginality that fizzes with humor and heart; its soulfulness goes beyond the embrace of a jukebox full of Motown, Stax and Atlantic Records hits.
  7. Reviewed by: Anna Smith
    Mar 3, 2013
    80
    There are undeniable flaws, from cheesy dialogue to neglected subplots. But there’s something so lovable about The Sapphires’ enthusiasm, and powerful about its moments of tenderness.
  8. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Apr 4, 2013
    75
    This mostly upbeat crowd-pleaser soothes the audience with glistening harmonies and familiar songs and doesn’t always handle the ugly past simmering just below its surface gracefully.
  9. Reviewed by: Michael Posner
    Apr 4, 2013
    75
    The group’s lead singer is Julie (Jessica Mauboy, an Australian R&B singer and runner-up on the fourth season of Australian Idol). You could drive an Abrams tank through the film’s plot holes, but you’ll likely be too busy enjoying yourself to bother.
  10. Reviewed by: Nell Minow
    Mar 27, 2013
    75
    The Sapphires is clearly a labor of love for all involved. It's also a warm tribute to four women for whom success as performers was just the beginning.
  11. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Mar 22, 2013
    75
    A potent combination of rousing music, appealing performances and an uplifting story renders this film-festival favorite nearly impossible to resist.
  12. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    Mar 22, 2013
    75
    The upstart Sapphires are a smash to watch as they cover soul tunes like “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “What a Man” and “I Can’t Help Myself.”
  13. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Mar 21, 2013
    75
    You could call it an Aussie "Dreamgirls." I'd call it a blast of joy and music that struts right into your heart.
  14. Reviewed by: Chuck Wilson
    Mar 24, 2013
    70
    First-time director Wayne Blair and screenwriters Keith Thompson and Tony Briggs, adapting Briggs’ stage play, don’t shy away from the era’s social complexities, but they keep their eye on the ball, which in this case is the sweet pull of soul tune harmony.
  15. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Mar 21, 2013
    70
    The raggedness of The Sapphires can’t be separated from its exuberant charm. Like the Sapphires themselves, the film is determined to muscle its way into your heart, which would have to be a lump of gristle to resist it.
  16. Reviewed by: Guy Lodge
    Mar 15, 2013
    70
    Soul music’s alleged redemptive powers are fully at work in this jumbled, sketchily written but vastly appealing true-life musical comedy.
  17. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Apr 10, 2013
    67
    Exuberant but fairly formulaic.
  18. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Mar 20, 2013
    67
    The emotions of soul music are irresistibly universal. The same is true of soul-music clichés. Based on a true story, The Sapphires tells the tale of four ambitious young Aboriginal girls from Australia who come of age performing before American serviceman in 1968 Vietnam. And yet the film is afflicted by a curious lack of cultural specificity.
  19. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Apr 4, 2013
    63
    Draining most of the blood, sweat and tears from a true story, this music-minded movie capably covers a song we’ve heard a hundred times before.
  20. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Mar 28, 2013
    63
    The movie has the indulgent fondness of a gift from a son to his talented mum and aunties. But it also feels the funk, and that’s what counts.
  21. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Mar 28, 2013
    63
    The script is corny and cliched and goes the way you expect it to go. But those things never stopped any movie from working with an audience.
  22. 63
    There’s more than a hint of the ‘90s Roddy Doyle adaptation “The Commitments” in all this – people far removed from Memphis and Detroit connecting to soul music on a spiritual level.
  23. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Mar 3, 2013
    60
    It's an amiable film with some great musical moments and the classic "growing success" montage showing them on the road in south-east Asia. On music, identity and race, the film has a big beating heart in the right place.
  24. Reviewed by: Ellen E Jones
    Mar 3, 2013
    60
    A feelgooder spiced by social conscience, this is one of those underdog productions with potential to punch well above its weight.
  25. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Mar 25, 2013
    58
    The Sapphires may be your stock triumph-over-adversity show-biz story – but then, how is it that we never get tired of seeing that story?
  26. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Mar 3, 2013
    58
    Marred by excessive sentiment, it has a buoyancy and a hook that makes it stand out -- but they're elements that would help it kill on Broadway (as it already has on the Australian stage) a lot better than it does onscreen.
  27. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Mar 3, 2013
    58
    It's enjoyable and toe-tapping for what it is, but it's also extremely lightweight stuff.
  28. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Mar 28, 2013
    50
    A sloppy, sentimental story line and pivotal plot turns that are only sketchily realized undermine the life-on-the-road misadventures.
  29. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    Mar 19, 2013
    40
    The Sapphires might pass muster as escapist fluff, but its pretensions of significance go woefully awry.
  30. Mar 19, 2013
    38
    Wayne Blair isn't interested in historical complexity or subtext, just the seamless flow of Hollywood-style storytelling that lazily connects one musical number to the next.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Aug 18, 2013
    10
    A feel-good, let-loose and sing-a-long type of film. The wonderful cast made the whole movie come together much better than anyone would have thought! It was insightful, touching and heart-warming. One of my favourite performances by O'Dowd; and Mauboy steals the show with her beautiful, beautiful voice. Full Review »
  2. Aug 7, 2013
    8
    This is a real good comedy/drama that works on both fronts it has real strong comedic spots, but it does a real good job of recognizing that challenges the young ladies have to go through along with all the tragedy that comes with the Vietnam war. A- Full Review »
  3. Jul 3, 2013
    7
    Good story. Hard to believe how recent it was that Australian aboriginals were treated this way. Good music. Lead roles are well played. Very enjoyable. Full Review »