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Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

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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: 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. May 31, 2013
    10
    This is the definition of a crowd pleaser. A success story with interesting and likable people, good music, fine performances largely by unknowns, and sure handed, unobtrusive direction. I'm not big on girl group singers or feel good movies, which usually depress me. I loved this one. Expand
  2. 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. Expand
  3. 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- Expand
  4. Apr 15, 2013
    7
    Once or twice a year a ‘small’ picture sneaks into the local cinema and stays for weeks and weeks usually because of word of mouth. Most of the time they are an English movie but “The Sapphires” is an exception being from Australia. The movie is based on the true story of four Aboriginal women who lived in the Outback where, until the 1970s, children were stolen from their families and adopted by ‘white’ families or put into institutions. This is not that story though the theme is mentioned now and then just as the similarities and differences in the treatment of Black people in Australia and how Black people were treated in the United States.

    This is the story of the girls who are ‘discovered’ by an alcoholic talent scout, Dave Lovelace (Chris O’Dowd) whose claim to fame is that he once was a director of talent on a cruise ship. He hears their potential and when one of the girls talks about auditions to entertain troops in Vietnam he makes himself their manager. Dave talks them out of the country and western songs they have been singing and makes them over into a typical Motown girl group of the 1960s, using the songs, outfits and moves, oh, say like the Supremes. There is some playing with the facts during the movie such as the character Dave never existed but it looks like Australian writers (Keith Thompson and Tony Briggs, son of one of the women) and director Wayne Blaine have seen enough Hollywood movies and brought their lessons to this film. The girls each have their boyfriend angst and there is the infighting, not to forget to show a bomb or two going off in the Vietnam scenes, and a breakup here and there but all ends well, just like a Hollywood film would.

    The girls: Gail (Deborah Mailman) is referred to as the ‘Mama bear’, Julie (Jessica Mauboy) plays the lead singer, Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell) who is content being a backup singer and Kay (Shari Sebbens) the sister’s light skinned sibling who had been one of those children kidnapped from her family and brought up as a white city girl and, of course, will fall in love with the darkest skin soldier. They put over the songs and they handle deeper moments making them believable. Chris O’Dowd has enough charm to make the audience not realize they are wearing their hearts on their sleeves. The songs from “Heard It On The Grapevine” to “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” bring the Motown sound and, through subjects from racism in the USA to the situation with Aboriginals and the war in Vietnam though lightly dismissed, brings the 1960s back.

    Be sure to stay for the ending credits to see what these women did with the rest of their lives which is very impressive.
    Expand
  5. May 8, 2013
    7
    As late as the 60s, Australian Aboriginals were scorned by many of the white inhabitants. This based-on-fact film is about 4 young women who form the eponymous group (along with manager Chris O'Dowd) and go to Vietnam to entertain the troops. It's a mostly feel-good story about their mostly fun adventure, but the toll of racial discrimination always hovers. The script is sometimes clunky, but the performances are plucky. I'm a big fan of 60's soul and this soundtrack is packed with classics. It's slight-but-sweet. Expand
  6. 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. Collapse

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