Why Simon Cowell loves The Sapphires
Fri August 3, 2012 4:15pm
REVIEW: There's no denying that this year has been a complete downer for the Australian film industry.
But things will be looking up once local punters lay eyes on The Sapphires, a crowd-pleasing musical comedy set for release next week.
The film was snapped up by a major US studio before its debut at Cannes and it's not hard to see why.
It takes a quintessentially Australian tale - inspired by the real-life exploits of a little-known Aboriginal girl band in the Sixties - and tells it in a way that's sure to resonate far beyond these shores.
A chance meeting with a boozy Irish music buff (Chris O'Dowd) leads three sisters (played by Deborah Mailman, Miranda Tapsell and pop star Jessica Mauboy) and their cousin (Shari Sebbens) to renounce their love of Country and Western for the soulful hits of Otis Redding and Diana Ross.
The girls find themselves spirited from a quiet mission settlement on the banks of the Murray River to Saigon at the height of the Vietnam war.
It must be said that The Sapphires is more than little clunky in parts. Aside from the assured comedy smarts of O'Dowd and Mailman, performances are quite uneven. Many characters are underdeveloped to the point of stereotype.
However, all shortcomings are invariably forgiven whenever Mauboy gets near a microphone, and the film's winning selection of soul standards and original tunes fire up.
THE SAPPHIRES opens in cinemas on Thursday August 9.