The Sapphires is a crowd-pleasing musical comedy drama film that entertains its audience through infectious soul music and the incredible cast. The film has a lot of heart and the narrative is infused with an inherent sense of honesty.
The film mirrors a lot of African-American films where the Negros face racism and discrimination from White people and it’s a tale depicting the adversity they faced.
For example, the beginning of the film is set in a rural area in the Outback of Australia and it depicts the idyllic lifestyle for an Indigenous Australian – one where they can co-exist with nature and family.
While similar films such as Dreamgirls and The Commitments have tackled similar issues, The Sapphires differentiates itself by having a rich screenplay that also tackles inclusive themes such as a family fighting for a better life while at the same time coming to terms with their painful past – themes that all individuals have experienced as everyone has experienced hardship before. The merits of doing so is that through humour, pathos and musical choices, the narrative of this film shines because the screenplay sets the story against the historic context of Australia’s scandalous treatment of its Aboriginal population and ties the infectious and sassy elements of music with the serious and racist moments in Australian history.
The film is often praised for its stellar cast where Chris O’Dowd’s character was a great comedic device and all 4 of the main actresses turn in impressive performances that showcase not only their vocal talents, but also their ability to connect with one another and the audience. Each character had their own time and way to shine by each having clashing personalities.
However, the film needs to be criticised for having stereotypical characters. For example,
Julie: the one with the talent
Gail: the one with the chip on her shoulder
Cynthia: the one with libido
Kay: the cute and innocent one.
However, while one can use this as an example of inclusive communication because they’re relatable, it’s a criticism because the characters become stale, predictable and repetitive. Another criticism regarding the film is that the film doesn’t take risks and it does follow a standard formula.
However, this crowd pleasing film received a standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival and most critics agree that there’s a strange comfort in watching a film where any battle – from family feud to one of the bloodiest conflicts of the 20th century – can be eased by singing and dancing regardless of skin colour.