Read It When I'm Not Around: The Critic Reviews The Sapphires

“It’s 1968, and four young, talented Australian Aboriginal girls learn about love, friendship and war when their all girl group The Sapphires entertain the US troops in Vietnam.” This film was far more than IMDB or really it’s own trailer gave it credit for. Just like Soul music, it may look glamorous and fun on the outside, but right down deep is so much more passion, story and personality than you would have otherwise expected. This critic will be wading through that tale for a long time to come.

I loved this film. It was a little slow to start but actually it taught me something and stayed with me as many other based-on-true-events films do (for example, The Mission, Cry Freedom, both are worth watching). This film deals with so much and yet didn’t feel dragged out. It looked at the lives of 4 girls, three sisters plus a soul sister, who are aboriginal and live with their family… except one doesn’t anymore. One was taken away as a young girl as she looked white enough to be taught how to be “better”. Yeah, that’s one of the first pain-inducing moments.

Reunited through singing they are offered the opportunity to sing to the troops in Vietnam, which means as well as the glamorous tours, men swooning and flirting with them, being all loved up, etc, they also drive past bodies, have to run from bombs, and have the difficult situation of being fired on whilst in one of the camps. This film resonated with me not for all those reasons, but for the fact that one of these women was Mama Bear. She had gone through s**t, but she still came out fighting and trying to defend those she cares about. All this set alongside a slightly awkward and yet beautiful love story was amazing. Bear didn’t enjoy it that much, but meh, I did!

Oh yeah, take some tissues!

It has also started a bit of a mission to find out a bit more about our Australian cousins and the cultures that were there before Europeans landed on them and started bossing people about. I found one site that looks pretty cool, so have a look if you’re interested.. maybe a trip is required ay!

Rating: 3/5

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