The action starts in the outback. We see some really cool Aborigines and friends living their lives. Three Black girls love to sing. They sing country & western tunes. They enter an amateur contest in town -- and lose. The emcee is a dude who pretty much lives in his car. He's Dave Lovelace (Chris O'Dowd). He digs the girls who lost and feels that they lost because they're Black. He talks to them, learns that they want to play for the troops in Vietnam and wisely tells them to add some funk to their repertoire. Stop with the country & western tunes. Embrace Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and James Brown. Says Dave, "If you wanna perform for the brothers in Vietnam, you gotta give 'em soul."
There's the fourth voice the girls need. She's been accused of being a "coconut" -- acting like she's white on the inside. She's light-skinned and has passed for white. When you know all of this, you can understand why watching the news about Dr. Martin Luther King on TV was just as important to these four Australian women as it was to Black Americans soldiers in Saigon. Dave, by the way, was right. Nothing wrong with country & western. But when The Sapphires discover Motown, the act takes off. Here's a clip from THE SAPPHIRES now available on Netflix.
There are lessons learned about friendship, race, love and soul music in THE SAPPHIRES. This film started off as a popular play in Australia. You see lovely photos of the four women who inspired the play and film in the closing credits. This warm-hearted movie runs about 1 hour 45 minutes -- and it put a smile on my face. Happy Holidays.