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The Sapphires Review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0
    67

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times

    The Sapphires is clearly a labor of love for all involved. It's also a warm tribute to four women for whom success as performers was just the beginning.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    A potent combination of rousing music, appealing performances and an uplifting story renders this film-festival favorite nearly impossible to resist.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Nell Minow

    The Sapphires is clearly a labor of love for all involved. It's also a warm tribute to four women for whom success as performers was just the beginning.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    An exuberant celebration of Aboriginality that fizzes with humor and heart; its soulfulness goes beyond the embrace of a jukebox full of Motown, Stax and Atlantic Records hits.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    The Sapphires isn't flawless, but who cares? It's a joyous affair that's distinguished by its music, and by the buoyant spirit of its stars.

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  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    The Sapphires is a movie for your heart (and your ears and moneymaker), not your head.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Sapphires reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 13+

Interesting true story has good music, not enough soul.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Sapphires is a fact-based musical drama about an Aboriginal singing group that went to Vietnam in the 1960s to entertain the soldiers. In addition to themes of teamwork and following your dreams, it deals with the immoral practice of whites taking light-skinned Aboriginal children away from their families to be re-educated and raised as whites. Sexuality is probably the biggest content issue here, though most of it involves romantic flirting and kissing, with only one scene of real sexual suggestion. There's one scene of Vietnam War-related violence, with shooting and explosions, plus some mild fighting and a little bit of blood. Language includes infrequent use of words like "s--t," "t--s," and the "N" word. And the main male character is a heavy drinker, getting drunk and suffering from a comical hangover in some scenes. Many characters smoke cigarettes (accurate for the era).

  • Families can talk about The Sapphires' sexuality. How much of it is romantic, and how much of it is erotic? Does it ever cross the line? 
  • How does the movie portray the whites' treatment of the Aborigines? Do you think it's accurate? How could you find out more? What did you learn about Aboriginal culture from this movie?
  • What's the allure of fame? Why would these girls have gone to such a dangerous place in search of it?
  • How does the movie depict drinking? Are there any realistic consequences?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: Though the bulk of the movie is about achieving fame and falling in love, there are some interesting human rights themes in the margins. One is about the "stolen generation" of Aboriginal children in Australia; light-skinned children were seized from their families to be raised in white schools and taught "white ways." The movie takes into account some of these racially themed tensions. Other themes include the benefits of hard work and teamwork.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: The four female singers show how hard work and teamwork can bring rewards, though very often the main focus of their work is on achieving fame and success. During the end credits, viewers learn that the real-life women never became famous. Instead, they all went to work in their community, living fulfilling lives and trying to make the world a better place for Aborigines.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: An attack sequence in Vietnam includes bombs going off and bullets flying. One of the main characters is hit, but it's seen only from a distance. A little blood is shown. Two of the girls punch each other in the face in one scene; one gets a bloody lip. A gun is introduced but never fired. In a tense flashback, white officials descend upon an Aboriginal village, intending to take any light-skinned children. The girls sing in a Vietnam hospital for wounded soldiers, and viewers see missing limbs, etc. There's a news report about the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Lots of kissing, and one of the singers is especially flirty with many men, though she's never in any danger. In one scene, she's shown kissing and straddling her prone boyfriend, though they're both fully clothed. Many other romantic scenes of flirting and kissing, though there's really very little sexual innuendo, sexuality, or nudity.

  • language false3

    Language: "S--t" is used occasionally, as are the "N" word, "t-ts," "d--k," "ass," "crap," "hell," "damn," and "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation). Additionally, there's some regional slang, such as "gobshite," "shite," "arse," and "rack off," plus insults like "moron" and "goat face."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The main male character is seen drinking (beer and whisky) and drunk fairly often. He wakes up with a comical hangover the first time he's on screen. He gets very drunk during a card game with some soldiers, which results in his making a mistake. He also smokes cigarettes, as do many of the background characters -- which is accurate for the era.

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