"The Sapphires" is an unpolished gem of a musical, a dramedy with a familiar '60s girl-group-on-the-rise story pasted over a backdrop of Australian racism and America's long war in Vietnam.
It's a tribute to the filmmakers (director Wayne Blair, working from a Tony Briggs and Keith Thompson script) that this confection often manages to connect the jaunty, sassy musical elements to the serious comment on Australian history.
A prologue captures a group of Aboriginal girls singing for family and friends in the Outback of the 1950s. This was an era when Australia routinely "stole" light-skinned aboriginal children to be raised in institutions and taught "white ways." So that quartet, when we next see them 10 years later, is only a trio.
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