28 March 2013 6:52 AM, PDT | Pop2it | See recent Pop2it news »

"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.

Gail, given a sneering fierceness by Deborah Mailman of "Bran Nue Day" and "Rabbit-Proof Fence," plays guitar and bosses sister Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell) around. They're off to a town talent show, »

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