Can I have a quick word with you about forgiveness? Not for me, you understand – I’ve nothing to apologise for – but the forgiveness we show to films we love, forgiveness for cinematic transgressions that would kill our enjoyment for lesser works. Let’s take as an example Wayne Blair’s The Sapphires. The storytelling is occasionally clunky – important plot points are delivered by telephone or messenger like a helpful deus ex machina – and some of the supporting cast don’t appear to know what movie they are in. Its ambitions push hard at the seams of the budget constraints and occasionally burst them revealing the thin lining inside. But the film has such a big heart and so much love for its characters that those flaws are easy to overlook and getting swept along on seems like the easiest and best option.
It’s 1968 and war is raging in Southeast Asia while the American civil rights battle is tearing America apart. Meanwhile in sleepy Cummeragunga NSW, the aboriginal McRae sisters sing country and western standards to unappreciative white pub audiences and dream of fame and fortune in the big city. Discovered by failed cruise ship entertainments officer Dave Lovelace (Chris O’Dowd), they set their sights on entertaining the troops in Vietnam but to do that they have to embrace some soul roots and get over some long-suppressed family issues.