3.5 stars
Overall Grade
3.5 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
4.5 Stars
HD Video Quality
3.5 Stars
HD Audio Quality
5 Stars
1 Stars
High-Def Extras
0 Stars
Bottom Line

The Sapphires

Street Date:
August 6th, 2013
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
August 22nd, 2013
Movie Release Year:
Starz/Anchor Bay
99 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

'The Sapphires' was one of the better films of 2012 that most people missed. It's a true underdog movie that deserves to be seen by everyone. It's characters, message, and music truly inspire. Director Wayne Blair has re-created this true-life story of music, sisterhood, and love very well. You can categorize this is as an older coming-of-age story as we see four women, who are persecuted for their nationality and culture, overcome difficult odds to achieve their dream of singing for a good cause. It's a film that you won't soon forget, and one that you'll want to buy the soundtrack to.

First set in Australia during the 1950s and 60s, three Australian Aboriginal sisters try to get through school and life without being ridiculed or hurt. Back in that time, the Aboriginal population was going through a civil rights movement of their own, similar to the U.S.A.'s movement at the same time period. The three sisters Gail (Deborah Mailman), Julie (Jessica Mauboy), and Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell) all love to sing together and decide to perform at a talent show in town. Even though they are the best act there, they aren't voted the winners due to discrimination.

Although, a fast-talking up and coming talent agent named Dave Lovelace (Chris O'Dowd) thinks these three girls could be a huge hit, decides to represent them, and suggests they move into the R&B style of music, rather than the old fashioned music they're used to singing. The girls then come across one of their cousins Kay (Shari Sebbens) and the four of them form the band 'The Sapphires.' The four girls then persuade Lovelace to set up their act to travel to Vietnam so they can perform for the soldiers. As they travel from base to base in a foreign land riddled with brutal war, the girls not only discover their talent for singing together, but discover themselves, love, lies, and the highs and lows of life.

The film reminds me a little of 'Remember the Titans as we see a group of people who are heavily discriminated against, but form a band or team that becomes the best in the business, to which most people stand up and praise their success. There isn't much in the way of twists or turns in this film, but the characters and the music out shine everything else. The chemistry between the girls is so realistic that you'd think they actually grew up together, complete with all of the good and bad moments. You'll want to spend more time with them, even after the end credits have rolled. Chris O'Dowd proves once again he is a force to be reckoned with onscreen and is so likable that you would hire him to be your friend and manager.

'The Sapphires' is worth your time and then some. The mix between the uplifting scenes of self-discovery and music, with the intense battle scenes is handled flawlessly. The music will make you get up and dance and the acting is incredible. This little film should have made more money than it did. It deserves to be seen by all.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

'The Sapphires' has a wonderful 1080p HD transfer presented in the 2:40:1 aspect ratio. The detail looks great with explicit facial textures showing the actor's pores and wrinkles, along with fine clothing detail. You can make out every sequin in the girls' stage costumes. The backgrounds of the early 60s landscapes of Australia are rich with color and provide some good depth.

Even the military base camp scenes are rich with color, with several shades of green or displayed with the blue skies and ammunition fire going off all around. It all looks very pleasing. The blacks are deep and inky here as well. While the film is sharp looking, it also has a filmic quality. There is a touch of light banding from time to time with a shade of motion blur. Other than that, the picture looks very good. A solid video presentation.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

This release has an amazing lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix that sounds great. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand, with no evidence of pops, cracks, or hissing. The vocals in their songs sound crisp and clear as well. The ambient noises of people cheering and nature and war sounds come out of the surrounds very nicely.

During war scenes, with bombs going off and helicopters flying overhead, the surrounds get a heavy workout that kicks the bass into high gear.The soundtrack is full and alive from start to finish and provides very rich sound. It's as if you're almost there live, listening to The Sapphires. This audio presentation is one of the better ones around and free of any compression issues.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

  • The Making of 'The Sapphires' (HD, 10 mins) - Here is a short look at the making of the film that features the cast and crew talking about the origins of the story, the real life band, and the production of the film. Worth a look, but much too short.
  • Interview with the Original Sapphires (HD, 6 mins) - The original members of the band discuss their memories with Tony Briggs.
  • The Music of 'The Sapphires' with Jessica Mauboy (HD, 6 mins) - Jessica talks about the film's music and influence.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are no HD exclusives.

Final Thoughts

'The Sapphires' is a feel good film that is highly entertaining and features some award-worthy performances. The music is amazing too. The Blu-ray features a solid video presentation and exceptional audio. Extras are slim, but based on the film alone, this one comes recommended.

Technical Specs

  • 25GB Blu-ray Disc + DVD

Video Resolution/Codec

  • "1080p"/AVC MPEG-4

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 2:40:1

Audio Formats

  • English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1


  • English
  • Spanish


  • The Making of 'The Sapphires'
  • Interview with the Original Sapphires
  • The Music of 'The Sapphires' with Jessica Mauboy

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