Last week, B and I (and a close friend of ours) went to see The Sapphires. And I don't know about the other two, but I thought it was excellent! I had high expectations of this film, and it did not disappoint at all.
The film is set in 1968, and follows a quartet of singers (Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell) from a remote Aboriginal mission, who are discovered by soul-loving manager (Chris O'Dowd). They start out briefly singing country and western, but Dave - the manager - steers them in the direction of soul classics like I Heard I Through The Grapevine, What A Man, Who's Lovin' You, and Sugar Pie Honey Bunch. The girl group take their act to auditions in Melbourne and are picked up - to sing for the troops in Vietnam.
But one thing I liked about this film is that these issues are carefully woven in amongst the charm, present but not overpowering. The film doesn't shy away from portraying racism and oppression, and the damage caused is visible. But it's presented in a way that's almost matter-of-fact, and the characters don't lose hope or succumb. They refuse to be victims, they take the opportunities they get, and they have fun as often as possible. These women are strong, confident and most importantly of all, they care about each other. They want better lives, they want to be in love; I really liked the message here. I thought this film was well balanced between real-world issues and the idealised fun of the musical genre.
So, overall? Go see The Sapphires. It's a charming, fun film, with a fantastic soundtrack and a real-world background.