In our predictions/wishlist yesterday for what we hope will appear at the Telluride Film Festival this weekend, we tossed out a mention to “The Sapphires,” the Aussie comedy that The Weinstein Company picked up before the Cannes Film Festival this year, where it premiered. It’s currently not on their calendar, but we’d wager it’s an awards season wild card Harvey has up his sleeve. Telluride would be a good place to test the waters, and certainly the reception out of TIFF will play a big role as well, but now you can see for yourself if this movie has the goods to go the distance as a new trailer has dropped.
Based on a true story, the story follows a group made up of four Aboriginal girls who fight against the odds and prejudice to sing for the troops in Vietnam. It has everything you’d want in an Oscar contender — musical numbers, Important Issues, humor and heart — but as noted in our review from the Croisette, it sells a lot of things short too. In fact, the opening of this trailer gives you an idea of this, with the “because we’re black” comment quickly being scrubbed away by the rejoiner, “it’s because you’re ugly.” Basically, the film brings up a lot of interesting thematic elements but never gives them their due.
However, the one bright spot and perhaps biggest asset to the film is Chris O’Dowd as the group’s usually drunken manager. Yes, he’s absolutely hilarious in the part but he also shows a great range and depth, and even when the movie isn’t working, his presence powers much of it. And we will say that the audience we saw it with in Cannes ate it up.
“The Sapphires” hits TIFF in a couple of weeks, but there’s no release date just yet. Check out the trailer below.