I will say that this has been one of my favorite movies of the year. I suppose the main reason it becomes my favorite is because it does such a good job mixing light-heart-ed comedy and depth!
This is about 4 young girls who want to become a girl band. This is by no means an easy feat for any group so young. But this is an universal story among many who are young. After all, I am sure a lot of us know at least one person who started a band in their garage!
It contains some great light-hearted story lines. There is the sister who dreams of kissing a boy in her dreams; there is the story of the youngest, whom the mother won’t let out of her sight; then there is the story of the father who won’t let any of them out of their sight-especially with a “Gubber” ( white) man; then there is the story of the oldest sister who serves as the “mama bear” of the group- but who cannot be the leader in singing; then there is the light skinned outsider of the girl group who is still seen by some with suspicion.
But as the above paragraph indicates– there is a lot of heaviness in some of those classic light- heart-ed elements you might find in stories of people.
The mother and father not only want to let their daughters out of sight because they are young- but because they are entering a war zone in Vietnam! In addition, the Aboringial Australians are quite hated by the Whites in Australia. A taxi never waits for them. Nobody ever claps for them at a concert-except for one naive White boy. And the outsider of the group Mel, didn’t become an outsider necessarily out of her own volition. She became one do to the cruel entity of Australia’s past- The Stolen Generations. This is when Australian authorities stormed into Aboriginal households to steal. Not to steal gold, money, goods ( as Lovelace’s character naively asks) but their most precious resource of all- the children. Well, the fair skinned children. So Mel was kidnapped and years later she came back for her mother’s funeral in the Aboriginal community- where she said, ” You know you guys could do so much better if you properly fished these waters.” Some in her community, especially her cousins in the girl group- hold that against her. Of course her Mama bear cousin Gail.. eventually gets in a fight with her about it.
Some other interesting twists to this story are that you often hear about Black young girls in the US who started groups in the 1960s. That’s what the Supremes were about. Martha and the Vandallas. The Dreamgirls musical. The Dreamgirls movie. Even Whitney Houston’s last movie-Sparkle was about that. But when do you hear about other Black ethnicities wanting to start a group like that. I have never heard of one such group in the 1960′s coming from England. France. And until this, oceania.
On top of that this movie tackles some other cultures. These girls are going to an Asian country to perform for American men. The movie, didn’t make this a big issue but I thought that it was interesting that they didn’t experience any discrimination from any Viets while they were there. I was also surprised that they didn’t experience more discrimination from the Americans . Except for one scene, there wasn’t any discrimination that the girls faced from White men. I would even say, that some of the Whites had crushes on them! Even the Blacks didn’t question them about their Blackness or made an issue about how they were “different” blacks.
But in perhaps the greatest moments come from the race-bending that happens in this movie. Or rather I should say the race-bending lines. These girls started out mostly singing county and western music. Then White Dan Lovelace says Country and western sings sad music an about a struggle. But soul he said was about struggle, but the people who sang about it, owned and conquered the soul. It was powerful hearing his explanation. I should add that Chris O Dowd’s acting made this character’s performance really seem like he understood soul. The way he got into it.. it exuded soul through the screen.,, as if soul had a texture. I will add, that it was funny seeing him trying to explain a genre of music that many might not associate with his race. I say kudos to him, because music belongs to everyone and everyone in does music is inspired by this colorless entity! The girls however question how he knows all this, and he says, I have afro blood in me. I am not sure he did though… but there were definitely many other racial and ethnic bending.
In sum, this is a good movie to see since it has many typical family situations, light-heart-ed comical lines combined with a deep history of a rarely heard of ethnicity in the US. So please see it. Please take a break from finals and go see it. If you are graduating.. go and take your parents to see it! I will say that this a great movie to end my artscene year with. I have loved writing this year as an artscene writer.critic. Thank you all the readers who made this possible.