Based on the true story of a group of women who end up in a Japanese internment camp in Sumatra during WWII, Bruce Beresford's film is evidence that history does not always fit comfortably into a cinematic format. Appalled by the camp's brutal conditions, the musicians among them form the others into a choir to bolster their morale. The essential problem with the script is its lack of tension and narrative drive. While the women endure suffering admirably, this is not quite enough to maintain one's interest. Had Beresford explored relationships among the women prisoners, which must have been fascinating, he would likely have made a more absorbing film. Nonetheless, the impressive cast, which includes Glenn Close, Cate Blanchett, Julianna Margulies, Frances McDormand, and Pauline Collins, give performances that are a tribute to the courage of the women they play.