Reviewed byBoloxxxiVote: 5/10/10
A man and his niece, Meredith, arrive on a remote island where a lighthouse is situated and he is to serve as the new head lighthouse keeper("head keeper" for short). Already serving on the island are 2 keepers:A man named Harry who has a wife and 3 children; a young girl and 2boys a few years older. Harry is sociable; a smooth chatterbox with abit of mischief and slyness in his humor and overall personality. Thesecond keeper is a man named Fleet who is the opposite of Harry. Sohe's a man of few words who likes to keep to himself. As well, he seemsto be wrestling with some painful issue concerning a war he served in;an issue that on occasion causes him to become delusional and behaveoddly (problematic when it occurs on his watch).
Newly arrived, Meredith encounters some resentment on the part ofHarry's wife, Alma, who feels he was unfairly passed over for the jobof head keeper though she assures Meredith that she does not blame herpersonally. Alma comes across as strong and hard-working; someone whohas her hands full all the time (Well why not? She has 3 children andmaybe to some extent a fourth in her husband). She is no-nonsense andblunt and one has the impression that she is not a good enemy to make.
Just before encountering Alma, Meredith immediately befriends Nettie,Harry and Alma's little girl, by allowing the child to care for a lambshe brought to the island with her. This makes Alma happy. She is asomewhat enigmatic child; and so one get's the impression that one hasto be wary or tactful around her lest one say the wrong thing and shegoes scurrying off to plot your untimely end (just kidding). Incontrast, we do not get as good a look at her 2 brothers; only enoughto determine that they are 2 scamps.
On his part, Meredith's uncle Wadsworth wastes no time laying down thelaw. Essentially saying to his subordinates, "It will not be businessas usually. You are irresponsible slackers (the light in the lighthouse was reported out a few times by passing ships). Your conduct willgo on record. Shape up, or ship out." So we learn early in that UncleWaddy has no sense of humor. All business all the time. Old guy treatsMeredith likes she's JUST an employee (she actually is; a secretary ofsorts) and not also his niece. Their relationship is formal; more so onhis side since Meredith is friendly by nature. She also has a weaknessin her character suggested by this friendliness which leads to tragedy.
What to say about Meredith herself?
My impression of her is of a friendly, out-going, out-reaching person.This per se or by itself is not a bad thing. But we come to understandthat at the root of this friendliness is "neediness". So she's not onlyreaching out to you, but "pulling you in" as well to be used as acrutch of some sort; to compensate for something lacking. Perhaps acertain level of self-sufficiency that comes with maturity; the abilityto deal with being alone sometimes. Meredith is not a bad person buther neediness is very strong. We see this symbolically in the baby lambshe brought to the island clutched to her bosom. This neediness canlead to thoughtlessness and selfishness wherein assuaging one's ownneed, or in Meredith's case, her "sense of loneliness", takes priorityover all else; her sense of honor and decency; her responsibility toothers.
I won't spoil it for you by saying much more. I believe I've givenenough hints on how Meredith's flawed character; her neediness(appearing outwardly as excessive friendliness and kindness) get's herinto trouble. This movie has a laid back pace. There's no "high drama"until around the middle, or so. And that only translated into raisedvoices, Meredith crying, and some leaving the island. In a nutshell, noone stabbed or shot anyone, ---or held anyone for ransom (Damn it!).Anyone who likes "relationship drama" will enjoy it much more, I think.Possibly women more than men, though I don't want to stereotype. Love,Boloxxxi.
Reviewed byTim JohnsonVote: 10/10/10
D and I watched this terrific film yesterday afternoon and we bothshared similar thoughts about its quality. This film, about a youngwoman sent with her administrative uncle to "clean up" the operation ofa very remote lighthouse is truly an iconic Australian film. I amreasonably familiar with the world's cinema and can therefore(modestly) make judgments about the types of film produced by variouscountries and South Solitary is a movie that is Australian through andthrough. Our movies are gutsy, perhaps rough, slice-of-life movies. Thebig budget Hollywood types (like Australia) are exceptions to this ruleand do not easily sit well with the norm or at least the norm as I seeit. Films like Japanese Story, Jindabyne, Oyster Farmer, Beautiful Kateand Last Ride are just a few of the many introspective movies that ourfilm industry produces and that Diane and I anticipate eagerly and nowwe can add South Solitary to this list of, dare I say, brilliantmovies. I know of no other country that produces films of this nature;films that are strangely uplifting in their context. The film's ending,with no Hollywood tears, is perfect. See this film and do not judge itby the standards for which we have been smothered by a foreign culture.South Solitary is rich with feelings that all of us can recognize and Iwould unconditionally recommend it.
Set in 1928, Meredith is a 35 year-old unmarried woman who arrives at a remote lighthouse island with her uncle, the new head keeper.