- Director:Shirley Barrett
- Cast:Rohan Nichol , Marton Csokas, Barry Otto, Miranda Otto
- Release Date:July 29, 2010
- Running time:120 minutes
- Film Worth:$10.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
While the windswept locations are dramatic and the performances are touching, this simple story is too drawn out to be completely compelling.
Fourteen years after Shirley Barrett won the Camera d'Or (Best First Film) in Cannes for Love Serenade, the writer-director is back with South Solitary. Miranda Otto stars alongside her father, Barry Otto, in this romantic drama set in the late twenties. After suffering through heartbreak and scandal at home, Meredith Appleton (Miranda Otto) follows her uncle, George Wadsworth (Barry Otto), to the lonely, windswept South Solitary Island. George is taking charge of the lighthouse, and is hell bent on improving the performance of its keepers.
Of the few other residents living on the island, assistant lighthouse keeper, Harry (Rohan Nichol), is the most welcoming. Harry's wife, Alma (Essie Davis), is not as nice, and is suspicious about why Meredith is unmarried and childless at 35-years-old. Their daughter, Nettie (Annie Martin), is a spoiled brat, despite Meredith's best attempts to win her over. The other lighthouse keeper, Fleet (Marton Csokas), is a fellow lonely character, but is still shell-shocked from the war, and is not the best company.
Miranda Otto is sweet as the upbeat Meredith, who tries her best to remain positive throughout everything that is thrown at her. The other characters, however, are quite unpleasant, and impossible to warm to. If this were an episode of Survivor, they would have been voted off the island.
The film's production design, however, is beautiful, and the twenties costumes look lovely when set against the harsh terrain of the island. Filmed in southern Victoria, the location looks picturesque, though unforgiving. The characters living on South Solitary Island are constantly battered with gale-force winds and torrential rain, making living there extremely tough. The romance that develops evokes themes of lonely ships passing in the night, where two lost souls huddle together for warmth. But the simple story is a little too drawn out over the lengthy two hour running time to be completely compelling from start to finish.