South Solitary

DRAMA; 2hr 1min

STARRING: Miranda Otto, Marton Csokas, Barry Otto

Carry-on baggage: Miranda Otto

If the punitive conditions on South Solitary Island are anything to go by, lighthouse keepers have shaved ice in their veins. Arriving there in 1927 as indentured labour for her judgmental, old-womanish uncle (Barry Otto), 35-year-old spinster Meredith Appleton (Miranda Otto, Barry’s daughter) resolves to stay positive in windswept isolation that would freeze, then fell, an ox.


She appears to be the primly chipper sort, but Meredith is a sad pushover where men are concerned. So when unhappy circumstances strand her on the island with taciturn war veteran and assistant keeper Fleet (Csokas, glumly labouring a local yokel accent), it’s a case of two sad sacks in forsaken solitude with the worst weather imaginable to man howl-howl-howling outside. (And yes, it’s exactly as oppressive as it sounds.) Writer-director Shirley Barrett (Love Serenade) obviously has a thing for the harsh beauty and cruel exigencies of a bare-bones existence. But when the highlight of an emerging relationship is a trip to an outhouse in a gale, there’s nowhere to go but home.