South Solitary: Avoid this arthouse crud if at all possible

I went to see this movie owing to a misunderstanding. I heard that the director had directed Love Serenade and having enjoyed that, and hearing that this movie was good, and wanting to see a movie, I went along.

The premise is, well, dull.  A woman and her uncle settle into a barely inhabited island to run a lighthouse. There is one other family on the island with a few kids, and then there are a few other people dotted around on the island for reasons that are not clear.

Miranda Otto is the woman and Barry Otto is her uncle (I think he’s her father in real life).  Things go badly with the other family because the wife is a pushy, unpleasant relentlessly unreceptive person who isn’t nice to Miranda. Then Miranda has a pathetic affair with the husband. This ends badly.

Virtually nothing of interest happens, though someone dies. No real connection is made with anyone except Miranda who plays a pathetic, well intentioned but insecure character.  We left the cinema after nearly two hours with Miranda going to the dunny in a gale with the walls of the outhouse having blown away. Not sure why we needed to be shown this, not as they say on Jerry Seinfeld, that there’s anything wrong with going to the dunny in a naked outhouse in a gale.

If I were to look for a psychological explanation for why it has been quite well reviewed, I would say that it is perfectly well acted and executed, and there’s a nasty young girl who Miranda meets who is a top notch little actor. Perhaps reviewers flatter themselves that it’s a very ‘quirky’ and ‘real’ film.  So is the trip to the dunny, but trust me, nothing happens.

This movie is very very dull.  Very very very dull.

Oh and the misunderstanding.  The movie I enjoyed was not Love Serenade. It was Hotel de Love which was a lot of fun.

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11 years ago

I made up my mind not to bother seeing South Solitary prior to reading this post. David Stratten had similar reservations on the At the Movies show on ABC TV. I would love to see a decent Australian movie and try to keep an open mind toward or despite reviews. But too often I find reviewers couching their doubts in the old euphemistic favourites…magnificent settings…costumes…interesting plot.
Animal Kingdom got better than usual treatment from reviews so off I went in the hope of something memorable. Alas I found it disjointed, inexplicably based around a real crime event (Stanley street massacre) with a terrible musical score suggesting menace and characters that you just could not empathise with, particularly the young lead. The dialogue of characters who appeared and as quickly disappeared from the film was sparse. I might have enjoyed a good dunny scene for settings sake at the end of this despairing effort but no such luck.