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South Solitary

South Solitary (Shirley Barrett, 2010) Marton Csokas, Miranda Otto, Barry Otto; romance drama

Shirley Barrett, cheerful soul, has directed quite a bit of TV, and three features: Love Serenade (1996), Walk the Talk (2000) and now South Solitary (2010), the first and last with Miranda Otto. The stuntman fell to his death in her first feature, and I was surprised to see her get another gig with Walk the Talk, which was disappointing in itself (despite the dependable Sacha Horler). South Solitary (written by the director, as were both of the others) has some of the best features of Love Serenade (which I like very much indeed) and is an even better film in many ways. I’m very pleased to see Barrett back on the big screen.

Shirley Barrett has only made two previous features and I really like them both: Love Serenade (1996) and Walk the Talk (2000). She has an acute view of life, is strongly observant and directs actors with sensitivity. South Solitary is her first stumble ... While the film is subtle, nuanced and playfully charming at times, it lacks the scale and the dynamics to engage on the big screen for two hours. Andrew Urban, Urban Cinefile.

Shirley Barrett is a remarkable film-maker who has only made three features in the last 15 years; her first, Love Serenade, which also starred Miranda Otto, won the Camera D'Or for Best First Film at Cannes, but her second, Walk the Talk, made in 2000, was underrated and has been little seen. South Solitary is a rather more serious variation on Love Serenade; like that film, it involves a triangular situation taking place in a remote setting ... here it's an island and involves a lonely woman and two men. But Barrett's very particular vision is consistent; her characters are flawed, damaged, troubled - and yet they're basically optimistic and there's a good deal of incidental humour, with some very wry dialogue. David Stratton, At the Movies, ABC TV. 

Garry Gillard | New: 25 October, 2012 | Now: 29 June, 2020