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A man and his niece, Meredith, arrive on a remote island where a light house 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 2 boys a few years older. Harry is sociable; a smooth chatterbox with a bit of mischief and slyness in his humor and overall personality. The second keeper is a man named Fleet who is the opposite of Harry. So he's a man of few words who likes to keep to himself. As well, he seems to be wrestling with some painful issue concerning a war he served in; an issue that on occasion causes him to become delusional and behave oddly (problematic when it occurs on his watch).
Newly arrived, Meredith encounters some resentment on the part of Harry's wife, Alma, who feels he was unfairly passed over for the job of head keeper though she assures Meredith that she does not blame her personally. Alma comes across as strong and hard-working; someone who has her hands full all the time (Well why not? She has 3 children and maybe to some extent a fourth in her husband). She is no-nonsense and blunt 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 lamb she brought to the island with her. This makes Alma happy. She is a somewhat enigmatic child; and so one get's the impression that one has to be wary or tactful around her lest one say the wrong thing and she goes scurrying off to plot your untimely end (just kidding). In contrast, we do not get as good a look at her 2 brothers; only enough to determine that they are 2 scamps.
On his part, Meredith's uncle Wadsworth wastes no time laying down the law. Essentially saying to his subordinates, "It will not be business as usually. You are irresponsible slackers (the light in the light house was reported out a few times by passing ships). Your conduct will go on record. Shape up, or ship out." So we learn early in that Uncle Waddy has no sense of humor. All business all the time. Old guy treats Meredith likes she's JUST an employee (she actually is; a secretary of sorts) and not also his niece. Their relationship is formal; more so on his side since Meredith is friendly by nature. She also has a weakness in 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 understand that at the root of this friendliness is "neediness". So she's not only reaching out to you, but "pulling you in" as well to be used as a crutch of some sort; to compensate for something lacking. Perhaps a certain level of self-sufficiency that comes with maturity; the ability to deal with being alone sometimes. Meredith is not a bad person but her neediness is very strong. We see this symbolically in the baby lamb she brought to the island clutched to her bosom. This neediness can lead to thoughtlessness and selfishness wherein assuaging one's own need, or in Meredith's case, her "sense of loneliness", takes priority over all else; her sense of honor and decency; her responsibility to others.
I won't spoil it for you by saying much more. I believe I've given enough hints on how Meredith's flawed character; her neediness (appearing outwardly as excessive friendliness and kindness) get's her into trouble. This movie has a laid back pace. There's no "high drama" until around the middle, or so. And that only translated into raised voices, Meredith crying, and some leaving the island. In a nutshell, no one 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.
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