The two characters around whom the human story circles are Ivy
and Lucius,although there are plenty of other plot lines to follow. Ivy's a strong character, well written, well played. Lucius is also well written and well played. They are believable together. She is sharp, sweet, gentle, kind, tart, and capable. He is quiet, gentle, altruistic, and strong.
There's a scene wherein a warning bell is ringing, and the villagers are running for safety. Something has entered the boundaries, and they have bolt-holes to hunker down in. In this scene, Ivy is standing in the doorway, on the threshold between light, warmth, and safety, and the mysterious, chilling dark. Hand outstretched, she waits. She is blind, so she cannot see the creature, blurred in the background, approaching her. She is waiting for Lucius. Her sister is begging her to come inside, not to let "them" in, but Ivy insists that Lucius is out there, in the night, and she won't back down.
At the last possible moment, just before the creature can touch her, the camera is focused tight on Ivy's strong hand, held still and graceful out to the darkness. Lucius's hand is suddenly there, grasping Ivy's with a smack. He has run to be with her. He pulls her into the house, bars the door, and goes down into the safety of the bolt-hole, all while holding her hand. A viola plays in the background, sweet, soaring, urgent. Lucius never lets Ivy go.
I cry every time I see that scene or hear the music (I own the soundtrack because? Beautiful.). Every time.
There is something primal about it, about the urgency, the steadfast faith, the need to protect and be protected, the connection of the hands, connection of body and spirit, of joining fates.
If you have never known a moment in your life where you wished someone would take your hand and lead you to safety...then I envy you. If you have never known with a surety that soemone would be there for you...then I pity you.
Yeah, it's just a movie...but I'll watch it again, and cry again...although perhaps not as wistfully as I once did...