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3 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Terry Gilliam

Written By:
Terry Gilliam, Mitch Cullin

Jodelle Ferland, Jeff Bridges, Brendan Fletcher, Janet McTeer, Jennifer Tilly

Buy on DVD
Tideland (2006)
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Movie Review by Jenny
April 20th, 2007

The DVD begins with a warning from director Terry Gilliam. He says that most people won't get it, but he hopes a few will. He says that the film is very disturbing, but you have to put yourself in the little girl's shoes. The entire film is from her perspective, and you have to imagine the sense of wonder that a child has about everything. He ends by telling us that he's finally found his inner voice, and it's a little girl.

Begins with a warning from the director? I like it already.

"Tideland" centers around a little girl Jeliza Rose, played amazingly by Jodelle Ferland (Silent Hill, The Messengers), whose mother, Jennifer Tilly, dies in the beginning of the film. Jeliza Rose then goes to live with her father, Jeff Bridges, out in the country. She helps her father "go on vacation" i.e. shoot up heroin that she's cooked for him, and he falls asleep. Jeliza Rose happily prances around the house, in the attic, and outside in the fields with her best friends: 4 doll heads that have distinctive voices (all voiced by Jodelle Ferland) and distinctive personalities.

During her escapades, she meets a "ghost" lady who lives nearby named Dell, and her mentally challenged and epileptic brother Dickens. Jeliza Rose quickly makes Dell her best friend, and Dickens her husband, all while her father is "on vacation" in the rocking chair in the living room of her house.

I didn't know what to think of this movie. After it ended, I was left with a feeling of "huh". I was hoping that after I slept on it, a revolution would come to me and I would love this film. It's the kind of movie that I would really like. It has the potential to be a kind of "Goonies" for grown ups, what with the adult themes seen through the eyes of a child, but it just falls short. I loved the imagery, especially the fireflies being seen as fairies. There's a really funny quote from Jeliza Rose, while thinking perhaps the squirrel that has infested her attic might be a fairy, she rules that out by saying, "Squirrel butts don't glow". The child-like imagination of Jeliza Rose and Dickens is intriguing as well. For example, the two of them are always trying to capture the "monster shark" i.e. the train that runs by their houses, and they're always putting "bait" on the train tracks. Dickens is also a "captain of a submarine" and walks around with flippers and goggles. You really feel for their innocence, thus the adult situations around them are intensified to the audience.

I suppose, now that I reflect on it, that I really did like "Tideland". "Huh"... I don't think it's one that I would recommend to many people though. No, I wouldn't recommend it. If you're a fan of weird, bizarre, indie movies, then by all means, it deserves checking out.

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Apr 20, 2007 10:09 AM
This was the movie that Gilliam really wanted to make and not THE BROTHERS GRIMM. But he pulled out a studio pleaser out of his back pocket - in a sense - just to shut up the executives.
Zombie Boy
May 29, 2007 6:09 PM
The only reason Bull Murray did Ghostbusters was to get The Razor's Edge green-lit. Green-lighted? Whatever.

The Alpha Craig
Jan 4, 2010 3:50 PM
What made this easier for me to accept was just realizing that Jeliza didn't understand the true nature of pretty much everything going on around her. Helping her father shoot up, in her mind, must have been helping him take medicine. Him be dead in the rocking chair was just him sleeping. Del having sex with the grocery delivery boy was her being a vampire and attacking him. It is hard to let go of the cold rigid reality in favor of sweet ignorance, but it allows you to enjoy this movie on a different level.

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