I'm unsure how to describe the film "Tideland" as it's unlike anything I've ever seen. This was a beautifully rendered portrayal of the series of oddities and tragedies that is life, through the eyes of a nine year old girl.
Granted, her reality may be odder than most, and throughout the film it becomes increasingly surreal and somewhat disturbing.
The plot is peppered with welcome moments of dark humor and touching childlike poignancy however, and the scenery is whimsical and beautiful throughout; the film takes place in tumbledown abandoned farm-houses in endless fields of tall golden grass.
Be warned that spoilers follow...
The plot of the film centers around the young heroine Jeliza-Rose (Jodelle Ferland), who is neglected and later orphaned, and the bizarre characters who enter her existence as she spends the summer fending for herself in the countryside.
Once alone, With only the heads of old Barbie dolls to keep her company, Jeliza-Rose embarks on a series of highly imagined and increasingly surreal adventures in the tall grass surrounding the farmhouse.
Terry Gilliam's delightful eccentricities certainly come out in the film, and it touches on some difficult issues, such as childhood abuse, neglect, insanity, human taxidermy (no I'm not kidding) and an increasingly inappropriate relationship between Jeliza-Rose and a mentally retarded man with the mental capacity of a nine year old.
Tideland is not for everyone. Even if you're comfortable with dark subject-matter and humor, many viewers will undoubtedly be completely off within the first 15 minutes.
It only gets darker and stranger as the film unfolds, so Tideland is certainly not for all audiences, but if you do go there, you will find a perceptive portrait of a child seeking out the simplicity, beauty and humor in a detestable and unfair reality, as a means to simply survive it.