The story tells Hans Christian Andersen life, all the joys and sorrows of it. Yet it's as surrealistic as it can get. Andersen is haunted by his very own dark spirit, which is represented by a thin, shady figure, called the "long shadow". It follows His owners every step, and leaves him restless. He lives, and actually "dies" with him (the last scenes of the film are quite enigmatic).
This is a story about divided, shattered person. Even though, the characters seem quite normal, the background makes up for it. At night, there's darkness, which makes everything shady and dark, and you don't know which shadow could be THAT one, and the daytime, shadows are just much too sharp (some of these scenes reminded me on the anime: Lain). All in all: not a kids cartoon. Not even for all adults. Its a really sad, surrealistic, slow and combined story (and a truly European one too), and the whole movie looks like it's been filmed in the 80's. But if you're in to these kind of things, and you're interested in a tale, that really holds a grip on you, than give it a try.