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Tideland (2005)

2:05 | Trailer
Because of the actions of her irresponsible parents, a young girl is left alone on a decrepit country estate and survives inside her fantastic imagination.


Terry Gilliam


Tony Grisoni (screenplay), Terry Gilliam (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Jodelle Ferland ... Jeliza-Rose / Voices of Sateen Lips, Glitter Gal, Mustique and Baby Blonde
Janet McTeer ... Dell
Brendan Fletcher ... Dickens
Jennifer Tilly ... Queen Gunhilda
Jeff Bridges ... Noah
Dylan Taylor ... Patrick
Wendy Anderson Wendy Anderson ... Woman / Squirrel's Voice
Sally Crooks Sally Crooks ... Dell's Mother


Pre-teen Jeliza-Rose's parents are hopeless drug addicts. When pa, rocker Noah, finds ma's OD'd, he fears to be charged with homicide and takes Jeliza along to his ma's place, in a desolate country region. With Noah dead in his chair, the girl mentally transfers to a fantasy world she and her doll heads enter magically. Jeliza's adventures also star the crazy locals, notably Dell, and Dell's grown but intellectually disabled brother Dickens. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The squirrels made it seem less lonely


Drama | Fantasy | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for bizarre and disturbing content, including drug use, sexuality, and gruesome situations - all involving a child, and for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Recorded Picture Company


UK | Canada



Release Date:

11 August 2006 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Tideland See more »


Box Office


$19,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,276, 15 October 2006

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Brendan Fletcher was hired to play Dickens before Terry Gilliam had ever met him. In an interview, Gilliam said he had seen Fletcher's work on tape, and had been impressed enough to cast him. See more »


The map of Jutland misspells the West Jutland harbor city of Esbjerg as Ebsjerg. See more »


Jeliza-Rose: They were kissers.
See more »


Referenced in The Making of 'Tideland' (2007) See more »


Lift Me Up To Sweet Jesus
Music by Todd Bryanton and Rob Bryanton
Lyrics by Mitch Cullin
See more »

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User Reviews

Terry Gilliam and the state of the art
31 December 2009 | by milocSee all my reviews

Having watched Terry Gilliam's Tideland just a few hours ago, I sat down to write a review and find that I can't. I'm still too angry.

Not at Gilliam, no. I am angry because I half-dreaded turning on the movie to begin with. Critics largely reviled Tideland on its (minimal) American release -- Rotten Tomatoes calculates its positive receptions at 27%. And a fair number of online commentators, even fans of the director, have branded the movie as "awful," "a mess," "disappointing," etc., etc. So, while I felt interest in Tideland, I put off watching it. The reviews made me wary and I hated to see Gilliam flop. But today it came from Netflix and I thought, why not, and popped it in.

And now I am angry -- angry because I cannot believe this beautiful, scary, funny, mesmerizing, heart-wrenching movie is the same one discussed in all those reviews. Have I stumbled on some unique director's cut that no one else got to see? Or have I misunderstood the purpose of movies?

At the beginning of the movie Gilliam himself appears, in black-and-white, like Edward Van Sloan at the beginning of Frankenstein, to inform us that we may find the movie shocking, but that it should be seen as through the eyes of a child -- innocent. One can take this prologue either as a bold stroke or a move of desperation, but either way, he's right. Little Jeliza Rose (played by an astounding Jodelle Ferland) goes through absolute hell, set adrift in a bare landscape by a heroin-addicted father (Jeff Bridges). Having no protection, no support, no food, and nothing to do, she builds a new reality out of, simply, play.

The redemption of imagination is Gilliam's Great Theme, and has featured in all his movies, but never I think with the depth of feeling displayed here. The camera glides and bobs and darts, low to the ground, a child's eye view, and the tone of the movie stays true throughout, without a whiff of sentimentality. Jeliza's situation is bleak and terrifying, but she's occupied with other and more pressing issues -- conversing with squirrels, squabbling with her dolls, and befriending her alarming neighbors: a witchlike taxidermist and her mentally retarded brother.

But she's no fool, and Gilliam isn't either. The dreadful reality is always present, and Jeliza knows what's what; she possesses that paradoxical childhood perspective that allows a doll's head to be "just a doll's head" and at the same time a living person with an identity. The movie shows us the world as her imagination transforms it; she spins terror and tragedy into fable.

This movie staggered me; it's a genuine work of art, and it left me in tears. If that puts me at odds with 75% of the critical consensus, I'll live with that. When I think of the endless trite garbage that these same critics routinely praise, garbage that often wins awards or breaks box-office records, comfortable and self-congratulating hackwork that rarely has a scrap of the kind of creative courage or honesty of something like Tideland, it frankly makes me question what a good movie actually IS. Do feel-good escapism and drearily unnatural "naturalism" really comprise the height of cinematic expression? And does the idea of being made genuinely uncomfortable by art, genuinely challenged -- surely art's primary function -- have any current market value?

In short, if Tideland is not a good movie, then what are movies for?

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