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The Girl And The Tide

average rating is 4 out of 5


William Hemingway


Posted on:

Aug 26, 2022

Film Reviews
The Girl And The Tide
Directed by:
Harvey John
Written by:
Harvey John
Emma-Kate Barry

Strings and drowning – these are the artistic impressions which let you know you're living in a post-modern 21st Century world. A girl (Barry) sits on the beach and ponders her existence at twenty-three, stuck already in the machine of melancholia that we like to call everyday life. She knows nothing, she says; she can't figure it out at all and she's already falling behind her friends in the life-affirming stakes of reaching arbitrary markers that supposedly signify achievement.


Along with her on this journey is The Tide – a constant companion through the long, slow days – who takes the form of a ghost, a tangible apparition who hovers over her shoulder as a reminder of the existential weight of the world which is bearing down upon her. She can feel The Tide lapping at her feet, every moment of every day, and knows that it won't stop, inching ever closer to her foundation, so that one day it may wash her away completely. How will she ever be able to escape something so inevitable?


The story of The Girl And The Tide is told to us in voice-over as she relates the details of her existence. The words pour over the images like rain, deepening the darkness of the girl's feeling and keeping the shadow of the future overcast with cloud. They are given to us like poetry, a recital of the spoken word which would not seem out of place in a volume of philosophical musings, and we see the worry on her face as the understanding builds of just what the words mean.


The ghost is always there – hovering, helping, hindering – made visible like a bedsheet with eye-holes a-la David Lowery's A Ghost Story(2017). The parallel is sometimes too strong to shift and at times stresses the tone of the girl's story to points where it doesn't quite fit. Fully copying another's conceit is rarely a good idea but writer/director Harvey John holds his nerve to firmly commit to the concept all the way through to the end, making it work how he wants it to.


The cinematography pulls us into the girl's world and makes it real for us as she acts out the menial parts of her existence. Meanwhile, the classical music plays, almost above and apart, as it reminds us of the complexity and beauty of life, even in the dreariest of machinations. The words, the music and the images weave together to complete the girl's story as she relates to us how she feels, hoping that someone, somewhere will admit to feeling that same way, too.


The Girl And The Tide is a eulogy to youth and to innocence; the world has changed; the kids aren't alright. Harvey John's modern fairy-tale sings the siren's song that so many Gen-Z'ers are familiar with – anxiety; depression; existential dread – and yet it shines a beacon of hope that may allow us in some way to turn back the tide, or at least give us time to shore-up our flood defences.

About the Film Critic
William Hemingway
William Hemingway
Short Film
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