I finally got to see Coraline last night, on TV even though I have a DVD copy, and enjoyed it immensely. If you are not familiar with it (or the Neil Gaiman book it is based on), Coraline Jones is an 11 year old girl who craves her parents’ attention. Especially since they just moved away from where she grew up and her friends. Unfortunately, they are busy with a garden catalog they are writing on a deadline and don’t have time for her.
Coraline explores the house (subdivided into apartments) and meets the eccentric neighbors before discovering a small door that was wallpapered over. It seems to lead nowhere until she explores it at night, and discovers a magical ‘Other’ world just like her normal one…except everyone there caters to her, and has buttons sewn over their eyes. There’s an Other Mother who cooks wonderful meals and plays games, and Other versions of everyone (except the stray cat). Coraline loves every minute in the Other world, though she always wakes up back in her own bed.
As you can imagine, all is not as it appears. I won’t spoil it if you haven’t seen/read it, but it is well worth your time. Coraline is animated in the stop-motion stylings of Henry Selick, the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach. It’s exactly right for this movie as it captures the beauty and creepiness equally well. It can be a little scary for younger (or sensitive) kids, as my daughter did bury her head in my shoulder a few times…but she wanted to see it through to the end.
If you are looking for something different to watch – especially something that fits in with Halloween – Coraline is an excellent choice. It also works for those of you with daughters who’d like a movie with a female protagonist who isn’t a princess.