The film, Coraline, is a 2009 American 3D stop-motion film based on Neil Gaiman’s 2002 novel of the same title. Directed by Henry Selick, the film begins when a child named, Coraline Jones, and her parents move into an apartment complex that was once an old house. Her neighbors include two elderly, retired actresses and a strange man who lives upstairs training mice for a circus act. Despite all the new-found oddities of her new home, Coraline is simply bored. With both of her parents working from home, they are too busy and ignore her needs.
Struck with boredom, Coraline spends her days counting the windows and doors of her new home. While wandering the living room, Coraline discovers a door with a brick wall behind it. To Coraline, this seems strange, and she wonders what could lie behind these bricks. Later that evening, Coraline is woken from her sleep by a mouse who leads her to the door. Once again, she opens the door. Now, there is a strange hallway that leads to another door. When Coraline opens this door, she ends up in an entirely different world. This word is just like the one she lives in; however, everything she hated is now gone or improved. Coraline discovers an “other mother and father” who show nothing but love and compassion to her.
Although this world seems to be perfect, Coraline decides she would much rather live with her real parents. When Coraline arrives home, her parents are missing. Coraline soon discovers she must go back to the creepy other world to rescue them and rescue the souls of other children who have been trapped within this world.
Coraline is a dark fantasy film that not only explores the imagination of a child, but the idea of what family truly is. Coraline’s parents are extremely busy and tend to ignore her; she is often left alone to entertain herself and even take care of herself. To most, this does not sound like the ideal family set-up. But then Coraline discovers an alternate set of parents who pay her tons of attention and cook her extravagant meals. Doesn’t this sound like a good trade to you? Unfortunately, Coraline comes to figure out that it is a rotten deal. Her parents may have their flaws, but at the end of the day, they are still her parents. She is willing to fight for them and get them back from her cruel other mother, teaching us that when it comes down to it, family is irreplaceable.