Coraline, an early contender for the best film of the year, creates not only a world to get lost in, but a world to get lost in within that world. Coraline follows the titular character as she moves to a new town without any friends and with parents who are much too busy for her. Add in an annoying boy down the road and oddball performers as neighbors and Coraline’s life is terribly unpleasant. Eventually, she discovers a tiny door in her new house, which leads to a world much like her own, except that every flaw of her original world is fixed. All she needs to do to stay? Sew buttons onto her eyes.
The film compares the world we live in with the world we dream of. While our own lives may seem dreary and depressing, the perfect world we envision is best left a dream. The reason is because there is always a price to pay for perfection. Most often we are not asked to sew buttons on our eyes, but this is merely a way of showing the sacrifices necessary to having everything we want.
John Hodgman proves that voicing is an art as much as acting is, by bringing a loving and comical quality to Coraline’s father. The film combines creepiness with its magical wonderment, creating an even more frightening spin by turning the colorful worlds we imagine into nightmares. And director Henry Selick’s stop-motion animation is perfectly used as a beautiful alternative to the common-place CGI.
Coraline expresses the belief that a perfect world cannot exist, but proves that a perfect film can.