It’s the movies of our youth that create the adults we become. Directors of children’s movies mold young minds into believing in happy endings, fairy tales and magical realms that exist beyond the naked eye. As we grew up, we picked up attributes from our favorite protagonists, and now as young adults, we are left with the decision of whether or not to grow up and leave it all behind.
When the real world reveals itself to children and leaves them jaded, they learn to start saying no to Prince Charming’s false promises and witches with their bad apples. But I don’t think we ever have to say goodbye to the whimsical world of our imagination.
I think you can tell a lot from a person’s favorite movie, especially their favorite from when they were young, but that might be a conversation for a different article. My favorite movie from my childhood is “Coraline,” and in all the years that I’ve been telling people this, I have not once been met with a positive reaction. In 2009, the imagery of a black cat running in the shadows and rag dolls with button eyes coming to life was the cause for many children’s nightmares. However, I’m here to make the case for “Coraline” because it isn’t a scary movie. It’s a vivid glimpse into a world of sinister secrets that teaches the excitement of curiosity, the fun in adventure and the power in being courageous.
“Coraline” is a stop-motion masterpiece that follows 11-year-old Coraline Jones through a secret door in her bedroom to the “other” world. The “other” world is seemingly the utopian version of Coraline’s real life, complete with vibrant colors and cheerier doppelgänger versions of the people in her life. The only difference: their eyes have been replaced by big black buttons. Everything seems perfect in this “other” world until the facade comes crashing down when Coraline discovers the trapped souls of other kids that lived there before her.
Not to spoil the brilliant plot of this movie, but Coraline is a badass. This movie is a mystery. Coraline enters a world where she is met with nothing but unanswered questions. There are no real reasons for why anything is happening, and the movie shows its viewers how perfection can be dangerous. It’s a gentle reminder from a stop motion world to meet others where they are and to embrace imperfection.
I think that everyone has something to learn from this movie. No matter how old you are, you can always relearn the lessons you held so closely as a child. “Coraline” focuses on the major themes of courage, family, reality and identity. Courage is what gives Coraline the power to save her family and ultimately leaves her with a new sense of confidence. Coraline’s heroic actions to rescue her parents are a lot more meaningful than the act of rescue itself. At the beginning of the movie, Coraline feels neglected by her parents and dissatisfied by their life in their new town. Unlike other fantasy movies intended for children, Coraline’s family dynamic isn’t all of the sudden solved at the end of the movie. Much like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” she has her moment where she realizes there is no place like home, but only because she can now appreciate her family for who they are.
Other than the plot, there are so many other reasons to watch “Coraline.” It’s filled with Easter eggs hidden in the details that make it exciting to watch each time. It’s easy to forget that the entire movie tangibly has existed and that it’s not just a regular animated movie. Visually, it creates a world of wonder, and musically, you’re transported to a reality of suspense and creativity.
“Coraline” might be a movie that was originally intended for children, but we all need a reminder of youthful wonder every now and then. Besides, there’s never an age at which you shouldn’t seek out adventure with courage in your heart.