When we think of animated films, we think of children, of children's cinema. However, the animation sometimes goes beyond and manages to captivate the adult audience. Coraline (2009) is a clear example. Indeed, it is an infant movie that has caused terror in some children and instead the fury in adults. This is because the film is not totally infantile. It is intended in fact to children who can count on a certain maturity allowing them to appreciate the magic of the film.
Both its mysterious plot and its enveloping aesthetics make the film a complex story for certain age groups. A story too terrifying. The animation made with the technique of stop motion reminds us deeply some films of Tim Burton such as The strange Christmas of Mr. Jack or Funeral wedding. However, although many are convinced that Tim Burton is the film, the reality is quite different.
This particular aestheticism, so Burtonian and Gothic has an explanation. The fact that we thought of other Burton films is not a coincidence. The director of CoralineHenry Selick was Tim's right hand. Moreover, although it may seem impossible, it is he who directed the film The strange Christmas of Mr. Jack and not Tim Burton. The original idea of this film was taken from a poem written by Burton. However, the management was relegated to Selick leaving Burton as producer.
The two directors were fed on common influences and their joint work. They gave this visual so special and so characteristic to the animation in stop motion.
Coraline is an authentic visual gift, a gift for our most infantile fantasy. The story reminds us a lot of other stories such as the Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland. Girls who arise in bizarre adventures where they face their greatest fears in order to attain wisdom and maturity.
Coraline's parents are too absorbed in their work. They barely have time to take care of her. Their environment is very boring. Like Alice, she will discover a new secret world, a wonderful world that will gradually become obscure …
The other world
Coraline has just moved in with her parents to an old house divided into apartments, far from the city and without friends. In this house, she feels lonely and bored: she would like to be in another place. Although they work in a botany shop, her parents have a very poorly maintained garden. They are too busy and have almost no time to repair the old house so that it turns into an absolutely unwelcoming place.
Among the neighbors, there are:
- Mr. Bobinsky, a Russian acrobat responsible for training rats
- Ladies Spink and Forcible, two strange retired actresses obsessed with dogs
- Wybie, the grandson of the owner of the house; a child of the Coraline age too talkative for his taste. Wybie is the one who will give Coraline a strange cloth doll dressed like her
In addition to these eccentric characters who do not like Coraline, there is the cat. A neglected black cat that Wybie looks after. We quickly discover that this cat is more than just a cat.
One night, guided by mice, Coraline discovers something truly extraordinary: a secret little door that leads to what appears to be an improved version of her life.
In this "Other World", Coraline discovers an exact copy of her house but more colorful, with a beautiful garden and parents totally dedicated to her. Starting from the food and passing through the neighbors, everything seems to have improved by crossing this little door. In this new and improved world, all seem to have a alter ego, an exact copy which, instead of having eyes, has buttons. All except Coraline and the cat. This feature does not seem to appeal much to Coraline because her life corresponds to what she had always dreamed of.
One of the most interesting characters is Wybie or "the other Wybie". "The other mother" was responsible for improving it to match the perfect companion for Coraline. Wybie can not speak but he is the most revealing character because he seems to show some fear of "the other mother".
In "The Other World", the cat is always the same. He has no buttons and he goes through the door next to Coraline. However, crossing the door, the cat shows Coraline that he is able to speak and he will therefore become a kind of spiritual guide for her. He will be an indispensable help who will guide and warn him in case of danger.
Everything seems perfect in "The Other World" until Coraline only discovers in him, live souls imprisoned by other children. They are children who lived many years ago. Among them is the sister of Wybie's grandmother. Why do they all have pimples? How did "the other mother" imprison Coraline?
The film becomes more and more obscure as we discover the bad intentions of the "other mother" as we become aware of the fact that the beauty of "The Other World" is nothing more than a deception, a trap for imprisoning children like Coraline.
What does the movie teach us Coraline ?
Coraline is charged with metaphors that claim to prove the superficiality of appearances and thus prove to us that everything is not what it seems. The doll that Coraline possesses is nothing more than a puppet of "The other mother". It's a tool she uses to spy on the girl and know all her secrets.
The buttons replacing the eyes of the characters have a special meaning. "The eyes are the reflection of the soul" so by depriving the children of their eyes, "The other mother" becomes able to capture their souls for eternity.
In the same way, the black cat acts as a driver of Coraline's most spiritual facet and his true feelings. He will make her see that this "Other World" is not so perfect as light. Wybie's real name is Wyborne, a play on words referring to "why born "(Why is he born?) He lives with his grandmother We do not know anything about his parents, which makes us think that his childhood was probably not easy These two characters having caused rejection in Coraline at first will then turn into the key to escape and defeat "the other mother".
Coraline devalues Wybie and the cat because of their appearance. She does the same with her eccentric neighbors whom they consider boring and strange. It is clear that none of these characters are perfect. They are not even able to call the girl by her first name and all believe her name is Caroline, but the perfection of "The Other World" is nothing more than a temptation.
When Coraline discovers that her real parents are in danger and that "the other mother" has done nothing more than manipulate her, her true feelings are awakening. She then accepts people as they are, discovering that she is not perfect either. COraline will then overcome his fears and fight to save his by showing the "other mother" that love goes beyond appearances.
The world of Coraline is not just a lesson for girls. It is also true for parents who are too strict and for busy families who have almost no time to give to their children. In a world in which we have almost no time, we often forget the most important and leave out the core values. So, Coraline is a film that, in addition to being endowed with a fascinating aesthetic, manages to captivate the adult audience.
"It is said that even the most proud spirit can bow to love."