Dakota Fanning (War of The Worlds)
Teri Hatcher (Lois & Clark)
Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous)
Dawn French (The Vicar of Dibley)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Ian McShane (Hercules)
In the opening credits, hands made of sewing needles create a button-eyed doll to resemble a girl before sending it out into a void. The doll is of Coraline Jones, an 11-year-old who moves with her parents to Ashland into the Pink Palace Apartments. The other residents include retired actresses Miss Spink and Miss Forcible and eccentric Russian acrobat Mr. Bobinsky.Coraline’s parents neglect her, being busy working on a garden catalogue. She meets Wyborn “Wybie” Lovat, the grandson of the landlady, Mrs. Lovat, and also meets a black cat that follows him. While exploring, she is given a doll that resembles her by Wybie and finds a small brick-sealed door which can be unlocked only by a small black key with a button handle. That night, Coraline follows a mouse through the door, where she discovers the bricks gone, replaced by a corridor. Coraline goes through into the Other World, where doubles of the real-world residents have buttons for eyes. Her Other Mother and Father are more warm and attentive than her real parents. After dinner, she goes to sleep in her Other Bedroom. To her dismay, Coraline wakes up in her real bedroom and is unable to convince her parents that she visited the Other World.Despite vague warnings from her neighbors, Coraline frequents the Other World during night. She meets the mute Other Wybie, the Other Mr. Bobinsky, and the Other Misses Spink and Forcible, who are young and perform theatrical acts. When the Cat also enters the Other World, it is able to talk.On the third visit, the Other Mother invites Coraline to stay forever, but buttons must be sewn over her eyes. Horrified, Coraline attempts to flee. The Cat reveals to her the true sinister nature of the Other Mother and the Other World. She demands the Other Mother let her go home, but she transforms into a grotesque version of herself and imprisons Coraline in a dark chamber behind a mirror. Inside, Coraline meets the ghosts of the Other Mother’s previous victims, including Mrs. Lovat’s long-lost twin sister. The ghosts reveal that the Other Mother sent them rag dolls that resembled them in order to spy on them and find out what was wrong with their lives. The Other Mother then lured them into the Other World, where she promised them endless games and entertainment, but once they accepted her offer, she sewed buttons over their eyes and “ate up their lives”. To free their souls, their real eyes need to be retrieved. Coraline promises to find them.She is suddenly pulled out by the Other Wybie, whose mouth has been stitched shut. He helps her escape. Back in the real world, Coraline is led by the Cat to a mirror in which she sees her parents writing “HELP US”. She also discovers a rag doll that resembles them fused together, indicating that the Other Mother has kidnapped them. Coraline then burns the doll.Coraline returns to the Other World to propose a “game” to the Other Mother. If she cannot find her parents and the children’s eyes, she will stay forever. Coraline manages to retrieve the children’s eyes. The Other World gradually turns into grey stone and disintegrates, leaving only the living room in the Other Pink Palace. She confronts the Other Mother, who now has an arachnoid form, with sewing needles for hands. A ghost child warns her that the Other Mother will never let her go, even if she wins. Coraline finds and frees her parents from a snow globe and throws the Cat onto the Other Mother’s face; the Cat rips her button eyes out. Coraline escapes, slamming the door on the Other Mother’s hand, severing it. Her parents return home with no memory of what occurred.
The ghosts appear to Coraline in a dream to warn her that she must get rid of the key. As Coraline prepares to drop the key into a well, she is attacked by the Other Mother’s severed hand, but is saved by Wybie, who crushes it with a rock. Coraline throws the key and the pieces of the hand down the well. The next day, Coraline hosts a garden party for her neighbors and prepares to tell Mrs. Lovat about her sister.
Good and imaginative story, delighting visuals, creepiness from the beginning and a couple scary scenes make this an enjoyable film.