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In a beautiful written piece for the New York Times, Trevor Noah paints a picture of his childhood with his mother


2009-05-11 11:04

What it's about:

Based on Neil Gaiman's fantasy novella, the movie tells of a young girl named Coraline (voiced by Dakota Fanning) who finds a parallel world with different, nicer versions of her parents and neighbours. She sets out to discover the secret of this 'Other' world and how it came to exist.

What we thought of it:

It's hard to pinpoint exactly what sets Coraline apart from your run-of-the-mill Disney/Pixar animated movie, but perhaps the biggest difference would be something you call 'gloss'. As funny and entertaining as they are, the big animation blockbusters tend to be cheerful and safe, making only tiny allowances for moral ambiguity or danger here and there when the plot needs to move on.

Coraline is different. As fairy tales go, it's the anti-Alice in Wonderland. It does an admirable job of warning children not to enter magical doors, and by extension, run away from their problems. But it’s also genuinely scary, something very few children’s movies are brave enough to be.

Young Coraline, we learn, is a frustrated child who stumbles upon a parallel world where her 'Other Mother' (Teri Hatcher) feeds her delicious treats all day and pays her all the attention her real parents don’t. But there’s something strange about that world, something askew, that neither she nor we can quite figure out to begin with. The mood isn’t as much Cars or Finding Nemo as it is Pan’s Labyrinth.

Of course, this should come as no surprise to director Henry Selick’s fans, who will get more of the same enchanting characterisation that made The Nightmare Before Christmas such a cult hit.

Is Coraline a children’s movie? Hard to say. One thing’s for sure: characters and moral predicaments like those in Coraline will inevitably set a young one’s imagination on fire. And us older ones? Well, we like a fright or two with our animation, don’t we?

* Coraline is screened in 3D at selected theatres.

An adventure too weird for words.

What to read next: Win a Coraline handbag!

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