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Coraline (film) facts for kids

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Coraline poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Henry Selick
Produced by
  • Bill Mechanic
  • Claire Jennings
  • Henry Selick
  • Mary Sandell
Written by Henry Selick
Music by Bruno Coulais
Cinematography Pete Kozachik
Editing by
  • Christopher Murrie
  • Ronald Sanders
  • Laika
  • Pandemonium Films
Distributed by Focus Features
Release date(s) February 5, 2009 (2009-02-05) (premiered)
February 6, 2009 (2009-02-06) (United States)
Running time 100 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $60 million
Money made $124.6 million

Coraline is a 2009 American stop-motion animated dark fantasy film written and directed by Henry Selick and based on the 2002 novella of the same name by Neil Gaiman. Produced by Laika as its first feature film, it features the voices of Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Keith David, John Hodgman, Robert Bailey Jr., and Ian McShane. The film depicts its titular protagonist finding an idealized parallel universe behind a secret door in her new home, unaware that it contains a dark and sinister secret.

The film was released in United States theaters on February 6, 2009 by Focus Features after a world premiere at the Portland International Film Festival. It was met with widespread critical acclaim. The film made $16.85 million during opening weekend, ranking third at the box office, and by the end of its run had grossed over $124 million worldwide, making it the third highest-grossing stop-motion film of all time after Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Coraline won Annie Awards for Best Music in an Animated Feature Production, Best Character Design in an Animated Feature Production and Best Production Design in an Animated Feature Production, and received nominations for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and a Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film.


Coraline Jones and her parents, Mel and Charlie, move into an old mansion that has been divided up and is now known as the Pink Palace Apartments. Due to her parents struggling to complete their gardening catalog, Coraline is often ignored. Coraline meets the landlady's grandson, Wyborne "Wybie" Lovat, and a stray black cat who follows him around. Wybie later leaves Coraline a button-eyed rag doll he discovered in his grandmother's trunk that eerily resembles her. Soon after, Coraline discovers a small door in the living room that is bricked up and can only be unlocked by a key with a button-shaped motif.

That night, a mouse guides Coraline through the door, now a portal to a seemingly more lively and cheerful version of the house. Coraline meets her Other Mother and Father, button-eyed doppelgängers of her parents that appear more attentive and caring than her actual parents. Coraline later goes to bed and awakens back in the real world. Wybie tells Coraline about his grandmother's twin sister who disappeared in the house as a child. Coraline's neighbors, Mr. Bobinsky, an eccentric Russian gymnast who supposedly runs a mouse circus, and retired burlesque actresses Misses Spink and Forcible, cryptically warn her about the door and of imminent danger.

Coraline visits the Other World for a second and third time; where, accompanied by the Other Wybie, she is entertained by the Other Bobinsky and his mouse circus, and the Other Spink and Forcible. Coraline also encounters the cat, who is able to speak in the Other World and traverse between the two dimensions. The Other Mother invites Coraline to stay in the Other World forever, on the condition she have buttons sewn over her eyes. Horrified, Coraline goes to bed, but finds, when she wakes up, she is still in the Other World. When Coraline demands to return home, the Other Mother transforms into a more menacing version of herself and imprisons Coraline in a mirror. There, Coraline meets the ghosts of the Other Mother's previous child victims, including Wybie's great aunt, who reveal that the Other Mother, whom they call the "Beldam," used the same doll Coraline had (each time disguised as the child in question) to spy on them, taking advantage of their unhappiness and luring them into the Other World. When they agreed to let her sew buttons on their eyes, the Beldam trapped their souls. The only way to free their souls, they said, was to find their eyes, which the Beldam had hidden. After Coraline promises to do so, the Other Wybie frees her from the mirror and helps her escape back to the real world.

Coraline finds her parents missing, eventually realizing they have been kidnapped by the Beldam. She looks for advice, approaching Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, who soon give her an adder stone. That night, Coraline returns to the Other World accompanied by the cat, where she proposes a game to the Beldam: if she can find the ghost children's eyes and her parents, they will all go free, if not, she will remain in the Other World and let the Beldam sew buttons over her eyes.

Coraline ventures into the now-hostile Other World, using the stone to find the ghost children's eyes; with each one she collects, parts of the Other World disintegrate until only the living room remains. Coraline then encounters the Beldam in her true form, a humanoid arachnid with needle-like fingers on her hands. She is warned that even if she wins, the Beldam will never let her go. Using this advice, Coraline tricks the Beldam into unlocking the door and finds her parents trapped in a snow globe. Coraline throws the cat at the Beldam, who claws out her button eyes, blinding her. Coraline grabs the snow globe, narrowly escapes through the door, and manages to close and lock it with the help of the ghosts, severing the Beldam's right hand in the process.

Coraline's parents reappear in the real world with no memory of what happened to them. That night, the ghost children appear in Coraline's dream to thank her for freeing their souls, but warn her that the Beldam, as long as she is alive, will never stop looking for the key. Coraline decides to drop it down an old well near her home, but before she does, the Beldam's severed hand attacks her. Wybie arrives and, after a struggle, destroys the hand by dropping a large rock on it. Coraline and Wybie then throw the key and the hand's remnants into the well and seal it shut.

Soon after, Coraline and her parents, who have finally finished their catalog, host a garden party for their neighbors. Wybie introduces his grandmother and Coraline prepares to tell her story. The cat is last seen walking behind the Pink Palace signpost before disappearing.

Voice cast

  • Dakota Fanning as Coraline Jones, a curious 11-year-old girl with blue hair.
  • Teri Hatcher as Mel Jones, Coraline's mother, and the Beldam, also known as the Other Mother, an evil sorceress and the ruler of the Other World.
  • Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French as April Spink and Miriam Forcible, respectively, a pair of retired burlesque actresses.
  • Keith David as The Cat, a sarcastic, mysterious, nameless black cat from the real world who appears and disappears at will and has the ability to speak in the Other World.
  • John Hodgman as Charlie Jones, Coraline's father, and as the Other Father.
    • John Linnell as the Other Father's singing voice.
  • Robert Bailey Jr. as Wyborne "Wybie" Lovat, the geeky, nervous 11-year-old grandson of Coraline's landlady Mrs. Lovat. Wybie does not appear in the novel; his character was created for the film adaptation so that the viewer "wouldn't have a girl walking around, occasionally talking to herself".
  • Ian McShane as Sergei Alexander Bobinsky, nicknamed "Mr. B," a former Chernobyl liquidator and one of Coraline's neighbors, who owns a mice circus.
  • Carolyn Crawford as Mrs. Lovat, Wybie's grandmother and the owner of the Pink Palace Apartments.
  • Aankha Neal as Sweet Ghost Girl, Mrs. Lovat's missing twin sister, Wybie's great-aunt and the most recent victim of the Beldam.
  • George Selick as Ghost Boy, the second and only male victim of the Beldam.
  • Hannah Kaiser as Tall Ghost Girl, the first victim of the Beldam interpreted by her Midwestern clothing.
  • Marina Budovsky as Photo Friend #1, a friend of Coraline's back home in Michigan.
  • Harry Selick as Photo Friend #2, a friend of Coraline's back home in Michigan.
  • Emerson Tenney as the dragonflies in the Other World.


The soundtrack for Coraline features songs in French composer Bruno Coulais, with one, "Other Father Song", by They Might Be Giants. The Other Father's singing voice is provided by John Linnell, one of the singers from the band. They had initially written 10 songs for the film; when a melancholy tone was decided, all but one were cut. Coulais' score was performed by the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra and features choral pieces sung by the Children's Choir of Nice in a nonsense language. Selick mentions that the main soloist, "a young girl you hear singing in several parts of the film," is coincidentally named Coraline. Coraline won Coulais the 2009 Annie Award for best score for an animated feature.

  • "Sirens of the Sea" – Performed by Michele Mariana
  • "Other Father Song" – Written and performed by John Linnell
  • "Nellie Jean" – Performed by Kent Melton
  • "Dreaming" – Performed by Bruno Coulais, The Children's Choir of Nice, and Teri Hatcher
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