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Year: 2009 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Henry Selick 
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Ian McShane  
An image from Coraline

Coraline Jones (Fanning) is fed up. Her parents have moved her away from all her friends, and are so wrapped up in their work they barely notice her. Their creepy new house is full of weird people, and the only boy her age is incredibly annoying. Worst of all, people keep pronouncing her name wrong! So when she finds a strange door that leads to an exact replica of her house, but where her Other Mother (Hatcher) cooks and her Other Father always has time to play with her, she couldn’t be happier. Unfortunately, there’s a catch: if she wants to stay, she has to have her eyes replaced with buttons...

Coraline is the beautiful and creepy brainchild of author Neil Gaiman and Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick. The stunning visuals are a result of the painstaking filming process: everything you see on screen was actually made in real life, down to miniature knitted jumpers. The button-eyed inhabitants of the Other House are world-class sinister, even if they seem to Coraline like a dream come true.

This film, like the book it’s based on, is renowned for delighting children while scaring their parents silly. It’s a genuine fairy tale for the modern day, and an amazing combination of beautiful visuals and memorable characters, such as the dotty English actresses, Misses Spink and Forcible (Saunders and French respectively). A brilliant mix of beauty, horror and the fantastic, Coraline is easily one of the best animated films ever made, and a must-see.

Marcus Kelly


For young Coraline Jones, having her unusual name mispronounced is the least of her problems. She moves into a new house with her parents, who have little time for her because of their work on a gardening catalogue, thus leaving Coraline to her own devices as she explores her new home. Along the way, she meets a neighbourhood boy, Wybie, and his cat. These two prove important as Coraline begins to discover the intriguing alternate reality that lies behind a small door in her house, one that conceals deadly secrets beneath its beguiling surface.

Viewers who have read Neil Gaiman’s novella will appreciate the film’s faithful blending of fantasy and horror, although Henry Selick has created a beautiful work that can be enjoyed with no prior knowledge of Gaiman’s story. While children will be delighted by the arresting visuals, an older audience will certainly also take note of the film’s darker undercurrent, which is downright creepy at certain points.

Widely acclaimed for the excellent quality of its animation, Coraline demonstrates that it is still possible today to push the boundaries of what animated film can be. Astonishing and magically vivid, this is a film that must not be missed!

Ian Chung

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Screenings of this film:

2009/2010 Spring Term (35mm)