"I wasn't saddled with anything. It's Coraline. Coraline Jones." In the hit Neil Gaiman film "Coraline", Coraline Jones is a young girl plucked from her home in Pontiac, Michigan and forced to move to the Pink Palace Apartments, in Oregon. She soon discovers a huge hidden world through the passageway of a tiny door behind the wallpaper. After being obsessed with this movie and story, I've come across some questions and theories to solve them, also some interesting moments I've noticed along the way.
1. The doll with the brown hair
Moment: In the opening credits, a doll with brown hair flies through the window. This doll is the grandmother's twin sister who went "missing" many years before. This is supported because we see the sister in a photo, as well as her spirit. Also, when the "other" mother starts to re-make the doll into a Coraline doll, she spins a wheel that has a substantial amount of dust on it, implying that it hadn't been used in years.
Question: Wybie brings Coraline the look-alike doll and says that he "found it in Gramma's trunk". Why would he be looking through his Grandmother's stuff? Why didn't either of them find it odd that the Grandmother had a doll that looks like Coraline?
2. The mysterious garden
Moment: In the middle in the movie, the garden in the alternate reality looks like Coraline, but at the end, when Coraline plants the tulips with her family and neighbors, the garden is slightly changed to look like the "other" mother.
Question: If the doll is simply supposed to serve as a "spy", how are they moving on their own? Or do they have life in them that they can move themselves?
Theory: Who is the "other" mother? I think that the "other" mother is a demonic spirit. She transforms her look over and over so she isn't consistently looking like a human mother. I believe that when she was a human, she had maybe lost a child, or had a child taken from her, because she tries to mother Coraline and gain her trust. If she simply wanted the children's eyes, she could've just captured them when they came through the door.
3. The ghost children
Moment: When the ghost children talk about losing their souls, they are covering their eyes (which the "other" mother took from them). The saying is that the "eyes are the windows to the soul" so if she wanted their souls, she took their eyes.
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Moment: The poison oak the mud are a device used by the director. The "other" mother uses the mud to cure Coraline's poison oak and when Coraline wakes up and realizes that it's gone, she is led to believe that it was more than a dream.
Moment: The ghost children call the "other" mother "beldam" which is synonymous with witch. In folklore, a beldam resembles a spider, like the beldam in this movie does. The beldam's goal is to trap kids and eat them.
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Theory: Another theory about the beldam is that she was the original owner of the Pink Palace and had stumbled upon the portal, but got stuck there.
Theory: This is more of a fact, but in the book, the beldam wishes for love from the children but kills them when she stops loving them or is bored with them.
Question: One motif is the tapping of the fingers by the beldam. She does it more than once in Coraline's presence but it is never explained.. what does it mean?
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Question: The beldam seems to have control over everything in the alternate reality, but at different times, the other father and other Wybie go rogue. Wybie rescues Coraline from the mirror and helps her escape through the tunnel. This is confusing because it seems like everything is forged by the beldam, but Wybie seems to have his own will to follow. The father also helps Coraline by helping her get the ghost eye even though the hand machine is controlling him. So both characters have a conscience but aren't human? Wybie shows his hand and blows it away which confirms that they aren't real, but then who or what are they?
In the end, I will still always love this movie and continue to find more questions and theories to feed my obsession. I hope you all enjoy this movie as much as I do!
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