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Questions for Discussion

  • How do the mood and themes of Coraline compare to other animated films like Wall-E and Shrek?
  • The story has been compared to “unsanitized” versions of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales in which evil, death, blood, grief and danger are very real. Do you think it’s good for kids to enter into “scary” stories like this that take the reality of darkness seriously?
  • One reviewer writes, “I don't like when filmmakers spell everything out to me but it doesn't seem to me that Coraline is rooted in anything seriously meaningful at all other than the…greener grass cliché. The truth is that it doesn't genuinely have to have a deeper meaning. Perhaps if I could think like a little girl, I would just enjoy Coraline's unexpected and exciting journey.” Do you agree that the film doesn’t have a deeper meaning beyond “the grass is(n’t) always greener on the other side of the fence? Do films always have to have deeper meanings? Do children’s films always have to have simple morals?
  • What ideas does the film reinforce with regard to parent-child relationships? Is Coraline’s relationship with her real parents healthy?
  • How does the choice of animation affect the telling of the story?
  • Many reviews caution that even though the film is a PG-rated animated film, it’s scary for some children. In what way does this suggest a problem with the rating system? Should engaging a film always be more complicated than simply looking at a rating system?