Coraline is a bored, lonely little girl whose family just moved with her to the middle of nowhere. Left to explore the new surroundings by herself, she discovers something both terrific and horrifying. There she meets her "other mother" and her "other father", who bear an uncanny resemblance to her real parents yet dote on her much more than they would. It's a mirror world where everything seems almost righted, that is until it all unravels and proves to be a crooked, eerie, mimic of the real world.
Coraline's parents have picked up and moved the entire family to the middle of nowhere, dragging her away from all her friends in the process. With boxes to unpack and a catalog to finish writing, Coraline's parents are much too busy to pay attention to her; she is told to go amuse herself. She does this and discovers something that proves to be more mysterious and exciting than she bargained for, the beldame posing as her "other mother".
Why Did The Family Move to The Pink Palace?
They Were Broke
The Gist of It
Coraline's family had to move across the country because they are going through hard times financially and needed to downgrade.
- This explains the weird ad hoc meals and why Coraline's mother refuses to get her the mittens until after she finishes writing the catalog.
- It is also why the technology seems so outdated for the time. In a deleted scene, the mother asks the father why he doesn't get a new computer, and he responds by asking "What, are they giving them away now?".
- Some have speculated that the mother's apparent car crash and her subsequent medical bills may have something to do with their dire straits. Some suggest that she may have even crashed on purpose as part of a failed scam. In that case, they would probably have already been short on money before the crash.
Was it A Happy Ending?
It Was a Trap
The Gist of It
When Coraline threw the key down the well, she was actually returning it the the other mother.
Who is the Little Boy in Blue on The Wall?
The Boy in Blue Was The Other Mother's Unwanted Son
Nobody is certain who or what he represents, but the songwriter Elliott Smith often referred poetically to a "little boy in blue" in his songs (See "Plainclothes Man", "Everything's Okay", and "Pretty Mary K") . Generally this "boy in blue" was acting as a nuisance or foil in the songs.
There's also a painting called "The Blue Boy" which bears some similarities. It had a companion piece called "Pinkie" (any connection to the Pink Palace in the movie?) and inspired a movie by the same name which is somewhat reminiscent of Coraline and could have a theory based on it:
Thomas von Weerth, the last descendant of an old, impoverished noble family, lives with an old servant in a romantic dilapidated castle surrounded by deep ditches.
In the castle hangs a portrait of one of his ancestors, showing a boy in blue. Thomas, whose traits resemble those of the ancestor shown, believes he is the boy's reincarnation in blue. Again and again he is standing in front of the picture, where a famous emerald, which the ancestor carries on his breast, can be seen. Finally, he searches everywhere in the castle for the stone, which, because he always brought disaster to his bearer, has been hidden somewhere by another ancestor.
One evening, Thomas falls asleep in front of the picture and dreams of the boy climbing out of the picture and leading him to the hiding place. When he wakes up and looks in the specified hiding place, he really finds the emerald there. The old servant asks him in vain to throw away the stone that is supposed to bring bad luck, but Thomas ignores the warnings and keeps the gemstone with him.
Works with the father in writing a gardening catalog. Seems to be the technical editor.
Seems to be a technical writer, although if you look closely at his computer screen it looks like he's sneaking in some work on his novel! And on a deadline too... No wonder Coraline's mother is frustrated and impatient.
The Other Mother -
Practically perfect in every way.... until she's not.
The Other Father -
The Other Mother's flying monkey, basically.