[This is the second part to a post from way back in January. And that post was six months late. So don't be confused by the reference to summer]
Our second summer film was Coraline. And all I can say is: if you haven’t already, make sure you do. You don’t even need to have children; all you need is a fondness for beautiful images and deep, scary themes. Oh, and a love of awesome females, obviously. I enjoyed this as much as the kids did. More so probably as the large RadFem in my brain which normally sits through kids’ films mumbling Urggh? What? Are you frickin’ kidding me? Oh, for the love of god…, kept jumping up and down shouting FUCK YEAH! in my ear.
Because Coraline rocks. If I’d seen Coraline as a kid, I would’ve wanted to be Coraline. I’m not sure I don’t want to even now.
I cannot believe I can even write this sentence about what is a fairly mainstream film: there is nothing wrong with Coraline.
Coraline doesn’t have personality issues, and she does not, at any point, need saving. She is brave, fearless, gutsy and smart. She is deeply, profoundly awesome.
She is so awesome that she actually gets her own movie named after her. Unlike, as we know, poor Rapunzel.
Coraline is not conventionally pretty. She has short hair. And it’s blue. She wears (mainly) jeans and wellies. A hair clip is her only nod to conventional femininity.
There’s a boy in the movie. At no point is there so much as the slightest hint that Coraline therefore should go all goggly-eyed in his presence. She never goes within a hundred miles of a swoon. Though she rocks a fine grimace at him on occasion.
She does a admirable line in expressive sarcasm.
She has no fear of insects.
She’s bored, so she goes out to seek her own adventure. She never expects life to come to her.
She faces a series of obstacles. She faces them all without whining, without faltering. And she wins.
Despite all her ‘male’ characteristics, she is never once painted as ‘abnormal’ or ‘odd’ or evil. She never gets a comeuppance for being brave and fearless and gutsy and smart.
She saves everybody in the end. And though nobody realises they’ve been saved and she therefore gets no congratulations, no thank yous, she just gets on with being AWESOME.
For the ignorant among you, I suppose a plot précis is in order. Well, what’s wikipedia for? Although treat the first line, which tells us this is a story about ‘a very “different” girl‘, as the sexist shite it is.
This film is almost perfect. The only part I had a problem with was the characters of Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, two ex-strippers (yeah, I know) who at one point perform a stage show in the alternate world which basically involves them getting their kit off and singing about sex (sort of). Not only did my RadFem shriek, Aah, fuck no!, but it just seemed odd subject matter for a kids’ film. And I really couldn’t see the point of the scene plot wise.
And yes, Coraline’s real mum is mean and grouchy, but she’s shown as being under specific pressures and is allowed to have a human side nonetheless. So she actually came across as pretty typical as a mother (well, what they look like round here, anyway).
And, no, nothing is going to spoil my enjoyment of this film. So there.