I caught the late matinee of Coraline yesterday. 18 hours later, I still haven’t come down from it. I can honestly say I haven’t seen a movie that lit up my mental circuit board that way in years.
I loved it for being emotionally authentic without trading in phony sentimental flourishes, and I loved how relentlessly inventive it was, inventive in the way of that first Willy Wonka picture (Gene Wilder, not Johnny Depp). But mostly I loved Coraline for being so incredibly… itself. It isn’t homage, or a little twist on one of the half dozen usual stories, but its own wry, dark, clever thing. I’m so excited that someone tackled a Neil Gaiman story, and so clearly got it, managed to nail down the spirit of his work: both his sense of mischief and his playful way with the elements of fable and fantasy.
Pictures like Coraline come along very, very rarely. Go see.