Lauren Wong | The Poly Post

The parallels between Kristine and Coraline

By Kristine Pascual, Sept. 5, 2023

If I picked a color button to sew in place of my eyes, I would pick black. I think the color black goes with everything, and it would match my hair.  

For two days only, Laika decided to bring “Coraline” screenings back to theaters, earning nearly $5 million. Because it did so well, the animation studio added two additional screenings, and I knew I had to be there. I was 20 minutes late waiting in the line for popcorn, and I considered skipping out on snacks to catch the movie. I missed about the first 10 minutes of the movie, but I was ecstatic to be there and finally see “Coraline” on the big screen.  

The film centers around an 11-year-old girl who stumbles upon an idyllic version of the home she lives in. She soon finds out that the seemingly perfect world is far from what she believed it to be.   

I remember the first time I watched “Coraline” as a kid. I was in kindergarten when the film first premiered. My dad rented the movie out at the Blockbuster a few blocks away from my house.  

From the very moment I watched the credit scene of the doll being created, I was hooked. I was always into princess toys and Bratz dolls, but I had never seen a doll that looked like Coraline. She has blue hair and to me that was different. It was unique. I wanted to fit in, but I also wanted to be unique. 

Watching it gave me an eerie feeling but in the best way possible, something even I as a child was able to recognize.  

I connected with Coraline. She’s witty, irritable and most importantly curious. It’s a no brainer Coraline is a restless child just like I once was except the only difference is I am now considered a restless adult.  

There might still be a part of me clinging onto my youth, yet at the same time, I wonder if I’ll always view life the way I do right now. Thinking about my future self, whether it be post college, post marriage or post kids, I don’t know what will happen or what I’ll be like. I do hope I never lose my sense of creativity, passion and curiosity for the unknown. Just like Coraline, I’m willing to sacrifice myself and take risks to explore what others are afraid of.  

One of my favorite scenes of the movie is at the beginning when Coraline and her parents move into this big house and the only thing she can focus on is her boredom. She’s a curious child and wants to play, she wants to chat, yet there is no one to do so with. Up to now, I too struggle with being OK with not having anything to do.  

I love to be booked and busy because if I start thinking, then I’ll think too much. I think Coraline and I are a lot alike in the sense we cannot be left alone in our minds. It’s a dangerous place and thinking can only lead to overthinking, and that’s when things go downhill. 

I never once found anything about the film to be creepy, and I was drawn to everything that grazed my eyes. The magic of the clay animation — and the blends, hues of blues and purples all throughout the movie — was intriguing to my developing brain.  

Lauren Wong | The Poly Post

I never thought “Coraline” would become so significant to me. But just soon after the first time I watched it, I decided to pick up the novel. Reading has always been a huge part of my life. I try to keep reading in my short list of hobbies, but sometimes it can be difficult to get through an uninteresting book. That was not the case for Neil Gaiman’s novel “Coraline.” 

I walked over to my neighborhood library and grabbed a stack of books, “Coraline” just being one of my many reads that summer. “Coraline” became one of my favorite books and remains as one today.  

Reading the book did not change my perspective but rather added layers of complexity to the way I analyze Coraline, her story and the supporting characters. It was interesting to have images of the characters in my head while reading to see the differences between the book and the movie. 

I decide to revisit “Coraline” almost every year. Coraline as a character means so much to me. She’s creative, feisty, curious and a little bit difficult, just like me. I related to her as a child, teen and young adult, which proves some things never change.  

The scenery appears to be near perfect and we soon learn the Other Mother thrives off perception, illusion and manipulation. In my life, I learned many of the most beautiful things in life are too good to be true. Sometimes I still forget about this, and I am faced with disappointment after disappointment, but at the end of the day I learn we sometimes trick ourselves into believing what the illusion shows us because it is far easier than facing the possible ugly truth.

Ultimately, love should never be transactional.  

Coraline believes her life with the Other Mother is the ideal life she would like to live. Though Coraline is just 11 years old, and I am nearly twice her age, I find myself continuing to relate to her complaints, struggles and the curiosity that often pokes and nags at her, sending her into tantrums and sparking arguments. I’m now 20, and I won’t lie and say I don’t complain and pick arguments, because I do. It’s just the way I am. At least I can admit it. 

As the film ended, it felt like I was seeing it again for the first time. And when the lights turned back on, I was a bit sad to leave but glad I experienced this all over again. I always think about how I wish I could experience watching my favorite movies for the first time. On that night I did. 

Coraline and I are one and the same.  

Feature image by Lauren Wong

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