Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Is ‘Coraline’ Too Scary for Kids?

posted by Nell Minow

It is always a challenge to guide parents about how scary a movie is, but it is especially difficult with this week’s release of “Coraline,” the 3D stop-motion animated film based on a popular book for children by Neil Gaiman. By coincidence, Gaiman was just awarded this year’s top prize for children’s literature, the Newberry award, for The Graveyard Book, the story of a boy raised by ghosts.
SPOILER ALERT: There are ghosts in “Coraline,” too, plus a very scary insect-like predator who likes to replace children’s eyes with sewn-on black buttons and many other macabre and grotesque images. But is that scarier than “A Series of Unfortunate Events” or “The Wizard of Oz” or the Narnia movies? Is it scarier than Disney movies like “Bambi” or “The Lion King” (both feature the death of a parent) or fairy tales like “Hansel and Gretel” or “Snow White?”
Some of the commenters on this blog think so, and have noted sharply that they think this movie is too scary for younger children. The Motion Picture Association’s ratings board gave it a PG. I originally recommended it for 4th grade and up but on reflection have changed it to middle school and up, though when I saw the film again last night there were younger children in the audience who seemed to be doing fine with it.
There are many kinds of scary material and every kid reacts differently to every one of them. Some are disturbed by tension and peril but don’t mind battle scenes. Some get very upset when an animal is injured but don’t blink an eye when a human character is killed. Some kids react because they are sensitive about events going on in their own lives, loss of a grandparent or a pet, a move, or divorce.
In “Coraline,” some kids may be rattled by the images in this film like the skeletal designs of one (good) character’s helmet and gloves or the increasingly spidery appearance of the villain. Some may be upset by the themes of the film that includes the ghosts of three eyeless and devoured children. Some will be very reassured by the brave and resilient heroine, finding it exciting but not disturbing.
The New York Times’ A. O. Scott led off his review of “Coraline” with some thoughts on its capacity to scare its young audience:

There are many scenes and images in “Coraline” that are likely to scare children. This is not a warning but rather a recommendation, since the cultivation of fright can be one of the great pleasures of youthful moviegoing. As long as it doesn’t go too far toward violence or mortal dread, a film that elicits a tingle of unease or a tremor of spookiness can be a tonic to sensibilities dulled by wholesome, anodyne, school-approved entertainments.

This brings us back to the enduring appeal of scary stories. Children have read millions of scary books from R.L. Stine and Lemony Snicket and teenagers have bought millions of tickets to the “Halloween,” “Friday the 13th,” “Nightmare on Elm Street,” and “Saw” series. The top box office films of all time include scary stories like “Jaws,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and “Silence of the Lambs.” Even family-friendly G-rated films like “Finding Nemo,” “Babe,” and “The Sound of Music” have scary parts. That is because one of the reasons we tell and read and watch stories is because they give us a way to understand and conquer our fears. It will always be difficult for parents to determine what will be too scary for their children. I will do my best to describe what I see and provide some guidance but ultimately the decision can only be made by the ones who know the child best. And ultimately, parents must realize that sometimes a part of seeing a movie is being unsettled and learning to resolve those feelings.
P.S. “Coraline” also has a burlesque performance with two fat, elderly ladies in tiny little costumes that turn out to zip off, revealing younger, lither performers inside. How should a parent evaluate that on a scale of nudity or sexual material? Because it was comic and because it turned out not to be “real,” but a humorous fat suit, I described it as “brief comic nudity (skimpy costume).” I welcome other suggestions and reactions.



  • steppo

    All I have to add to the issue of scary is a personal story. When I was 6.5 I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark with my mom and older brother. I was blown away by the suspense and action. Two scenes frightened the bejeezus out of me. Marion getting 30+ decayed mummies thrown on top of her. And of course the melting faces. It was so intense for me I thought my head would explode. But I was excited! The next day I couldn’t stop talking about it – never had any nightmares – never had to see a therapist. In short – I had a blast being terrified, excited, and laughing at the gags. That’s what the movies should always be about.

  • DeeDee

    I so appreciate movie mom. You tell me exactly what I need to know so that I can form my own opinion. You are the only critic I really seek out and listen to.
    The section of your review that refers to the way some children might react to what and why should remind all of us that PG is an acronym that implies parents should actually use “guidance” when making a “decision” about allowing their children to watch a movie. My daughter every once a while seems to think that PG or PG 13 means that because she is that age that it is appropriate for her to see. I kindly remind her that movie ratings are decided by someone other than her parents and that they mean nothing to me.
    When my children were younger, I watched the disney movies with them and was able to reinforce our belief systems when , for instance, the baby hunchback was held over the well and told to return to hell in the movie Hunchback of Notre Dam. In the movie Coraline, tea leaves are read and magic talismans are used. Scantily clad women dance and eyeballs of children are removed to suspend their souls. If I had younger children, I would realize that these things DO hold an impression on the forming of young minds and watch and discuss this kind of movie with them. Now that my children are older, I feel more confident that scenes and depictions such as these do not go unnoticed but are not as impressive so to speak because of the ground work and “guidance” I did when they were younger.

  • Anne

    I truly appreciate the time and thought you put into this post. My family (myself, hubby, two teenage boys, and our 8 year old daughter) went to see Coraline last night because our daughter (Caroline)had never been so excited about a movie. The whole family loved it and Caroline said it was “the best movie ever”. I think it scared me more than anyone…I suppose I have some residual “mother issues”. The only aftermath I am contending with in regard to our daughter is that she wants to dye her hair blue. :-)

  • Micah

    I definitely agree with AO Scott regarding the appropriateness level. I always feel that in a sense, we as adults become more sensitive to certain violence. For instance, I suspect that those unsettling scenes in Pans Labyrinth when the badguy gets his lip sliced were significantly worse for adults than for kids. I bet they were slightly amused and creatively shocked, but us adults can actually imagine the reality of the situation more. Anyway, the best kids stories are the ones that evoke the imagination both in pleasant and unsettling ways. Personally, I have fond memories of the dark moments in Dumbo, Neverending Story, etc…

  • http://www.myspace.com/dreamrogue Dreamrogue

    Wow, I am so amazed that we have such smart parents here. Your comment gives me faith in us and the world we live in. And its gives me a great explanation about how its a good idea to watch these scary children’s stories rather than failing to seize the opportunity and instead encourage our children to run from their fears the way we run out of the theater when they get scared. I appreciate it.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks for all of these wonderful comments, which are enormously helpful to me and I know to other readers in working through these issues.

  • http://Coroline Shar

    In my opinion, the movie itself had a very powerful message to young children. I took my 6 and 9 year old and they said it was scary.
    I tried to explain the message to them saying that the message, “Be careful what you wish for.” “Clearly states that sometimes things are not what they seem to be and there are always more appealing options, however they sometimes can lead to danger.” I think the disturbing part to them was the evil person was imaged as the mother whom the child at one point was lured in by the image of the actual mother.
    It was clever and I could appreciate it as a grown up. It was strikingly imaginative and crafty. However I did have a nightmare that night and can’t figure out if it was because of this movie?!?
    Was I scared too?

  • http://lindashortman.com Linda

    I took my 10 and 12 year old nephews to see Coraline and they were impressed. Both said they liked it more than they expected to. They thought they were going to “some dumb old girl movie”. We spent a good 2 hours after discussing all the plot points, what was real, what was not. They called it a modern Hansel and Gretel. They did not find it too scary, but found it more edgy and spooky. I think a lot of the concepts would be lost on younger viewers. Thanks for the guidance, we really enjoyed this film..

  • Heidi

    After reading Movie Mom’s review, I felt that my 10 year old daughter was mature enough to see the movie. We both enjoyed it and she didn’t seem to be scared of the whole alternate world theme. I have seen postings on other sites where parents have taken kids 5 to 8 years old and were surprised when the kids were scared. I think many parents fall into the trap that if a movie is animated it must be okay for kids. This movie is rated PG, Parental Guidance Suggested. I know that when my daughter was in that age range I would see any PG movie prior to taking her to ensure it was appropriate for her. Soon I will be doing the same thing with PG-13.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Heidi. It will be a great help in assisting parents to make wise decisions about what is best for their children. I agree with you about the treacherousness of the PG rating and admire your careful research. I am going to write a blog post soon about some of the issues in the PG movies I have seen in the last two months.
    Thanks again and best wishes to you and your family.

  • Jada

    I took my 5 year old daughter to see Coraline last night for her birthday. I did some research, I read reviews, I watched as many clips as I could, and debated for over a week on whether or not to take her. There were so many comments all over the internet from parents who were very upset, stating that their children were scared and that this movie is not for children, and going on and on about all of the horrible things about the movie. Basically, at that point, I was conviced that the previews were hiding the real story, and that it was really a bloody, gory, sexually explicit HORROR film. But, I went with my gut, because my daughter is very smart and very well adjusted. So, her father and I decided that if she can handle The Nightmare Before Christmas, Labrynth, The Dark Crystal, and an array of other dark and disturbing movies from our time without having nightmares or acting out (or freaking out), that she should be able to handle it. And we were right. She absolutely loved the movie. So it just goes to show that all kids are different. I took a chance, and maybe it wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but it all worked out for the best. Next time, however, I might follow Heidi’s lead and if I have doubts about a movie, I’ll go see it first, just in case.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    This is a great comment, Jada, and a real contribution to parents who are struggling with the decision. I am very impressed with the care you took to make sure it was the right movie for your daughter and I am delighted that you all enjoyed it. Thanks so much for writing!

  • Cindy

    My 7 and 10 year old LOVED this movie. The 7 year has the Coraline lunch box. We did read the book first so they were not surprised.

  • Shannon

    I was invited by a friend to see the movie with my children. They are ages 3 & 4. Her daughter is also 4 yrs old. Her child is exposed to more adult movies and music…my children are not exposed to as many mainstream movies and music. My older daughter seems to internalize certain things which later affect her through nightmares and scary thoughts. She also acts things out during regular play. I chose NOT to take my children to see the movie. Children this young are still learning the difference between fiction and reality. I’d rather view the movie first and make a decision afterward. My kids do not watch movies like Narnia or The Nightmare Before Christmas. Frankly they were scared of Meet the Robinson’s so I know that Coraline is probably not appropriate for them.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks so much, Shannon. It is enormously helpful to hear about the way you evaluated this. I think 3 and 4 are much too young for this film. In addition to its themes and images, the 3D effect is overwhelming for younger kids. While some 6-9 year olds will enjoy the film, I am not comfortable recommending it for anyone under 10 or 11.

  • CR

    I saw this movie was in it’s last weekend so I was considering taking my 5yo. After watching a few other trailers I kinda got this is more like Corpse Bride and Monster House.
    Those two and also Nightmare Before X-Mas are great works of art in their own right, but not appropriate for young children.
    However, in keeping pace with the internet “cult” following of certain movies- it’s just the next pill required for tweens who want to identify with these dark images and themes.
    I’ve seen my niece go from wearing colorful clothes and a smile to wearing only black and ragged shoes with unkempt hair and always moping about. She even started carrying around a book of true crimes (murders) with actual coroner photos (she was eleven then).
    It’s the “in” thing to start sprinkling a skull or Jack Skellington here and there until these girls are blacked-out soul-less death rockers.
    Now she is wearing a phony lip and nose ring until she does it herself for real, or her mom breaks down and gives in to her insanity.
    All you have to do to see these girls is go to any mall and stop by a Hot Topic store.
    I’m all for art and being unique but this is a cult people, open your eyes!
    What’s the point if you end up looking/acting like all the others in the end anyway? They are making millions of dollars on this cutesy demon crap and all those NBX’ers are lining up to buy the next patch, hat, and severed head doll.
    Then they become obsessed with piercings and tattoo’s, experimenting with getting high from things they can find around the house (posted all over the internet) and dating older guys that are “freakier” than they are.
    Some of you think it’s a big joke, but negative mental stimulus goes a long way. When my niece becomes some runaway wackjob and ends up in an institution no one will be laughing.
    Be careful what you feed your child’s brain.
    There’s nothing cool about a little devil of a girl looking up spells on Google to use against her mom. AS funny as that may sound it’s pretty disturbing.
    ‘I hate my mom’ and ‘I hate my life’ is all I hear my niece say.
    It’s only a matter of time before she shows how cool she is by making slice marks with razor blades on her arms for attention.
    You can’t have it both ways. Children are very impressionable as you know. Don’t fill them with this trash. The images they subject kids to on the TV are bad enough. Using cutesy characters to sell mutilation, undead, murder, delusions, and dancing demons is really a shame when it’s targeted to kids.
    Of course they just play dumb and say everyone has their own choice but it’s getting pushed on these kids left and right.
    Why take away your child’s innocence when there is so much to celebrate that is good.
    When you have the opportunity to shape your child’s future, steer them clear of this nonsense until they are old enough to appreciate it purely for what it is, …risque and twisted entertainment.

  • mo

    Coraline may look frightening to the 21st century parent but you have to remember that a lot of children love to be scared by film. Just remember classics like the nightmare before christmas, chitty chitty bang bang, snow white and many other films for kids all have scary aspects and they have become some of the fantastic films in history. And, although Coraline has some quite nightmareish parts it is basically a story about what some children take for granted, and so it is very easy for kids to identify with. Also, the film is the one of the most sensationally beautiful stop-motion animations ever made, and it would be a shame for some kids to miss out just because their parents thought it would be too scary for them. Just let your own child decide. If they want to see it based on the trailer, let them see it, and if they dont, dont. Simple as.
    Personally, if i were a child i would long to see it, and i would feel like i was missing an oppurtunity of a lifetime in being held back. You cant sheild your children forever.
    You have got to remember it is just a fairytale, and fairytales are for children.

  • Your Name

    I am surprised no one mentioned the sign of the devil hand signal given by the “other mom” at one point in this evil Illuminati-friendly flick. It’s chock full of MK Ultra Monarch mind control triggers for the MPD and DID crowd too.
    I was minding my own business today just staying away from my house for a few hours while a real estate agent showed it, so to kill (no pun intended) some time I stopped at the cheap movie theater that shows off-peak movies and the most tame sounding one was something titled “Coraline.” I knew absolutely nothing about this movie since I rarely go to movies anyway and I don’t tend to go looking for the kiddie movies. Was I ever in for a shock.
    The problem with Americans is we’ve been fed such a steady diet of Archonic/demonic mayhem for so long that we can no longer distinguish between that which is certainly not good for children and that which is simply wholesome realistic entertainment with a reasonable moral of the story, i.e., Sarah Plain and Tall, or Pride and Prejudice.
    This movie uses much occult symbology, not the least of which is the satanic looking circle around the entrance to the deep well in some of the earliest scenes; the pentagram-like circles on the floor inside the house; circus themes; the Baphomet hand signal or sign of the horned devil hand gesture I mentioned above; mirrors and broken glass imagery; the spider’s web and giant insects. Of course, most of you were not unaware of the more obvious witchcraft themes, but these I’ve mentioned I would not expect the vast majority of Americans to recognize anyway.
    We have been conditioned ever so subtly over the last 60 years – maybe much longer than that – to accept and trivialize witchcraft in all its deviant forms (hyper-sexuality, deviant sexuality, murder, iconography/idolatry, voodoo) through the very movies and stories that the host of this blog mentions in her writing above. It is no wonder parents struggle now with whether or not this foul pandemonium (notice that word at the very beginning of this movie, folks? The producers are Laika in collaboration with Pandemonium)of a scourge ought to be shown to kids.

  • Ann

    And Mo above in the penultimate comment sounds just like a wand wielding, card carrying, full bore practicing witch to me. Just let Mo spin that web of soft deception around your head, folks, and don’t think twice about immersing your children in the centuries old poppy fields. Let the children sleeeep … aren’t you feeling sleeeeppy? Yes, yes, my dearie, sleeeeeep …
    Mrs. Gulch will love you for it.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Mo. I liked your comment a lot. I have many times made the point here that as long as there have been stories, there have been scary stories, and that we use scary stories to help us deal with our fears. Fairy tales are scary — Jack and the Beanstalk, The Brave Little Tailor, all those stories about dragons and ogres, etc. etc. That does not mean that all scary stories are suitable for all or even any children. But it does mean that we should not, well, fear the scary stories and that we should teach children how to deal with their fears even as we protect them from inappropriate material.
    Your Name, I am grateful for your insights about the symbolism, but of course those symbols and terms are also associated with non-witchcraft sources as well. I understand that those who find those symbols especially powerful will always say that those who do not simply do not understand, but in my opinion and experience, the symbols themselves cannot hurt anyone, especially a person of faith.

  • Ann

    I would be remiss to make mention of another MPD/DID trigger theme in this very disturbing and evil mind control movie. 1. The name of the house is the Pink Palace Apartments. In an old report from one investigator in the Jon Benet Ramsey murder case reference is made to a number of children who’d been rescued from an international child porn ring. Quite a number of the kids testified about having attended parties at a very large pink house or mansion where they were used as sex toys for adults and as servants to serve food and drinks to adults. They named names of adults they saw there. Some of those names are those of people who even now hold positions of political power in this nation America. 2. Coraline in the very first scene is using an ancient form of divination (dousing to find water underground). You have a number of practicing witches responding in this blog; of that I am certain.

  • Linda

    Wow. Just wow. I feel bad for parents who think like “Your Name”. Honestly do you think your kids will become devil worshippers and witches just because they see symbols in a movie? You’ve obviously seen a lot of them yourself since you identify them so easily.
    Know thyne enemy I suppose eh? The very reason I came here. I’d never, even under gunthreat let my children talk people who think like that.
    Satanic looking circle? Are you kidding me? Wow. My dogs run through satanic looking circles weekly at agility training then. It’s a thunnel for heaven’s sake.
    As for Ann’s little note on the pink palace. I myself grew up in a pink house. I’d think assuming things like those is taking it a bit far unless you’ve spoken to the author of the story or read a direct quote somewhere. If so I’d very much appreciate seeing that quote.
    Ancient form of dinvination huh? ANCIENT is the key word here. Nowadays it’s a childs game. They are not looking for curry crosses. They’re looking for water. A game I myself was taught by my grandfather. “This is how the settlers looked for water”.
    Poor things.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thank you, Linda. I agree that some people get too caught up in the historical meaning of symbols that no longer signify what they once did. And even if they did, their power would not be effective via a movie like this one. I have noticed that those who are most concerned somehow feel themselves immune but are certain others will not be able to resist. But I am certain that no one can be affected by symbols without their willing participation.

  • Shab

    At least one of these commentators is cRaZy. If Pink Palace is drawn from any real world source, and I don’t think it is, it is the Pink Palace Museum, it even looks a little bit like the house.
    Also, what is up with the conservative protestant “witchcraft” bullcrap? Do you really think that the movie is about witch craft or will turn your precious little snow flake into an evil satanist? It flabbergasts me how otherwise rational seeming people can go kookoo when religion is involved.
    If your child is old enough and you believe they can handle it, let them see the movie. My nine year old handled it fine.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks for the comment, Shab! As you can see, I agree with you about the suitability and merits of the movie. Just a reminder, though, we don’t allow insults of other commenters on this site. I hope you will return often, but that in the future you will remember to make your points without characterizing or questioning the motives of the people on the other side.

  • Richard

    Ann:
    You really think Coraline using a dousing rod was to symbolize witchcraft? She was a bored little girl who has an imagination.
    The Beldam (Antagonist) was not a demon eating kids souls. Beldam is an old russian word for hag/witch, must like the villain in Snow White.
    The Beldam was lonely and lured kids into her imaginary world, and convinced them to live with her forever, however once she was bored of them, she locked them away forever.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Richard! I agree with your comment. However, i had to amend it slightly to comply with the rules for this site which prohibit insults. Thanks for writing and I hope you will return often.

  • Sara

    Be warned that if your kids follow Neil Gaiman, they will discover on the internet a bizarre alternative life style this “children’s author” indulges in that is quite disturbing. ??After divorcing his wife, Neil Gaiman became involved with a woman 20 years his junior, Amanda Palmer. Together they published a book that is a series of snuff/mutilation photographs of the young woman covered in blood staging her own death, crumpled in shopping carts or stuffed into toilets covered in blood. The two launched a public campaign about their “relationship” and participated in an auction where the young woman performed fellacio on a phallic object which was then auctioned off. Amanda Palmer has also posted a naked photos of herself on Twitter and the web covered in grotesque writing and slurs. Neil Gaiman even declared that his favorite photo was off her bruised and bound body. What is the message for young women here??? Neil Gaiman is morally bankrupt and it shows in his story and in his life.

  • natalia

    strange movie….not for kids under 9 for sure. if your kids have nightmares – don’t even consider this one

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thank you, Sara. Gaiman does write many thriller/horror books that are intended for adults only. My understanding is that the Amanda Palmer created the photograph book and invited him to write text. It, too, is intended for adults only, and of course I would never recommend these books for children or even young teenagers.

  • mom

    my 17 month old watches it- loves it- no nightmares, and it is her favorite movie! and no i m not a bad mother,lol, i thik every child is different. aside from dora, she is not interested much in tv or movies except for this one!

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Mom! You may find that as she gets older and understands better what is going on, she may respond to it differently. But you are absolutely right that every child is different and the responsibility and challenge for parents is to be able to guide them according to what is right for them. I appreciate your comment, which will be of great help to parents in approaching this film.

  • Kindergarten Counselor

    I have a group of about 23 kindergarten students and most of them just turned 5 years old. I brought Coraline for them to watch one day for a Fun Friday movie and they all loved it. At first, It was kind of hard for them to understand but after 15 mins into the movie they were all laughing and saying how cool it looked. I think it also taught them a lesson…After the movie was over…many of them came up to me and said…”I would never trade my mommy or daddy for anyone”!

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks so much, Kindergarten Counselor — that is a very helpful comment. I am sure that seeing it in a classroom setting (and not in 3D) helped them to feel safe as well.

  • Lighten up

    Wow I’m really surprised at the article concerning this movie. I think every kid is different and it is up to the parent to determine what is and is not appropriate for their kids. There are some exaggerations from the writer of this article; no ‘devoured’ children no grusome images. I should know; I’ve seen it about 100 times.
    My daughter and I went the day that movie hit theaters. She was way into it! She loved every minute of it! At the time my daughter was 4 going on 5 and I definitely had some hang ups about how scary it was going to be but was surprised that it wasn’t bad. The movie is a cinematic masterpiece and the most amazing stop-motion animation I have ever seen! The 3D was the way to go but on dvd it is still extremely impressive. Give this movie a chance before you judge it so harshly! If nothing else you as the adult reading this comment should rent it right now and see for yourself. I never mind when my daughter wants to watch it I will sit and watch it everytime with her. Everyone has gotten so sensitive! Have you been to a video store lately or watched a tv show? The movie previews and the art on some of the rentals are far more intense and scary than a movie about some ghosts. Lighten up! It’s a kids movie!

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    You’re quite right, Lighten, what may be gruesome to others may not be to you. And every child reacts differently and even the same child may be suddenly frightened by what has not frightened him or her before as he or she is better able to understand the material. So I think it is worth warning parents who come here for advice that there are some scary images and ideas in this movie, including the “other mother” who turns into scary insect and wants to replace Coraline’s eyes with buttons. But I appreciate your comment and am delighted that you and your daughter are fans of this movie. If you explore my site further you will find my description of the Comic-Con panel featuring the people who made the film, which was absolutely thrilling.

  • hereward

    I’ve seen _Stardust_ and _Beowulf_, and would now be surprised if Gaiman were to write a script or a story that would be so nasty that a kid couldn’t see it.
    I think back to my own childhood, and can remember seeing _Invaders from Mars_ when I was four or five; the little kid who’s the protagonist in the film has to deal with his parents being taken over by aliens, which is really creepy. I dealt with it just fine, in fact I went to the movie by myself without Mom.
    I was pretty young also when I saw _The H-Man_, a Japanese movie about a liquid creature that goes around dissolving people. I saw it again many years later and was amused that the rather racy story line was set in the Tokyo jazz demimonde, which all went right over my seven-year-old head. I did get the part about people being dissolved by a monster, though.
    And so on. There are some films that no younger child should see, of course, but I think we worry too much about the kids. And again, I’ll say that I don’t think Neil Gaiman writes the sort of violent blood-spattered trash that we know we would keep the kids from seeing.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Hereward — I am a Gaiman fan, too. I recently read his “Graveyard” book and thought it was outstanding. And your comment about your own reactions to these films is very reassuring. Really appreciate it and hope you will write again soon.

  • Janet

    Do none of you have better things to expose your children to than this harmful film? Have any of you considered introducing your children to classical music or any other edifying or meaningful entertainment experiences? Many of the scenes in this movie are sick and fill a young mind with neurotic and twisted images that will stay with him or her for life. Why wallow in unwholesome garbage when there is so much out there that is edifying and builds a young mind in positive ways and can give him or her useful tools and images for the future? Chinese children are taught western classical music. European children often speak two or three languages with proficiency by the time they are in their teens and know the literary classics. We expose our children to pointless, tasteless, useless, neurotic crap. The sad thing is that it has never occurred to many parents that they do have a choice.

  • http://deadmanmusings.blogspot.com Paul A Drockton M.A.

    Coraline was made to order for MK-Ultra type programming. 70% of the victims are female and the primary purpose is to use trauma to fragment the mind and then to program each fragment with a specific task or assignment.
    Movies like Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Sleeping Beauty are all used as “scripts” for programming. Modern movies like the Matrix, Narnia, etc. are also used as scripts.
    Please visit my site to learn more.

  • Your Name

    American people have been given mind dulling entertainment for ever.
    This culture we now have in america is the culture of death,driven
    by sex perversion,narcissism,the glorifying of drinking and of
    using drugs.
    Public education is a joke,government is corrupt and reality is
    not reality at all.
    IT is past time for the american people to wake from the deep sleep
    and get envolved in changing this culture that is killing our souls,
    hearts and our minds.Lets start by turning off the tv’s and the
    radio’s and start thinking about what we are doing to are selves
    willingly to ad to our own brain draining process and indoctri-
    nation.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks to all for these comments. A couple of thoughts in response.
    1. The predator is female. So is the heroine.
    2. The themes of the film go back to primal and archetypal stories that occur throughout history and in all cultures. It is no more demonic than a fairy tale — or “The Wizard of Oz.” These stories have been told by every civilization as a way of making sense of the world. If they were “programming” rather then inspiring and enlarging our intellects, they would seen results that simply do not exist.
    3. I am all for protecting kids from harmful and corrupting influences — that is the primary purpose of this site. And I am all for introducing children to classical music and great literature. And to films like this one, which has a brilliant soundtrack and images and concepts of enormous imagination and power. It is far from mind-dulling and has nothing to do with promoting perversion, drugs, or other harmful behavior.

  • BurgyBoy

    We took our 7 yr old to see Coraline. He was a little scared but he said it was fun to be “a little bit scared, but no TOO scared”.
    On the other hand, Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is banned in our house. I saw it when it was first released and left the theater feeling like I needed a shower. It was slimy and gross the whole way through. I rarely use the word “Evil”, but that’s how that movie felt to me.
    I was apprehensive about Coraline, but after reading a few reviews we agreed to take him to see it.
    Everything Burton does has a tainted feel to it.

  • wightalien

    Ever wanted to be a movie critic? Anyone???? If any ONE person seriously desires to see the INNER psychological make up of ANOTHER, just ask another for their critique of a controversial movie. Some one, some where, stirred such controversy to pad their employment wallet and help insure their next stint and assignment. And don’t forget!!!!!! It pays to compare OLD YELLER, THE WIZARD OF OZ and other CLASSICS to current day slash and gore movies. It helps.. in all sorts of ways. Quit blasting cinema to promote your own issues and agendas. WE have movie choices. Walk your walk, and talk your talk. ENJOY.. even if you’re inner source of enjoyment is deep rooted fear and scare.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    A most welcome comment, wightalien! That is the fun of talking about movies. Everyone brings his or her own perspective and experience to the discussion. Of course, “Coraline” is nowhere near a slash and gore movie, but I take your point.

  • greg

    The 3D effect was the only thing good about this movie. It was borrrring. I was falling asleep in it. I don’t know who thought it would make a good movie.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Greg, but it would be great if you could be more specific about your reaction so we could better understand your point. But I appreciate the comment and hope you will continue to let me know what you think about the movies you see.

  • Dr. Taam

    eh… my 7 year old liked it. said it was “creepy in a fun way”. nice.
    what? you want everything to be cute and sell you products? when I was a kid Willy Wonka scared the bejesus outta me! It had some dark, dark moments. Brothers Grimm anyone? if you have an open relationship with your kid, and your kid isn’t a tv watching disney zombie, it should work out just fine.

  • Sparty

    Movie does not have a scary bone in it! I took my two daughters to see it age 5 and 7 and they absolutely loved it. It is now in heavy rotation in our dvd collection.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Dr. Tamm and Sparty! Your comments just show again the wide range of reactions to scary material. As Orwell showed so powerfully in “1984,” everyone has a highly individualized reaction to what is and is not scary. Parents need to understand their children well enough to predict what will upset them and, most important, to teach them to handle their fears.

  • F.Lee

    I have read and enjoyed Neil Gaiman and thought the film and story were entertaining though not outstanding in anyway. I saw it alone on DVD and being an older woman, I did not consider whether it might actually be frightening to the very young. However, in retrospect, I do believe some of the images and concepts could be very unsettling and scary for a young child.
    What really did catch my eye was when the two older burlesque artists were performing and “opened up” to reveal their young and thin yet well endowed selves. I recall thinking: “This is a bit racy for little kids.” But more damaging was that it enforced ever fashionable concepts that have practically hypnotized people into believing they are nothing unless they are thin and that aging is so unattractive and undesirable they should resist and reverse this natural process through the use of (often toxic) cosmetics, (often expensive) fitness and diet programs and diets consisting of (unhealthy cause we need good fats) fat free/artificially sweetened (carcinogenic) foods & drinks- not to mention the growing acceptance of cosmetic surgery to achieve perfection and youth – these are pushed on us all and result in so many people who are dissatisfied with their appearance and unhappy with themselves as people.

  • Mister Bentley

    Coraline appears to be an allegory for Gaiman’s involvement in Scientology. Good parents, who ignore you are magically transformed into evil parents who interrogate, spy and turn unsuspecting children into brainwashed zombies, stealing their souls and replacing their eyes with buttons. Gaiman’s stories are emotionally detached, no one seems to change, no one has any friends, just a lonely person walking through a lonely landscape. Unfortunately, that leaves an empty feeling, like a cake spun from sugar with lots of decoration but little nourishment. At least Henry Selick gives the kid a friend. This film seems to be written by someone whose childhood was stolen, who reverted into fantasy to save his mind from endless auditing and who has a very limited understanding of human emotions, having been drilled in the Scientology tone scale to mimic emotions, where grief and shame are downgraded as unnecessary, when in fact these emotions make us human and give us compassion. Henry Selick’s animation is dazzling, but somehow the glaring light of film and the demands of screenplays, where beliefs are translated into action bring out the inherent emptiness of Gaiman’s plot. He turns a pretty phrase, but when you boil a story down to what the character believes translated into actions, it appears Gaiman believes in nothing other than survival under difficult odds.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Interesting assessment, Mister Bentley, but I do not believe it is supported by the text of the book or movie. Many stories with child protagonists begin with a feeling of dislocation and neglect (think of “The Wizard of Oz” or “Alice in Wonderland”). That is an allegory for growing up and the pull and terrors of the adult world. Coraline may believe that her distracted parents are neglectful, but I believe the movie shows very clearly that this is her self-involved perception, not reality. Coraline is certainly befriended in the film, by both the cat and Wybie, who comes through for her in the real world as well as the fantasy world.

  • Tara

    I found the scene with the 2 women “performing” to be absolutely disgusting and disturbing! I wish we had rented this movie first instead of bought it! The woman wasnt even wearing a bikini (which wouldve been bad enough) but she was wearing NIPPLE COVERS!! How far is society going to let things like this in CHILDRENS movies go?? I wrote Universal about this and if they wont take it back my copy will be going into the trash! My husband and I dont allow movies with nudity in this house and regardless of whether they were “costumes” or not that was nudity!! TRASH!!

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Tara. This is the “brief apparent comic nudity” I mentioned in my review. I do my best to alert parents to content they might find disturbing.

  • lisa

    yes i tht it was scary and i’m in my 30′s! tho i hate scary movies. i definitely would not show this to my children, almost too scary for me. i love action like Gladiator, but hate scary. it was a good movie, but a bit scary for me. the Dark Knight was too scary for me too tho. definitely should see it, but know its scary, and worth it for Heath Ledgers performance.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Lisa. It just shows again how individual the reactions to scary material can be. Yes, this film can be scary and disturbing and sensitive audiences should be cautious.

  • Your Name

    I thought the movie was just fine. Although, I was surprised at some of the dialogue and the lady with such large and I mean LARGE breasts, lol, it was ok. They run in the family, so my daughter thinks the larger bust was no big thing. My oldest is 5 and she loves it. We don’t make a big deal out of the movie parts we thought were questionable and she’s never paid any attention to it. When we teach our children to make a big deal out of these things, they will only learn to focus in on it and your original intention of protecting your children from it is shattered. Trust me, anytime my mother told me I couldn’t do soemthing or watch something, I found a way to do/watch it. It is definitely parental responsibility to watch it first and not become outraged when we purchase a PG movie and let the kids watch it with us. Trash does not describe this movie. It is a brilliant work of art and a great story. The soundtrack is beautiful, the composers did so well.
    If you do not want nudity of ANY kind, then stick with G. It will always be a safe bet :)

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    A very balanced comment — thanks!

  • Hillary

    I thought it would be to scary for my daughter (shes 5) so i wouldn’t let her watch it but I was watching it on mt personal laptop and she sat by me and watched the whole thing. i kept asking her… aren’t you scared? she kept saying no i kept checking.. and she laughed and smiled at the funny parts… she loves it now its one of her favorite movies. i think it just come off scarier because its set so dark and gloomy but really no worse than wizard of oz or the secret of nimh (which was my favorite as a young child)

  • jay

    I may be a bit late but Coraline just started featuring on HBO. I turned it on for a quick second and caught the part with the disgusting overweight mostly naked lady with a thong and her huge breasts bouncing about, even I was disgusted and pissed! because my 6 year old daughter caught it too! This movie should have definately not been rated PG, but higher. If I had seen a higher rating I would have never turned it on. That was all I had to see to not even want to watch the rest of it. This is NOT a movie for children unless parents dont mind their children watching nasty crap like this. How in the hell did this get put in a “childrens” movie? I have never in my life seen something like that in a childrens movie, thats why I screen everything my children watch! It was just unfortunate that my daughter happened to walk in on the nude part the second I turned to it.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thank you, Jay, as you will see if you look at my review, I caution parents about the nudity and especially the very scary images and recommend the movie for middle school age and above. I am glad you screen everything your children watch; I wish all parents did. I appreciate your comment, which will help guide parents considering this film.

  • Taylor

    I just recently saw this movie. I was raised on Freddy and Jason, and even at 7-8, never feared a slasher. This movie is psychologically scary and may scare children who don’t understand Gaiman’s style of storytelling(which is awesome). SPOILER: the fact that Other Mom can promise the world, but only by a strong sacrifice(in this case sewing buttons on your eyes) may fall short of younger fans. Other Mom and Dad are scary enough to warrant a PG-13 rating. There are dead/murdered children in the movie. I personally thought the sisters boobs were hilarious, but not for a kid who will leave the movie going “boobies, boobies!”. The movie is top notch and absolutely brilliant, but for a person, now 32 who can watch a decapitation without blinking, you may want to pass on this for your kid. 11 years old minimum.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Good comment, Taylor! I agree that this film is for middle schoolers and up. And that it is top notch and brilliant.

  • Andy

    I am a 36-year-old man who was raised partially on such inappropriate, R-rated adult fare as “Conan the Barbarian,” “Road Warrior,” “Trading Places,” “Easy Rider” and the like. Even given that background, I have to say that I found “Coraline” fairly terrifying, even as an adult. Comparisons to “Bambi” and “The Lion King” notwithstanding, this movie is horrifying in a very distinct way, one that will not easily be erased from the psyche of a child. This is not just a film about a child’s parent(s) dying in a world with a clear moral center, such as in a Disney film. Think what you will of Disney, but the examples above are ones which could conceivably engender heartfelt discussions about life and death, right and wrong, etc.
    “Coraline” is another animal entirely. Here we encounter a girl with a dreary home life, whose parents are not dead, but seem to regard her as little more than a necessary irritation in their otherwise miserable lives. Given the freedom to explore their dilapidated home as long as she leaves her caregivers alone, she discovers an alternate reality, in which her parents are seemingly perfect, though in an eery, Doris Day kind of way. Her “other mother and father” pay attention to her, they laugh with her, they actually cook her nutritious meals. The only problem is, they have scary, vacant eyes made out of black sewing buttons. Oh, and the mother in particular becomes increasingly possessive, and angry, and finally insists that Coraline allow her to sew buttons into her own eyes so that she can live with them “forever.” When she refuses, the “other mother” – actually some kind of spider-witch – grows into a spindly, grotesque perversion of the mother, and it is revealed that she is actually after the child’s soul, to add to her collection of hapless children — whose miserable spirits have been stolen and locked in a dungeon for decades, their death-masks of horror forever emblazoned on their innocent, button-eyed faces.
    If the disturbing images themselves are not enough to keep a child in nightmares for weeks, the imprint of the story line will likely provide fodder for therapy sessions years down the road… as Coraline is left to choose between giving up her eyeballs to join the macabre circus that populates her other mother/spindly-spider-witch’s fantasy world… and returning to her real life, where her mother and father have slightly more human eyes, but only a small fraction of the investment in her existence and general well-being as her doppleganger parents through the proverbial looking glass.
    As children’s movies go, it’s true that scenes from “Snow White” and “The Wizard of Oz” did a real number on kids, and certainly the latter is “Coraline’s” closest forebear. But frame for frame, even adjusted for time, this film is darker, more hopeless, more complicated and more terrifying than anything the Wicked Witch of the West could have dreamed up.

  • Your Name

    Like it or not people; this movie is loaded with occult/witchcraft imagery. Coraline picks up a divining rod, walks straight to a Fairy Ring (circle of toadstools) where the well is located, uses a portal to a parallel world, uses a triangular stone in which she gazes through (Illuminati eye within pyramid on back of one dollar bill) to see the kids souls. Nevermind that Gaiman is one of the most prolific writers of this sort of fantasy genre, he has no business writing children’s stories. I let my 4 1/2 year old daughter watch it before researching it and now wish I hadn’t.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    I am very sorry to hear that your daughter saw this film; as I have made clear in my review it is not appropriate for a 4 1/2 year old. Indeed, I do not recommend any feature film for a child under five. I hope you will allow her to express her thoughts about the film to you and work through any fears she has in a positive way.
    As for the symbols you list, those are found in any sort of fantasy story dating back to the earliest fairy tales and myths through all cultures. I believe what matters is the context; as in all fairy tales, the powers of good and kind and truth triumph over the false, greedy, and predatory. That is what stories are for.

  • Belinda

    Hello everyone and thank you for posting your opinions and experiences on this helpful website. Recently I am working on an evaluation paper for my English class. I am a 20 year old college student with no children. I was watching this film and realized that this movie is intended for children.
    When I did my research I came across interviews with both the book writer and director stating that this movie was made for all audiences including young children. To my surprise immediately after watching it i was quite frighted and if i had children under 10 years of age I would not let them watch it. In my evaluations paper for the movie Coraline in this subject whether it’s too scary for the younger children is one of my major arguments. I believe that it is too scary and can cause nightmare younger children are very imaginative and it can hunt them thought out life. Now I feel confident in my explanations thanks to all you. Also like mentioned before it is up to the parent to see if your child may like it or be scared of it and based on that your decisions on watching it should be made. All children do react differently. Once again thank you.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thank you, Belinda, and if I can be of any help with your paper, email me at moviemom@moviemom.com and let me know.

  • http://www.jtf.org/e Rubystars

    I think the movie was too scary for anyone under 13 to be honest. I know if I would have seen it as a young child I would have been very frightened. I was scared by it and I’m 31!
    Another thing to note is the very heavy Satanic imagery in this movie. The horned hand/Mano Cornuto makes more than one appearance (at least twice the other mother uses it). There is UFO symbolism and 6′s in abundance. The imagery in that vein is very thick in this movie so if you are a Christian parent you need to be aware of it. Some of it might not be obvious on a casual viewing but it will go into your subconscious mind so do be careful. It’s like the other mother said, it’s hidden in plain sight. Also the other poster was spot on when she talked about gazing through the pyramid.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thank you, Rubystars. Those symbols occur in many forms in many cultures. And as I have said before, honest faith cannot be impaired by such trivialities, even at the subconscious level. That is where the foundation of faith is located.
    I appreciate the comment, which will be a helpful guide to parents who are making a decision about whether this film is right for their families.

  • Samantha Carman

    Dear other posters, I hope you read this, then I hope you re-read this. I think it is absolutely hilarious that you would even consider this movie to be to scary for children. I also think it’s ridiculous that you would pull out random parts of the movie and say it has a heavy satanic tone. Do you even know what Satanism is? The fact that you would even bring your silly christian religion into a movie that has nothing to do with it, disgusts me.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Samantha, I appreciate your willingness to share your views but I must remind you that the rules of this site prohibit insulting any other commenters. Please remember that insult is not argument and that if you wish to make a point you must be able to do more than condescend, dismiss, and criticize; you have to respond in a factual and respectful manner. Otherwise, you simply make it easy for the other side to dismiss your points as unworthy of engagement.
    I am a big fan of this movie as my review shows and included it in my top 10 list for the year. But it is easy for me to see how the macabre and grotesque images, which are intended to be scary and disturbing, could be related to or interpreted as demonic themes, just as in other frightening stories.

  • Worriedparent

    My 8 years old son watched the movie few months ago; to this day he wakes up sweating at night coming to my bed talking about this movie.
    Shortly after watching the movie he developed a tic disorder with involuntary movements, I can’t say for sure this was the cause but it did happen shortly after.
    I can’t believe they rated this movie PG, it is totally irresponsible, I hope someone take them to court for this.
    Any parent who read this post, PLEASE save your child from this movie.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    I am so sorry to hear that, worriedparent. I hope that in talking to you he is able to work through some of the issues that are troubling him. I did my best in my review of the movie to caution parents that the movie includes some very disturbing images and themes.

  • Werebat

    Wow. You know, when I was five years old, some members of the extended family took me to the drive in theatre to see “Alien”. Now THAT was scary! “Coraline” is nothing but a dark fairy tale. At the end, the heroine wins.
    The children most likely to be rattled by “Coraline” are ones with drunk or crazy mothers who are like the “Other Mother” in the film. All nice and sweets on the outside, but inside…

  • pingpong

    My daughter was four years old when she first watched this movie. She was begging me for months to buy it, but I always hesitated because I thought it looked way too scary. When I first watched it I have to admit I was very shocked in a few parts. You have to really look at the movie as a piece of art though. Tim Burton has an amazing imagination and very dark sense of humor. After watching the movie a few times I really started to appreciate the beauty, creativeness and originality of it. I am not really a Tim Burton fan at all, but in my opinion this is the best movie he has ever made. As for my daughters reaction to the movie… She LOVED it! She was absolutely fascinated by the spookiness from beginning to end. It is still to this day her favorite movie and never has she had any nightmares from it.
    Oh… and a little word of advice to the “WORRIED PARENT”…. If your child is really that sensitive to movies then you should do the responsible thing and screen everything he watches before hand.

  • Jakman

    I had to get up and make an excuse to get away from that movie!!! I don’t know how they can justify giving this only a PG rating.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Jakman. There are some very scary images.

  • Bailey

    Well… I seen Coraline on the night of it’s release. I was twelve at the time. Because it was at the theater and in Read-D 3D,(the first movie EVER in that 3D, so I didn’t know what to expect) it made the movie rather disturbing. Now, the scene of the two ladies in “fat suits” was rather humorous, but I do have to say that I believe in what you said there about judging that scene. The movie is — yes — creepy, but it is resolved in a positive — well, almost positive — way in the end. Okay, maybe not. But, if the kids are scared after watching it, why not read the last chaper of Coraline by Neil Gaiman because it ends on a more positive note than the original and you could say that you were telling the kids “how it really ends”. I don’t know if you like my input, but it’s the best I have to offer to you. Thanks for reading.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Bailey, I really appreciate this comment — very thoughtful and an excellent suggestion. Much appreciated. I loved the book!

  • Sarah

    I watched this movie last night. Extremely creepy at some parts, though good, strong plotline. If your children dont appriciate you enough, its a darn good thing to rent this movie and say “park it”. I was taught to appriciate this movie as a reminder to.

  • Devin

    I find movies aimed at children and families to be a lot creepier than actual horror films. I always find something either really dark and strange about a film that most people miss or overly depressing.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Anonymous

    I’m a little surprised that people are afraid to take their kids to see Coraline when the older generations had shows like Candle Cove, although a good many of you are way too young to remember that show, but I know that things are different now that the shoe is on the other foot (and today parents are more involved than they were in the past with what kids are watching).

    For those that don’t know about it, it was an obscure show aired at some weird time around the 1971-1973 time period in and around Ironton, Ohio (local children’s programming), it was about a little girl named Janice and all the things she’d imagine and took place in the imaginary Candle Cove. Janice was the only actual person, the rest were cheaply made puppers with crayon-drawn backgrounds. The main puppet hero was Pirate Percy, who looked like an old antique porcelin baby doll’s head put on a pirate doll’s body, a cowardly pirate often told by his ship, the Laughingstock “you must…go in…the cave” when he didn’t want to explore. The Laughingstock sounded like Ed Wynn with his voice and laugh. Calliope music was constantly playing in the background. There were two main villains that I remember but there might have been others. Horrace Horrible was this puppet that had just a handlebar moustache, really tall teeth, and a monacle (we always thought he had just one eye) for a face. He was the sidekick to the Skin Taker, a skeleton marionette with a hat and cape that was crudely sewn together was made of old stitched together children’s skin, but his glass eyes were too big for their sockets and his jaw moved back and forth (not up and down like most puppets), Janice even mentioned that asking why his jaw moves like that (the he looked not at her but at the camera and said “to grind your skin”). One episode was really chilling (I never watched again after that so I don’t know if it’s the end or what), all the puppets were just standing around, screaming, even the Skin Taker (his jaw moving back and forth so wild I thought it was gonna come off its wire hinges), and Janice standing around crying like she’d been through hours of it. They were all just flailing and screaming for the whole show.

    Sorry for the long winded description but the point is if kids watched stuff like Candle Cove and turned out ok, kids are alot more resillient than we think even though naturally we want to protect them.

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks for a thoughtful and balanced approach and the introduction to Candle Cove!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sandra

    I started watching this film tonight with my daughters (2 year old and 4 year old)…My 2 year old didn’t appear frightened but my four year old burst into tears when the doll of her parents was thrown on to the fire and started melting…I think in retrospect I should have watched it first but I assumed “PG” would be OK.

    I turned it off shortly after that scene, my 4 year old has just gone to sleep telling me she is scared she will have a bad dream.

    I guess I’ll know in a short while whether it really scared her or just scared her temporarily but I learnt tonight that you really do need to check the film out yourself before watching it with your kids.

    I watched the ending and plan to tell my 4 year old tomorrow that Coraline found her Mummy & Daddy in the end.

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks, Sandra, this comment will be very helpful to other parents trying to determine whether this is appropriate for their families. In general, I don’t recommend feature films for any child under 5, and especially not one rated PG. It is just too hard to predict how they will react and too hard to reassure them if they get scared. I try to make it clear in my reviews what content parents should consider before showing the movie to children.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sandra

    Nell,

    The next morning my 4 year old woke up and asked me if she could watch the end of Coraline. She told me she wanted to see how it ended and that she wouldn’t be scared. I have to admit my initial reaction was no, but after continued begging I agreed to watch the ending with her and I’m glad I did. She didn’t seem at all scared and I was able to show her and explain to her that it was OK in the end.

    I agree all children are different and each parent has to decide what they think their own children can cope with.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment iris

    No I really don’t thik so cuz i wath i all the time and i am a child myself. I’ve seen scarier.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Anonomous

    Seriously, you think that Coraline i scary? I know a two year old that watches flippin horror movies including all of Tim Burton’s films.
    Sincerely,
    Liyhi.ijgblk

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks, Iris. If you’re old enough to write a comment, you’re older than the kids parents have been concerned about seeing this film. I’m glad you like it. And Anonymous, a two year old may be too young to be scared by what she sees but may get scared when she is four or five and can understand it better.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Chace

    This is my two year old’s favorite film. I don’t think age really has anything to do with it. Kids are going to react differently to different things just as adults do. My children seem to embrace films with darker imagery and don’t scare easily. This is of course not true with every child. What is scary to one may be down right hilarious to another, it’s all relative.

    • Nell Minow

      Good point, Chace. Everyone is different, especially when it comes to what’s scary. And what is hilarious to one at age two may be scary at age six, when the implications of the visuals are more understandable.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment j.strickland

    I have 3, 5, 7, and 8 year olds and they have all seen this movie. Its my youngest children’s favorite movie and they often ask to watch it on family nights. Every parent knows their children and they also know their level of involvement in their child’s life. I do not allow my kids to watch anything without previewing it first. That being said I do not believe that every story should be so bland and boring it could put a dog to sleep. Children are much more resilient than adults give them credit for and most enjoy a good creepy shock.

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks, J Strickland! Good to hear.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment LMom

    My kids saw this movie while at a cousin’s home. My 8 yr old was unaffected but my 10 year old just terrorized. She saw it in November and still (in Feb) can’t sleep alone or go upstairs alone. She wakes up crying about this movie. She is being teased about it in school.

    Of course it is fun to be scared – and to get some resolution. But I have to say there is something about this movie that had to be incredibly disturbing.

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks LMom. Each child responds differently to scary material and it is impossible to predict sometimes. I recommend the book “The Annie Stories” to help with nightmares.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jergus Baca

    I have seen this movie with my three little brothers at that time they were age 8, 10 and 13. I at that time was 18 years old. I think it was highly inappropriate for children. It is hardly comparable to Lion King or Bambi as you have described in your post. while Lion King does feature a death of the parent it is done with sensitive emotional background music, while coraline soundtrack is made of unbeliviably scary material and even I have to admit that now and than I was afraid of the narrative. It is extremely “sick” and deviant movie and each of my little brothers that have seen that movie with me were terrified one of the brothers (10) had to leave the cinema house as he did not found himself to be comfortable with what he has seeb. Another point I would like to make is while reading a book you let your own imagination to project these scenes within the limits of your own imagination, for kids, CHILDREN IMAGINATION! It is far different from the imagination of adults. This movie is made by adults, imagination of adults, by people that have seen horror movies have seen thriller movies have seen movies that are far more “brutal” than Coraline, have your child??? Do you really want to show your child terrifing images that he/she can avoid until later age? Intil he/she will be more able to cope with it…I think this movie should not be allowed for kids view until the age of 12 at least…

    • Nell Minow

      Thank you, Jergus. As I mentioned in the post, I recommended it for middle school and older (that would be ages 12 and up), so we agree. But responses to this kind of material are very individual. Some younger children might be fine with it and some teenagers and adults might find it disturbing.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Matthew

    No it is creepy for me and i am 10 manly the other mother it puts in your mind that your parents are going to be taken away so i thing 10+, even my 8 year old freind at school stoped it half way through the middle addults think it’s creepy.

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks, Matthew! Your feedback is very helpful.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Brandon Steven

    This movie is not for kids. There is a woman with pasties and half naked with big breasts. It’s not for kids for sure, it’s evil and some parts are sexual with subliminal messages. No good!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Julismom

    My 8 year old just saw this movie last night – her uncle gave her the dvd (he had no idea the movie would be inappropriate for her) – and she cried before bed, woke up startled during the night, and in the morning told me about the nightmares she had. She is adopted, and then asked me how many sets of parents she really has – she knows her adoption story. She told her teacher about it this morning and cried again in school. I later got an email from her teacher letting me know that my daughter had a rough morning at school. Luckily, she asked me tonight if she could throw the movie in the garbage – and she did! Hopefully her worries and fears are now in the trash – where this movie should stay! What kind of mind thinks these movies are ok for young kids! This is why as a parent, I try to screen everything she watches.

    • Nell Minow

      Sorry to hear that, Julismom. As you can see in my review, I do not recommend the movie for children below middle school age and I am very clear about what elements may be disturbing even for older children so parents can make a decision based on each child’s individual situation and sensibility. Please feel free to email me any time at moviemom@moviemom.com with questions about any film you are considering. And good strategy on the garbage idea! We still have a scary book on the top shelf, where my son asked me to put it many years ago.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Juan

    I am 26 years old and I watch a lot of real horror movies, but I have to admit that Coraline freaked me out, I will never let my children watch it.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Lauriebear

    I loved this movie. It is a bit freaky towards the end, though. If your chils gets scared easily, let them watch the first part. That is not scary…just my opinion;)

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Just wow

    I honestly think that the movie is somewhat scary, (it definitely gave me chills!) and then my little sister (She’s barely 5) watched it behind me without even letting me know she was there. And she’s just fine! I’m going to ask her tomorrow if she had any nightmares and if she did, as a caring 10 year old big sister, I’ll help her even if I’m late for school. (Also, just saying Nell, a lot of the people who comment on these reviews should really think more about their actions…)

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks, Just Wow! You are a terrific sister and I loved your comment.

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