"Coraline" is clearly meant to be a suspense thriller for the preteen to teen child. The movie begins with Coraline searching out her new surroundings and being spooked by the setting and the introduction of new characters. However, each of these scenes and characters prove to be rather harmless, as we are only being set-up for the real "danger."
Coraline, is lured into another world out of her own pride filled dissatisfaction of her own world. What she has crossed over to in fact is the underworld. It is a world that at first seems wonderful, only to quickly change direction as she disovers that all that seems so perfect and enchanting is only an illusion meant to entrap her.
Coraline escapes only to find she has left others behind who need her help. As any true Heroin, she decideds that if others can't help, she will have to conquer her real fears and face her evil foes.
What Coraline discovers ultimatley is that circumstances and people in life may never be the way she would like them, but that she can appreciate and love what she has. And, she learns that if you're not happy, don't rely on others to make things right.
All in all, this was an excellent scary allegory for the right age! I would not take a child under 9 to see this! I took my daughter who is almost 9 to see it, and she was scared a great deal by it..ie she didn't sleep well.
Important subject matter to consider:
Disrespect towards others, especially parents..however this is one of the heroines faults that leads to lessons learned,
Suggested nudity..apparenty justified because it is not a "real" body, just one created in the underworld,
Souls inhabiting inanimate objects,
Horrific acts..the evil underworld wants to steal her eyes, thereby entraping her forever.
Although Coraline overcomes these circumstances, children take these subjects home with them from the movie theatre and can worry about them becoming real.
In a Brothers Grimm way this is a good allegory for children, just as long as they are not so young they can't seperate fantasy from reality. I would say, 9 is the youngest, and that's with parents who can explain the allegory after the movie to their child. I think this movie is perfect for 11 to 12 year olds.