(G, talk about beating a dead horse!)
So I am apparently not the only one who has reacted somewhat strongly about the (arguable) misrepresentation of female characters in the movie version of Coraline. There are problems with the depiction of pretty much all the women – not to mention the main antagonist “Other Mother” and what I found an ALARMING and misguided and torturous addition of a boy character.
The only other thing I want to point out about this is that i still think the book is beautiful and deserves to be read and if all the hoopla just boosts the sales of the book, then I guess I’m ok with that.
There are some lovely bits in the book that are left out, which is fine with me. But one of the scenes (which happens to be among my faves of all Mr. Gaiman’s writings) establishes a beautiful relationship btwn Coraline and her father which aided tremendously in setting a tone for the entire sequence of events as well as give one of the keys of the story: what it means to be brave. I will now tell you so SPOILER WARNING for those who have not yet, but want to read the book…
In the book, Coraline tells how her father seemed brave when they were out and about and there was a swarm of bees getting ready to attack them. The father told her to race up the hill, while he flailed about attracting the entire swarm allowing enough time for her to get away. In talking about it, she thanks him realizing he took the full brunt of the attack while she got away relatively scratch free, and then he tells her something quite lovely. He says that (and i’m paraphrasing from memory so probably not quite doing it justice) he didn’t feel it was really brave, because he wasn’t scared. All he could think of was her safety. It’s only being brave when you are scared, and that is a much more noble act. She then notes his true act of bravery when he went back some time later alone to where the beehive was and removed it. Then he was scared but did it anyway. This is the theme that carries our young heroine through the end, to do what needed to be done despite her fear.
So even if you didn’t read the book or see the movie, you could imagine that at the crucial parts of the story, fear and courage are of vital importance, and many of us were put out (read: pissed off) that the writer/director chose to alter the sequence of events significantly. Again, as I’ve said before, the movie is quite lovely and a work of art, deserving of all praises and awards it will undubitably garnish. If you don’t know the book you will get more of a kick out of it, and all in all the story holds up just fine.
But it still doesn’t feel right at the end of the day, and I really could be a lot sadder than I am if I let myself. But I’m going to be brave.