I didn't think Coraline would be a five-star movie. I didn't think its animation, storyline or character would hook me in right away.
But it did. And I can't think to recommend a better movie of 2009. Even though it might be billed as a kid's film, Coraline is anything but....even if the plot sounds familiar: a family move into a new house, and the young girl finds a hidden door that leads to an alternate reality (think Beetlejuice, but less kitschy). Here, Coraline is amazed but also horrified. In this fantasy world, everything is turned upside down, and I won't reveal any more plot points for fear of writing spoilers.
Directed by Henry Selick, who previously worked on The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline has tight pacing and fascinating characters. The dialogue is fresh and never contrived; and there are powerful moments of true fright, so this film isn't recommended to kids under 11.
I give it five stars and two enthusiastic thumbs up.