Sunday, February 8, 2009

a brief detour to Coraline

So my 6 year old has an unusually dark sensibility for a six year. Perhaps also genetic because I enjoy it to no end this little dark twist of her otherwise sunny soul.

Mike - in his magazine work - had received a copy of the graphic novel of Coraline which seemed to be most of the first more adult books she has pored over - I thought, perhaps too dark - but she was mesmerized by button eyes and the two worlds and I thought, perhaps this is a good lesson in wishing for better parents rather than the ones who are freelance writers and therefore seem glued to their computer screens 24/7.

Julia had been lobbying to see the movie and I was on the fence but while I ordering some Harry Potter related material for cousin J for Chanukah I happened to happen upon a Coraline adventure contest, the ultimate prize being a screening of the movie for 25 of our closest friends. I never win this stuff but on a lark, I entered...and I won.

So as of Tuesday I was in total Julie McCoy mom mode, putting out the word for folks to come to the screening which was 830(!) Saturday morning at the Century City AMC. I did the right thing and invited her entire grade (thank god for email) at the all inclusiveness school but got a LOT of "oh my god, my child could never handle that movie" responses (and a couple of ballet conflict issues and definitely some "too early"s). But a few intrepid 1st graders and their older sibs were on board, my friend who writes for all sorts of cool web blogs and LAist and her two daughters...the numbers started to rise. I thought about bringing a few dozen bagels and making it brunch but didn't know how much the theatre would go for it.

Let me just say that getting my daughter to school by 830 is a daily challenge. Getting her to the Coraline screening 15 minutes early was easy easy easy.

We did a little pre-scout by Tivo-ing the 15 minute "Making of Coraline" on HBO and watching it together - I did a little explanation of how stop-motion animation works and Julia was fascinated. She is dark and old-school.

Movie day - just the bunch of us in the theatre - a terribly excited row of kids with their 3-D glasses on. Mesmerized and totally drawn in. I sit directly in front of Julia and we grasp hands at the beautiful moment when Coraline makes pillow parents to substitute for her missing ones and sleeps between them - that's my girl.

This movie is so insanely beautiful I will want to watch it again. Painstaking in its precision and artistry - a compelling story ( I have but one feminist gripe with the plot that I won't go into for fear of spoiling), that allegory that takes a wish we've all had for a better family and turns it into a tale of appreciation without it being over the top and hallmark.

Julia has already put the DVD on her wish list and has altered her top "what I want to be when I grow up" choices to include set designer for stop motion animation on it, alongside writer and artist. It really does fit everything she is.

When I asked her if it was scary she said - "kind of, but not really"....The scariness seemed removed to me in a way, perhaps that it was animation, or so fantastical. I don't know.

And the lovely powers that be also gave us T-shirts and bookmarks and Coraline pens - and I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of first grader Coraline billboards at our school this week. By the way Julia has a bright blue wig that I'd be surprised if it doesn't surface at Halloween...perhaps eschewing Ginny Weasley for Coraline????

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