There's no place like home.
If Edward Gorey's American gothic could be married to Tim Burton's ghoulishness, then what would emerge would be Coraline, a film with the demanding psychology of Neil Gaiman's prose married to the wild imagination of James and the Giant Peach's convoluted film director, Henry Selick.
Yes, 3-D-stop animation Coraline is not for everyone, but aficionados of the eccentric should love the complicated story of a young girl, Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning) thrust Alice-in-Wonderland style into a parallel universe where the mother ( Teri Hatcher) and father (John Hodgman) she might have thought she wanted are nightmarish knockoffs she needs to run from.
Although the film shows how Coraline, and by extension all children, must have wit and courage to fight the forces of evil, it also emphasizes the need to accept the eccentricities and remoteness of nerdy, bright parents who may have their own demons to fight before the end of the day. The Wizard of Oz in spirit influences this film with the parallel universe motif of characters patterned out of real life and the universal message about the goodness of going home.
This sometimes macabre and challenging animation is mostly not for children and a puzzler for adults who may not want to be challenged at a time when they struggle with financial monsters threatening their real homes.