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  • From The Film of the Book: Wybie mentions that his grandmother doesn't rent to families with children—she seems to realize something in the house preys on children, including her long-gone sister. It's never explained why Coraline's family is an exception, or why she doesn't intervene once she's realized (because of the missing doll) that Coraline's in danger.
    • I always construed that as the landlord not wanting to deal with certain liabilities from having kids running around. #1 is the presence of a poorly-protected well. It doesn't appear that grandmother knew the doll had anything to do with her sister's disappearance.
    • Easy. Does it appear that the grandmother has even met Coraline? Or that her parents actually told the Grandmother that they have a kid after finding a big "No kids"?
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    • I once went on a trip with my folks when I was 12, when the only available hotel in the area was a "no kids" , they decided not to turn us away since I was not really a little kid who'd stick random objects in my nose, run around being loud, leave toys everywhere, disturb the other guests, etc. Maybe that's the case here?
      • This is what I thought was the case. The Jones could easily loophole the 'no kids' agreement by saying something like, "Oh, our daughter's not a child, she's pretty much a teen!"
    • That might be the case, since the residents are all old people so a little child running around screaming and crying and bothering them would be bad for the other residents. With Coraline, she's 10-14 so the grandmother might've thought, "oh, what the hey?"
    • It is never a good idea to turn down tenants in a recession.
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    • Or, of course, her parents could have simply "forgotten to mention" they had a daughter. The place being simply too good a deal to miss out on.
    • As mentioned in the Fridge section, it's possible that Grandmother might have started having dementia, so she forgot her own rule against having children in the place.
    • This troper assumes that the grandmother knew exactly, or at least had a good understanding of, the disappearance of her twin sister. Somehow, the grandmother also learned of the use of the doll, which spy on the Other Mother's newest victim. Therefore, she allowed Coraline and her family to move in when the doll was safely in the trunk back at home, thus, the Other Mother could not spy on Coraline and create a world around her. If only Wybie had simply let the doll be...
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    • Better yet, why didn't she do anything to destroy the key? If she knew that it opened the only way into the Other Mother's clutches, why did she leave it in plain reach of anyone who went in the house? She may have been deathly afraid of entering the house after what happened to her sister, but that was when they were kids (at least 50 years back), she had all the chance in the world to walk in and get rid of it in the conveniently nearby well, but she instead left it in the key drawer. She clearly didn't expect a cleverer kid like Coraline to come and outwit the Other Mother as proven by the "No Kids" policy, so there's no real excuse for this.
      • Perhaps she didn't realize the key was in the drawer? She did lock the door and wallpaper over it, so throwing away the key seems like the next logical step. Maybe she just accidentally threw away the wrong key. Or, even if she did get rid of it, it has a way of eventually finding its way back to the door, the same way circumstances conspired to deliver the re-sewn doll to Coraline.
      • If that's the case, then how can we be sure that throwing it away in the well at the end of the film would have stopped it coming back?
      • The well has a fairy ring around it. It's possible that the well would be the only way of disposing of the key for good, due to its magical properties. Or maybe it'll just take too long for the key to return.
      • I like to pin my hopes on what the Other Mother screamed as she was trying to beat her way through the door near the end: "I'll die without you!" Wybie's grandmother locked the door and kept the Other Mother from getting any more children for decades. Maybe she was already nearly starved to death by the present day; that might be why the Other World started winding down so quickly, and why she was so impatient for Coraline to join them. The Other Mother used the last of her strength to try to get Coraline: when Coraline defeated her and relocked the door, the Other Mother was doomed.
      • Also, no Other Well. It's highly likely the well does not reach through.
    • Maybe she hoped one day she could find a way to bring her sister back, which Coraline did. Hence she left the key where it could be found.
    • In real life, there are a lot of communities where children aren't allowed to live. This troper's aunt and uncle live in a retirement community where you can only get a place if you don't have children with you and are above a certain age. Children cannot even live there unless it's something like they're handicapped, visiting, or staying the night. The grandmother might've exercised something like that. Or, she made it clear that children are allowed, but not welcomed, especially since most of the residents are over 50 and it's in the middle of nowhere, and most children wouldn't want to live in a somewhat rural area. In many towns like Las Vegas or Atlantic City, children do live there, and much of the time, they make it clear that while children can be there, there's many areas they aren't allowed in, as booze, gambling, and partying run rampant, so they aren't particularly welcomed in those particular places.
  • Why did Coraline tell Wybie's grandmother what happened to her sister? Wouldn't that cause her parents to speculate about the other world's existence?
    • She told Wybie's grandmother so that she would have the peace of knowing what happened and that her sister is now in a better place. Why exactly is it a problem if her parents should overhear and speculate about it? It's not like they can go in that world anymore. It's likely they'll just think she's making stuff up.
  • So in the movie version (still haven't read the book), Coraline seems completely unfazed when she realizes she's discovered an alternate universe where her parents have buttons where their eyes should be. Any sane person would be freaked out, at least initially. I know she "thinks she's dreaming", but you don't react to stuff like that when you really are dreaming.
    • Unfazed? Re-watch the scene where she first meets Other Mother, she gasps and takes a step back, saying "You're not my mom!" in a pretty freaked out tone. She must have thought it was a dream (the blossoming mice, button eyes, dad's musical number) and played along. It's worth noting she's pretty freaked out in that first visit because of the insta-rain and thunder Other Mother calls down. Even still, the assumption it's not a real place lasts her approximately three more visits and a lot of frustration at home before she starts seeing not just as real, but preferring the Other Mother's world to her own (and she's still suitably horrified when told she needs to get button eyes to live there full time).
    • I usually figure out that I'm dreaming when something really weird happens in a dream.
    • Some people do "react to stuff like that" when dreaming. One person might freak out over button eyes, while another might simply go, "Okay, button eyes, sure," and still someone else might not even notice at all until waking up and remembering.
    • Coraline actually has less of an instinctive reaction to the Other Mother's button eyes in the book, where she doesn't even make a comment about the button eyes. The only way to explain this is that she really thought she was dreaming and was acting much like Alice did in Wonderland. I actually prefer the movie's depiction of the other world to the book's, as it's more plausible that Coraline would want to stay there with all the wonderful things going on and only a hint here and there as to the Other Mother's true intentions until The Reveal, than in the book where the inherent creepiness and wrongness of the other world is much more apparent (the rats' song alone should be enough of a warning bell to anyone).
      • Having read the book I felt as if the whole thing was written in the style of a fairytale. fairytales, to the best of my awareness have this certain... way of being written, where strange things like little girls being eaten by wolves or old women being killed for their Tinderboxes, being described in a somewhat matter-of-fact tone. That's the way Coraline the book felt to me when I was reading it. It made the whole thing a little more creepy.

  • Why bother changing "find the ghost-children's souls" to "find their eyes" for the movie? The fact that there was still only one of each and they didn't exactly look like eyes(except for being spherical) just gets me — what was the point of changing just what they were called?
    • For Symbolism, in the Other World, you lose your real eyes when you don the buttons. It can also mean that, since "the eyes are the window of the soul", when you are wearing those buttons your soul is missing or trapped, and the ghosts needed those eyes to become free.
    • I always assumed it was because the subject of souls can be a sensitive one, and the writers might have been worried about Moral Guardians getting upset at the idea of children missing their souls. Although talking about souls doesn't really seem all that serious in light of the rest of the movie, you have to keep in mind that people will get up in arms about really abstract/minor things at times.
      • That really can't be the case. In the movie the ghosts explicitly say: "Find our eyes and then our souls will be free". Clearly they didn't fear to reference to souls directly.
      • There's a weird line for some people. Hinting that souls are "trapped" is one thing, while saying that they've been completely removed is another. The difference doesn't matter to most people (either way, the soul isn't in a position it should be), but you never know. At least looking for eyes still makes sense for the plot, but what confuses me, as the first bullet points out, is why they changed it to eyes, yet still kept the number at three. The three kids each had both eyes sewn over, so logically Coraline should look for six (I know, this would lengthen the movie, unless they kept the eyes in pairs).
      • A lot of people equate ghosts and souls together, and in their mind having the souls be trapped someplace that wasn't behind the mirror would have meant that the ghost children couldn't have appeared where they did.
    • Upon reading this comment, something occurred to me. Perhaps the eyes were sort of "stored" in twos in the objects Coraline had to collect. This could get around her finding only one eye per ghost. I don't really know, just a sort of theory I came up with.
    • I think the same thing as you. Near the end, when Coraline wakes up and is greeted by the now angel-ghost kids, doesn't she look under her pillow and see the three things cracked open? I assumed that the eyes inside the objects "broke out" and returned to the ghosts, hence why the children have eyes again in their angel forms.

  • In the book, Coraline's parents seemed more distant and uncaring. But in the movie, her parents seem almost cruel, especially the way her mom treats her. The "dingbat" comment in particular leaves one to wonder why these two wanted a daughter in the first place. Sure, Coraline's a bit annoying and bratty, but what do you expect when all you do is tell her to get lost? If your work is that arduous, why have children in the first place? I'd hate to think who took care of the girl when she was a baby.
    • Because in the movie, this is not permanent. They are in a very bad situation after the Mother's incident: they are behind schedule on their book, and have spent much money on hospital. If the books isn't ready/ well appreciated, it would be a ruin. Note that once the presentation went smoothly, the mother DID buy those mittens for Coraline, and now they were in for a party. And yes, they ARE angry at Coraline that she cannot stop complaining just this time when they are struggling to finish their book.
    • Cruel? No. Exceptionally stressed, under a lot of pressure, and dealing with a restless, sarcastic daughter who — like most kids her age — either doesn't understand the situation or just doesn't think she should have to be patient when they dragged her all the way from her real home? Yes. It isn't as if Coraline is a toddler who needs constant supervision, and her parents do make efforts to reach out to her; they just don't have a lot of time or resources at the moment, and they've got everything staked on their work (and paying the bills, and buying what necessities they can) so that they don't starve/get evicted/lose their only source of income. Hence why, after the book is safely sold and they can relax, they have time and resources to spend with/on their daughter.

  • Just a minor one, but with the attitude Coraline's parents seem to have toward her doing/wearing anything too unusual, why would they let her dye her hair blue?
    • Their attitude can also be described as one of benign parental negligence, so it's not too implausible.
    • It's possible that they didn't so much care about what she did with her hair or what she wore, but the gloves weren't necessary and they were under some financial pressure (as stated above), so they couldn't afford any indulgences at the time (note that the gloves were purchased once the pressure was off). As for what she was doing, again, they were stressed and under a lot of pressure at the time, so of course they'd want her to behave herself for a while.
      • Adding onto the glove/financial situation thing, did anyone else notice how much the gloves were? If I remember right, they were around $26.99! Even if the family weren't struggling financially, that'd be a ridiculous expense.
    • I know it sounds stupid, but I figured it was just her natural hair colour.
      • In one shot of the movie you see a family photo that shows Coraline with brown hair.
      • It might count as Fridge Brilliance as perhaps she dyed her hair blue so they would pay attention to her, the same way a teenager might start wearing a lot of makeup and revealing clothes so that others pay attention to them, which does happen in Real Life.
      • Additionally, her dad's favorite color appears to be blue, so the dyed hair might have been a tiny bonding point (she does get along a bit better with her dad.)

  • In the book, isn't the policeman Coraline calls after her parents disappear downright unrealistically dismissive? Yes, Coraline explains her predicament in child-like terms, but wouldn't the alarm bells start to ring in the man's head when she tells that her "other mother" has taken her parents? That sounds like a pretty serious custody-related crime: a kidnapping or murder.
    • Yeah, but I'm pretty sure Coraline said her parents were trapped in a mirror. It's a possibility that she might have sounded quite young so would have been dismissed. Not forgetting that emergency numbers, sad as it is, do get prank called so something as outlandish as 'my parents have been trapped in a mirror by my other mother' would be seen as someone taking the mickey.
      • I wasn't so much confused about the policeman being dismissive (hey, it would sound like a prank or a child's imagination running wild to most people), but more annoyed that they got a call from a young child and still didn't bother to at least send someone to check and make sure she wasn't alone. It's not unheard of for a kid to witness something and retell the events in a way that they can understand (thus the "trapped in a mirror" comment).

  • I know this probably sounds stupid, but is it ever explained just how the other mother managed to grab Coraline's parents? I got the impression that she had little or no power in our world and it's not like Coraline's real mom and dad are going to crawl into the little door. Not to mention the fact they don't seem to realize they were gone and the weirdness of the spoiled food. Is this explained in the book?
    • It's been a few years since I've read it, but if I recall correctly it's not explained in the book. Her parents reappear just as mysteriously (that is, with the why of it being obvious but not the how) as in the movie. I think there were a few hints that the other mother did have some power in the real world, however weak, but I'm not sure.
    • Being it is a Neil Gaiman book the Fair Folk tropes are heavy in usage here so The Other Mother is most likely a True Fae and her power does extend to the mortal realm but probably only to the house and it's surroundings, hence why she cannot just cross over and eat children everywhere..
    • Clearly she can cross over into the real world since she sent her disembodied hand through the door. The only reason she didn't come through completely is because Coraline locked the door and she isn't strong enough to break it down. So she could have just physically grabbed the parents and dragged them back into her world. But that doesn't explain why she made a doll of Coraline's parents or why they don't remember being kidnapped. I'm also not sure about the spoiled food. At first I thought that it was to show that a significant amount of time had passed in the real world while Coraline was gone in the Other World, but none of her neighbors or Wybie comment on her having been missing for a few days so who knows.
    • I also assumed it was supposed to show that time had passed, and it's possible that no-one would have noticed their absence since they're new in town and it's not uncommon for people in apartments to just not keep tabs on the others in their building, but I also thought the rotten food might indicate that the Other Mother was there. Many supernatural creatures of that stripe are said to spoil food or have similar effects on the "normal world" to show how unnatural they are in it.
    • As mentioned above, the Beldam is likely a Fair Folk, and perhaps a Walking Wasteland in real world (thus explaining the rotten food). Many Fair Folk stories say that people who visited the land of the fae don't remember their time there, which may be why the parents don't remember their time there. Perhaps this Laser-Guided Amnesia is the way for the Other Mother to protect herself from the adults?

  • In the movie—why IS the door so small?
    • So adults can't get through it. The Other Mother has no use for them.
      • It's possible the Other Mother/Beldam/Whatever has the power to put something like a post-hypnotic suggestion into someone's mind, but I would think a human acting under this influence would come up with some sort of rationale for doing it. So the question remains: what would the architect (or whoever) have consciously thought they were doing by adding that door? It's too low to the floor to be a dumbwaiter. The parlor is an odd place for a wall safe (and, again, it's awfully low to the floor for that).
      • It might've just been, like Mel said, leftover from when they turned the mansion into apartments. Or because the Other Mother has SOME control over the real world, seeing as how she was able to send out her rats and kidnap the Joneses, she might've been the one who made the doorway, in order to lure children into it.
      • Wordof God states that the reason for it came out of experience. Henry Selick had a house in New Jersey where there was a small door like the one in the movie, only it was always locked and nobody would tell him what was on the other side, which scared him. He wanted to use that exact same feeling for the movie.

  • What's with the Schizo Tech going on? They have an ancient computer and everything looks a little backwards and run-down, so you could almost figure this was meant to take place in the eighties or nineties. And then you have a flip-open cellular phone. Okay, late nineties early zeroes. Then you have... a brand new VW Beetle? The computer's the most weird thing, since even if they were financially strapped they'd almost have to do better than that, especially if they actually wanted it to interface with a printer of any quality.
    • Everything is backwards and run down because it's the middle of the countryside. Besides, it's not unreasonable that Coraline's dad just emails his files to Coraline's mother so she can print them from her laptop. As to why he needs such an ancient computer? Well, they are completely strapped for cash so they have to make do with a crappy old model. It's not Schizo Tech: it's modern day, it's just that everything is bought cheaply/not repaired, which happens pretty often in the middle of nowhere.
    • Who's to say they NEED a fancy printer? It's not like they're going to be printing the book themselves, and they'd be mailing the manuscript to the publisher, most likely.
    • Maybe her dad prefers using a crappy old computer for writing because he personally prefers using older software? George R.R. Martin himself prefers writing his books on an old MS-DOS computer while using a modern laptop for internet browsing and e-mails.

  • Why don't Coraline's parents swap household jobs with each other? Charlie is obviously a terrible cook, and I would think cooking might be less strenuous on Mel's neck than cleaning would be.
    • He seems less bad and more... esoteric.
    • Charlie's cooking isn't terrible, it's just not the kind of food that Coraline wants to eat. Besides which, he seems to enjoy it.
  • The cat's age bugs me
    How old is that cat exactly? I mean by what he told Coraline about the game between him and the Beldam it sounds as though he tried to help or at least warn the three children that died before her because of the Beldam, and the three ghost children all look as though they are from different time periods, so that cat has got to be centuries old, right? And if so what is he? Some kind of magic cat that was created to fight the Beldam or what? 'Cause normal cats don't live that long.
    • The book that the movie was based on was by Neil Gaiman. The man does write some weird things, and the cat most likely was some kind of fae folk creature disguised as a cat. At least, that's my best bet, not having read the book.
    • Neil Gaiman did also write a story about a magical black cat who fought with the devil to protect his family. It's possible that this cat was cut from the same cloth.
      • No, it's just a cat. Cats are magic.
      • This would make sense too. It's mentioned that the beldam hates cats, not just this specific cat. Possibly cats have their own particular ties to the supernatural world, and are some kind of natural enemy to creatures like the beldam.
  • I think I know what happened to the Beldam exactly: She fell down the well. It has been explained by Wybie before that if you go down the well, you can see stars during the middle of the day. So maybe Beldam's hand lured Coraline into throwing the key down it? It also explains why the doll Beldam released looked like it was floating in space.
    • Oh... Oops. However, if that was the case, why would the hand attack her? The Beldam could simply do nothing apart from observing from the shadows as Coraline provides her with means of escape.
    • It could be that when the Other Mother repaired and returned the doll, it was done during night time, when everyone is asleep and therefore less likely to notice dolls crawling around. There's no reason to assume the well is connected to the Other World; instead it could be connected to the world of the Fair Folk, which is probably where the Other Mother is from. That's assuming Wybie's story isn't just an old made-up tale he was told by his grandma. Separated from her hand (the only limb outside of the OW, where she is trapped) she will starve to death and the OW will probably wither away completely. Her hand was destroyed by the rock, so there's no way for it to repair itself, being a pile of needles, so the key is useless to it down there. And even if the OW does survive the death of the Other Mother, no one can stumble upon the key.
    • There is an old belief that looking through a deep shaft will mitigate some of the brightness of the sky, since you see less of it, thus, making it possible to see stars during the day. See: In short, Wybie was telling her that the well was really deep - with the fairy ring around it too, I think the general implication was that the well was inescapable, like a black hole, whatever goes in, isn't coming back out.
    • Also, there is no Other well, so if it's anything like the doors, there would have to be one on the other end to receive the package. And there's not. It's a place nobody can get to.

  • Since when is the Portal said to be an Eldritch Abomination beyond even the Other Mother? I've seen several entries reference it as such, but I myself have seen nothing (in the film) to suggest it is anything more than part of the Otherworld. It even decays and becomes more sinister and less alluring along with the rest of the Otherworld! And shortens in order to try to help the Other Mother catch Coraline when she tries to escape!
    • This is more explicit in the book. Every time Coraline uses the passage, she's able to sense something lurking in the dark of the tunnel—something even older than the Other Mother. During her final escape, she reaches out to touch the wall twice; on the first attempt, it feels like fur-covered flesh, and on the second, she puts her hand into what feels like a mouth.
    "Whatever that corridor was was older by far than the other mother. It was deep, and slow, and it knew that she was there. . . ."
  • What's the point of giving any of her (Other Mother's) Creations free will? Both Other Whybie and Other Father go against Other Mother's desires and help Coraline against her, which seems very counter-intuitive. It's not like Other Bobinski or, Other Ms. Spink and Forcible, seem to have free will.
    • Different purposes and Fridge Brilliance. The other Father and Whybie were apparently made to love Coraline unconditionally and be her friend, appearing as simply better versions of their real-world counterparts, while the other creations, such as the Spink, Focible and Bobinsky were created to simply entertain her. However that said, they came across to me as all having free will, the Spink and Focible quoting Hamlet, (which could be interpreted as a warning, similar to the other father's song) and the other Mr Bobinsky attempting to convince Coraline to stay. Free will goes both ways, so it could be that The other Father and Whybie defied the other mother, with the other three supporting or bending to her. It is also notable that, in the book, the other father was only able to hold off attacking Coraline for so long before being forced to obey, perhaps making the movie one subject to Adaptational Heroism.
    • The way I see it, The Other Mother needs to make her illusions as convincing as possible so she can more easily convince children of how much better things are in her world. After all, one common Truthin Television is that children are uncannily good at noticing things they shouldn't simply because they don't have the years of building up Selective Obliviousness that older people tend to develop, so she gives her creations just enough free will so that they can act in a manner that would be most enticing, without her needing to constantly puppeteer them or having to divide her attention in ways that could possible allow for a Spotthe Thread situation. Normally this would be good enough, since she's usually fed enough on her previous victims that she can maintain control even if her creations have free will. However, what she didn't count on was being near starving by the time she met Coraline, and as such her strength would likely be considerably weaker than past attempts. This on top of desperation would mean that she isn't paying as much attention as she should to her control over her constructs' free will, thus allowing them more autonomy than would normally be allowed.
    • It could also be that while the Beldam has godlike reality-warping powers, she doesn't have corresponding godlike multitasking ability. She has to engineer her world piece by piece like a magical version of a mad scientist. Consequently, she simply has to give some of her creations consciousness and consequently free will, because she doesn't have the mental capacity to puppeteer an entire miniverse. So she gives them consciousness and gives them a submissive personality, bullies them into playing their roles, and hopes for the best.

  • Why are there only three ghost children? Are they her only victims, or are there even older ones who have faded away entirely, and the ghosts are her three most recent? The ghosts don't mention being visited by the spirits or children who preceded them...
    • The origin of the Other Mother is left kinda vague in the film. While the film implies she's existed as long as the Pink Palace has, the book implies she's nigh immortal whose existed for centuries. It's Up To the Viewer. Although, the book implies that after the children say "yes" the Other Mother keeps them around until she gets bored of them, and then puts them into the room she put Coraline in and feeds off of their life energy, then feeds off of their body, which is why she can go decades without sustenance until the next child moves in. It's entirely possibly the three were her most recent.
    • In the film, the Pink Palace is 150 years old, suggesting that the Other World is, too. This means the Other Mother eats a soul once every fifty years (three victims during those 150, starting at year zero, with the most recent one being longer than fifty years ago, making the Beldam desperate). They may be her only victims after all. In the book, this isn't certain.

  • How exactly does the snow globe work in the movie? In the book, it's shown to be the hiding place for Coraline's parents because it's the only thing in the Other World that has no counterpart in the real world. But in the movie, the snow globe exists in the real world, and the Other World version has the parents in it. But when Coraline takes it away into the real world, the real snow globe is somehow broken and we never see what happened to the other one. So what's happening? Is it some sort of sympathetic link like the rest of the Other World being made of substances related to their subjects, and the real snowglobe broken because the other one couldn't exist anymore?

  • Why does Coraline get locked out of the Other House after her second visit with the Cat? Is it a test of Coraline's affection- the Other Mother wants her to prove her willingness to stay with her?
    • Never mind, she's been locked out of the living room. She tries to get back to the tunnel before leaving the house and then breaking back in to try again.

  • Why does the Other Mother allow the Other Father to say so much? Yes, she granted him free will, but surely she could have shut him up earlier all the times he gives away crucial information. Yes, it's for storytelling purposes, but in real life, it seems like she would have intervened a bit sooner. I suppose it could be argued that she was stealing the Joneses then, but what about her absence before the theater scene? Was she kidnapping one parent at a time?
    • She might not notice it. With the song, where he's basically trying to warn her, I didn't even get that until the third time I watched it, and that was because I heard about it on this website in specific.
    • And the Other Mother is virtually desperate at this point. Notice how every time Coraline comes to the world, she gets paler, thinner, and closer to her real form. She's starving and trying her damnedest not to let her go.

  • Coraline's parents let the snowglobe go, but how did they react to the broken hall mirror?

  • When describing the Other garden to her parents, Coraline mentions "garden squash like balloon animals." What? Are these supposed to be the pumpkin fountains that form the cheeks of the Coraline portrait, or did I miss something?

  • When/how did the Other Mother take the parents? The ability to pass between the two worlds seems very vague. Coraline can only go through the tunnel, and the locked door on the real side keeps the Other Mother in her world, while the door on her side locked at the end traps her further. She needs the key to access the real world, as shown by her inability to open the door and her hand's desperation to return the key to her. But the doll somehow got called to the Other World from Gramma Lovat's possession, and then somehow got sent back, and the Joneses were successfully kidnapped by the Other Mother at a point where she didn't have possession of the key. So what are the rules? It seems the most likely time for the parents to have been taken was when Coraline made her third visit, as the Other Mother is conspicuously absent when Coraline arrives, and having the real parents would be good insurance if Coraline refused the proposal and escaped. But the question of when she left the Other World comes up, especially since Mel actually returned home from grocery shopping before being taken. This is the only part of the film that I can't explain when I look deeper into it.

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