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Dakota Fanning voices the young title character, who finds a secret door in her new house that leads to an ideal parallel world – or is it..?

Director Henry (The Nightmare Before Christmas) Selick’s delightful stop-motion animation is breathtaking and the film, based on the Neil Gaiman novel, treads a fine line between goofy and ghoulish.

Stroppy 11-year-old Coraline is bored and feeling neglected by her workaholic parents, but thinks things are looking up when she finds the bizarre mirror world populated by her Other Mother and Other Father, who give her everything she wants but creepily have weird black buttons instead of eyes.

But soon Coraline discovers that things are not what they seem and this apparently perfect world has some ghastly secrets locked away in forgotten rooms…

Fanning is ideal as the feisty little girl, Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman are both the real and alternative parents and Ian McShane has a funny cameo as their cheese-loving Russian neighbour.

But it’s the hilarious vocals of Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, as a pair of faded theatrical divas, that are the making of the movie and the scene where the eccentric pair resurrect their loopy music hall turn for an audience of Scottie dogs is the highlight of the movie.

Packed with surreal wonders and eccentric characters, this film is a joy.