Scorsese Made a Movie His Kid Can See!

Hugo (2011)
A Review by Ben Hunter
3 Out of 5 Stars
November 23, 2011

“Once upon a time, I met a boy named Hugo Cabret.  He lived in a train station.  Why did he live in a train station, you may well ask?  That’s really what this book is going to be about.  It’s about how this singular, young, man searched so hard to find a secret message from his father; and how that messaged led his way …all the way home!”

Hugo is the story in 1930’s Paris, of an orphaned boy, Hugo (Asa Butterfield), who lost his parents in a tragedy and lives in a train station hiding out and keeps the presumption that the clocks are run properly by their operator, Hugo’s Uncle Claude (Ray Winstone).  So Hugo’s all alone, running the clocks behind the walls of the train station, seeing other families live life and misses his own. 

Hugo’s Father (Jude Law) instilled his technical, mechanic, imagination within his son before he passed.  So just as his father, Hugo loves to fix things and see how they work.  Probably why running the clocks is so easy to Hugo.  In that spirit of fixing things, the duo was working on an automaton they found in a little museum that agreed to sell it to the two.  This was kind of like a going away present from Hugo’s father as this was what they were working on together right before he passed.  So Hugo is desperately trying to get the automaton to work again, stealing parts from the train station toy store, as it writes for its main function, and takes its message as a secret message from his father; his last chance to remember him. 

So one day, on another regular day stealing parts and running the clocks, Hugo is caught stealing from the toy store manager Georges Melies (Ben Kingsley), who ends up getting Hugo to work off all that he’s stolen from him or he’ll turn him into the station inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen), who’ll turn him into the local orphanage.  Hugo meets Melies’ God daughter, Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz), and the two, very similar in nature who become friends, uncover the magical past of Chloe’s Godfather, the secrets he’s hiding and why he so bitter and lifeless. 

It takes a young boy with lots of courage to hold onto his family and end up saving another.  Hugo is a heartwarming story of the power of family and the beauty of the imagination. 

The journey that Isabelle and Hugo embark on to piece the story that connects the two of their families together is a very colorful and magical tale.  I was expecting a lot of glitz and glamour or more special effects.  But it was very colorful in just the scenery and costume designs, which is what I feel it deserves the highest recognition for, nothing more.  It’s a fairy tale, with a happy ending, and rightfully so.  But adults may deem it a children’s story and not so much a family one with the way the story leaves you. 

Nonetheless, I’m very happy for Martin Scorsese, the film’s director, on taking a much different route with a family film, rather than his usual line of work. 

It’s definitely a feel good holiday film to spark that Christmas cheer that brings families together, as this time of year always seems to do.  Hugo only aids all the more to do so!

Directed By: Martin Scorsese
Screenplay By: John Logan
Cast: Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chole Grace Moretz, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Jude Law

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