¨Maybe that's why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn't able to do what it was meant to do... Maybe it's the same with people. If you lose your purpose... it's like you're broken. ¨
Hugo is a beautiful film that works really well as a love letter from Martin Scorsese to all movie buffs, especially those who are fascinated with its history and origins. Hugo is a family film, but Martin introduces a bit of history so that everyone can become familiar with how it began. It`s like a film history lesson made in a very entertaining way. There are several funny scenes that kids will enjoy (mostly the scenes with the inspector chasing after Hugo), while there are also several serious and beautiful moments which serve as a homage to film history. Hugo works as sort of a poem and it is just marvelous to look at and listen to. I loved every second of this movie and every scene was so rich in meaning and just beautiful to look at. The use of 3D in this movie is just spectacular and I think Scorsese has used it better than any other film to date (including Avatar). This is Scorsese’s first film in 18 years that gets a PG rating, it’s his first time working with 3D, and it also is the first time in twelve years that he`s worked without Leonardo Di Caprio. That is a lot of firsts for a film that is done in such a marvelous matter. This is one of the best films of the year and it deserves every single one of its five Oscar wins. The visuals, the sound, the story, and the cast are all excellent in this wonderful movie and it`s really worth the price of admission. By all means pay the extra fee to see this film in 3D because it is well worth it. Scorsese knows his film history lesson and he really pays a beautiful homage to those early films which he has worked so hard to make sure get restored and saved.
The story takes place in a train station in Paris where twelve year old Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) lives on his own hiding and running from the Station Inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen) while making sure all the clocks in the station work. Hugo is on his own because his father (Jude Law) who was a clock maker and worked at a Museum died in a fire. All Hugo has left is a broken automaton that he was trying to fix with his father. Hugo believes that this automata holds a message from his dead father, therefore he works endlessly to try to find the right pieces to fix it. Hugo survives by stealing from the different shoppers in the station. One day he is caught stealing by a toymaker named Georges (Ben Kingsley) who orders him to give him everything he has in his pockets. Georges takes a notepad that Hugo`s father had given him, so Hugo decides to follow the grumpy old man home in order to retrieve his notepad. This is where Hugo meets Georges`s goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz), who befriends Hugo and the two begin to have adventures together. Isabelle promises to get Hugo`s notepad back and helps him finding the missing pieces needed to fix the automaton. Isabelle also introduces Hugo to the world of literature, while Hugo teaches her about cinema. Together they discover the truth about Georges and decide it is about time he stops hiding from the past.
Hugo is based on Brian Selznick`s children book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and the screenplay was beautifully adapted by John Logan (who previously worked with Scorsese in The Aviator). Besides being a love letter to the origins of film, the movie also has a very powerful message about finding purpose and meaning in life. Like machines, people can be broken if they don`t know what their true purpose in life is. Every piece in a machine has a specific function that makes everything work, and in the same way every person has a purpose that allows life to continue functioning as planned. I really loved the performance from the two kids in this movie: Butterfield and Grace Moretz. They looked lovely together. Grace Moretz is my favorite young actress and she just has the screen presence and charisma that other actresses don’t have. Ben Kingsley was magnificent in his key role, and so was Christopher Lee. Sacha Baron Cohen was funny as always, and his character served as the comic relief because I imagine many kids getting bored if the film only focused on the Georges character. This is really a great family film and one you should see, especially if you are interesting in the history of films and how it all began. There are several scenes from early films, and I can`t imagine how any true film lover wouldn’t like this wonderful movie. It`s a masterpiece.