An orphan living in a Paris train station searches for a way to complete his father's project and ends up rejuvenating a former director's love of film.
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Written by John Logan
Starring Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helen McCrory, Emily Watson, Christopher Lee,
Ray Winstone, Richard Griffiths, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jude Law
Based on the novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Oscar Wins - Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing,
Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Director,
Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing,
Best Costume Design, Best Original Score (Howard Shore)
Hugo is unlike anything Scorsese has ever done, prior to or since. It's an endearing, whimsical, and honest kids' movie that celebrates the beginnings of cinema. The themes of this movie reinforce what I've been saying about movies my entire life. They're gateways to millions of different stories that we get the privilege to enjoy in the short time we live on this earth. Hugo goes the extra mile towards embracing this ideal, transforming what is essentially a treasure hunt movie into a love letter to the origins of movies at the turn of the century.
Asa Butterfield plays Hugo Cabret, an orphan secretly living in the clock tower of a Paris train station. He ends up on the bad side of the cantankerous Georges (Kingsley), who starts out as an overtly cruel thorn in the boy's side, but turns out to be the iconic director of A Trip to the Moon, Georges Méliès. Hoping to unlock his late father's automaton project, Hugo befriends Georges' goddaughter Isabelle (Moretz) and together, they try to rejuvenate Georges' happiness using his films. The performances are all fantastic, particularly young Butterfield. The film doesn't feel like a Scorsese picture. The tone is more akin to Wes Anderson or Woody Allen. If anything, this just shows how versatile Scorsese still is, and how you never know what to expect from the guy.
I really enjoyed Hugo because I love every aspect of cinema. The sights, the sounds, the endless possibilities. Watching a film that matched my adoration was a joy, and it inspired me to seek out more films from the beginning. Hugo is very much two different movies sewn together, but this is the rare instance where it works. The story of Hugo and his father's machine bleeds seamlessly into the redemption of Georges Méliès. While I doubt many children will be entertained by the film, it is certainly a triumph of Scorsese's later work and a must-see for film buffs.