Based on the picture-filled children’s novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo follows a lonely orphan on an adventure to unlock a secret message from his deceased father (Jude Law). After his father’s passing, Hugo was taken in by his absentee drunken uncle to live and work in Paris’ grand train station repairing and winding the station’s many clocks. His only posessions are a rusty broken automaton and his father’s notebook containing images and text describing the repairs needed to fix it.
Basically being all on his own, Hugo has to survive any way he can. He steals food from vendors and mechanical gears from a toy maker (Ben Kingsley) while an angry security guard (Sasha Baron Cohen) tries to catch him and throw him into an orphanage. Life isn’t easy for Hugo, but the hope that the repaired automaton might contain a message from his father keeps him going. When he’s caught by the toy maker and his notebook is taken from him, Hugo is filled with hopeless despair – but little does he know that this is the catalytic event that will send Hugo on the best and most fulfilling adventure of his life.
As he tries recovering his notebook, Hugo meets and makes friends with the toy maker’s daughter Isabelle (Chloë Moretz). Together, the two get the automaton working and uncover some interesting and odd truths, forming a friendship that will forever bind them.
Without giving too much away, Hugo’s deep love for the film that translates onto the screen mirrors that of director Martin Scorsese. It’s no wonder why Scorsese wanted to bring Hugo to life on the big screen – they share a lot in common. As Hugo dives into classical filmmaking, it also preaches Scorsese’s message about film preservation, protection and restoration.
The only problem that I can see with Hugo is that it’s being marketed as a kid’s adventure film, when in reality it’s going to leave children under 10 completely bored for almost each of its 127 minutes. It’s not silly and constantly funny, which young children need to stay attached (trust me, I see this in my four-year-old). Hugo is a magically artsy and passionate love letter to the early stlyes of filmmaking. It’s an educational ’30s film disguised as a contemporary family flick. I’m not saying that your kids will not enjoy it, but it will definitely leave the younger ones bored.
On this holiday week filled with three solid family films, if your kids are little older, then I highly recommend checking out Hugo. It’s an artistic, heartfelt and entertaining family flick that is sure to get Oscar’s attention.
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures