Graphic Language: None
Strong Sexual Content: None
When you think of director Martin Scorsese, a PG children’s movie wouldn’t be the first that comes to mind. Scorsese is best known for his tough guy, bloody, R-rated movies such as Gangs of New York, Goodfellas, and Raging Bull. I have to say that Hugo was quite the wonderful surprise for me.
Hugo is a beautiful adaptation of the children’s book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Seiznick, with an opening scene set in 1931. If you are watching in 3-D, there’s a light snow falling in your face . . . brilliantly done. The camera soars over Paris and into the bustling Paris Montparnasse train station. After flying through crowds of people, hallways, stairwells, and up a ladder, we meet our main character— Hugo Cabret.
From the opening minutes of the movie, we learn that Hugo (Asa Butterfield) is an orphan. He’s living on his own after his father (Jude Law) had died suddenly in a fire. Instead of begging on the street, Hugo lives behind the walls and maintains the clocks in the train station. Every chance he gets, Hugo looks for spare parts to work on a machine called an automaton that his father had found. Hugo, thankfully, is an expert at two things: stealing food and staying clear from the movie’s comic relief and antagonist, Station Inspector Gusto (Sacha Baron Cohen).
After being caught stealing from a small toyshop, Hugo starts working for its depressed owner Georges (Ben Kingsley) to pay back his debt. Hugo finds a friend in George’s goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz). Isabelle is fun-loving and delightful, and wants nothing more than to go on an adventure—which she’s only read about in library books. Hugo and Isabelle end up going on several adventures together, and discover that Isabelle’s godfather is a great filmmaker—none other than the great Georges Méliès from the early 1900s. And, in a twist, turns out to be the man Hugo has been working for all along.
Hugo is part story and part film history lesson. The audience gets a chance to watch many old films, including Le voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon, 1902) and L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat (The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station, 1895).
The acting in Hugo is top notch. Butterfield and Moretz have an innocent chemistry together, while Sacha Baron Cohen does an impressive job of pulling off his role of the somewhat responsible yet antagonistic Station Inspector. Ben Kingsley is brilliant as the bitter and dejected (turned high–spirited) Georges Méliès. The rest of the supporting roles are perfectly cast— Christopher Lee, Emily Mortimer, and a brief appearance from Jude Law as Hugo’s father.
There were several conversations between Station Inspector Gusto and a policeman that I felt were unnecessary and really did not belong in a children’s movie. Other than that, Hugo is very family friendly.
Overall, Hugo is a treat for the whole family. In addition, the 3-D doesn’t distract or hinder the experience—but makes this one well worth the higher ticket price!
To learn more about author April Kruger, visit Cross Shadow Productions
For months, Hugo looked for for the right parts to fix the automaton, sometimes to the point of complete frustration. No matter how hard he worked, something was always missing.. The final piece to getting the automaton to work was a key—a specific key to fit a heart-shaped keyhole. It’s a perfect metaphor—a hole, something missing, an inward need. Often, people try to fill that need with temporary things: money, drugs or alcohol, relationships. What people don’t realize is that we were created with an innate need for a connection with our creator—the one who holds the key that fits the heart-shaped hole in or lives. Do you feel like you have a hole in your heart? That you keep searching for something but nothing is filling it? In John 14: 6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the father except through me.” Bold words, but true for Christians. There isn’t a way to eternal life other than belief in Jesus. Take a look at Romans 3, 6, and 10 as you ponder some questions: • What do you believe about Jesus, and what kind of influence does he have on your everyday life? • What “heart-shaped holes” are you trying to fill—and what are you trying to fill it with? • How can Jesus fulfill your life?