Reason for the Rating: Mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking.
Plot Summary: An orphan boy who lives in a train station discovers a mysterious link between an automaton and an older man who works in the station.
PopFam Recommends: Although the pace might be a little slow for younger family members, overall this is a beautiful movie the whole family will enjoy.
Hugo is a movie that will amaze your eyes as well as touch your heart. Like Titanic took you back to 1912, or Gangs of New York (also directed by Martin Scorsese) to mid-19th century New York City, Hugo will transport you to 1930's Paris and keep you there the entire length of the movie.
Hugo is the story of Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield), a boy whose father was a clockmaker. While moonlighting at a museum his father (Jude Law) discovers an old automaton (an automated man) which sits at a desk and writes. Well, they assume he writes, as he is found broken and in need of repair. This being just the project for a clockmaker and his son to take on together, Hugo and his father set about finding the cogs and wheels needed to restore the automaton. But before they can complete the work, Hugo's father dies in a fire at the museum.
Hugo's drunkard uncle, Claude (Ray Winstone), cares for the numerous clocks within a vast Paris train station and takes Hugo in to learn his trade. But when his uncle disappears, Hugo is left alone to live among the gears and catwalks within the station walls, to wind and care for the station clocks. He must also avoid detection from the Station Inspector (Sasha Baron Cohen), steal croissants for breakfast, and pilfer parts for the automaton from the local toy maker, George Melies (Ben Kingsley). Unfortunately for Hugo, he doesn't go as undetected as he hoped and is caught red-handed by the toy maker.
As a result though, Hugo makes a new friend in Isabella (Chloe Grace Moretz), the god-daughter of George, and together they have many adventures. One of which brings them to discover a secret connection between George and Hugo's automaton. But Hugo isn't just a good tale about belonging, friendship, and the value of a person. It is a beautifully crafted story. Martin Scorsese didn't simply film in a train station, he created Hugo's world. The secret hiding spots within the clocks, the colorful characters Hugo watches every day, and Paris itself. Every detail of costuming, set decoration, and sound takes the audience to the 1930's. The artistry of the film is beautiful.
So, does Hugo deserve eleven (yes, eleven) Oscar nominations? Costume Design? Yes. Cinematography? Absolutely. Music? Yup. Visual Effects? Yes! Yes! Hugo isn't just a story put on film with all the usual visual effects and a predictable plot. This is Martin Scorsese showing the world, again, what an amazing storyteller, visionary, and artist he truly is.
Let’s Talk About It
Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:
• When have you been surprised to discover something unknown about a friend?
• George thought that forgetting the past and pretending it never happened would make him happier. When have you had to face disappointment? How did you "put it behind" you?
• When George and the Station Inspector looked at Hugo, they saw an orphan. The Bible says, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart." What does God see when he looks at you? At your family members?
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