Reviewed by: Patty Moliterno
Ben Kingsley … Georges Méliès
Sacha Baron Cohen … Station inspector
Asa Butterfield … Hugo Cabret
Chloë Grace Moretz … Isabelle
Ray Winstone … Uncle Claude
Emily Mortimer … Lisette
Christopher Lee … Monsieur Labisseqq
Jude Law … Hugo’s Father
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|Distributor||Paramount Pictures Corporation|
“Unlock the secret”
“Hugo” is based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. I read the book with my 8 year old son last year, and we both loved, loved, loved it. We couldn’t wait until the movie came out! We went to the midnight showing on opening day, and what we found far surpassed our expectations. The movie was directed by Martin Scorcese. It is his first PG movie in 18 years, but it is as if has been saving up for this ultimate moment. The film also features a cast of characters not usually seen in family movies.
Hugo, played by Asa Butterfield (“The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”), is a young boy whose mother is dead. He is being raised by his father who is a clockmaker. His father works at a museum in Paris and finds a wonderful old mechanical piece. It is an automaton (self-operating machine) man. It is broken, but the boy and his father begin to fix it.
One day, Hugo receives a surprise visit from his drunk Uncle Claude who tells him there was a fire at the museum. His father is dead, and he is to come live at the train station and work with his uncle as a clock apprentice. The only item Hugo takes is the automaton.
After a while, his uncle does not come home, and Hugo secretly continues to care for the clocks in the train station. He is constantly stealing food to feed himself, while keeping out of the way of the Station Inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen). He also steals parts from the toy shop run by Georges Méliès (Ben Kingsley) and befriends his goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz). Eventually, Georges catches Hugo stealing parts and makes him work at the toy store as repayment. Hugo never gives up his quest to repair the broken automaton, in the hopes that it will reveal a message from his father. When he finally repairs it, it leads him back to the unlikeliest source.
NEGATIVE CONTENT: This was one of the cleanest movies I have ever seen. There is absolutely no foul language. There is very little to be concerned about, as far as content. The Station Inspector does make a few suggestive comments. This is a man who is angry, bitter, lonely and dealing with a war injury. His comments include “when was the last time you had relations with her?,” “perfectly formed udders,” and “I’m a fully functioning man now” (when his leg is fixed). There is also a brief discussion of whether a man’s pregnant wife is carrying his child.
Hugo does steal to eat and fix the automaton. He also lies to protect himself. Hugo’s father dies in a fire, however, all that is shown on screen is his father opening a door and flames rushing down a hallway. His uncle is found dead in the river; very little is shown on screen. There are several chase scenes between Hugo, the Station Inspector and his Doberman. Hugo does have a scary dream that looks very real.
In clips shown of old films, there are dragons, mythical beasts, mermaids, etc. I did not find these to be scary at all. There are also scenes involving trains crashing through the train station.
POSITIVE CONTENT: This is the first 3D movie I have seen in over a year. I cannot stand to pay the additional money for a film when it is not necessary. I really enjoyed this film in 3D. This film was beautifully done. The quality of the filming is superb. The acting is great, and the visual effects are wonderful. I cannot say enough good things about this movie.
Hugo states “I had to be here for some reason, and that means you have to be here for some reason, too.” He holds onto that belief. However, be advised there is no indication that his belief is based on God’s teachings. As a Christian, I also believe I am created for a reason. The Bible says “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” —Ephesians 2:10.
The other thing that I find significant in this film is the machine itself. We believe that we are so advanced and so smart, however, the Bible does say “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” —Ecclesiastes 1:9. Early mechanical machines were made in Ancient Greece. There is a machine like the one in this movie at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia believed to date to 1800. I love watching films like this and then researching more. See the Franklin Institute for information about the automaton.
I recommend this film for the whole family. Be advised that some children may find some scenes frightening, and there are periods of the movie that move slower than a traditional childrens film. I did not take my 7 year old for this reason. This is one of the nicest movies we have seen in a long time. A film that gets the family talking about history, inventions and God is a great one in my book!
Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.