Hugo is a family film based on the graphic novel, ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret’ by Brian Selznick. Martain Scorsese, the director of the film, has created a captivating film with many hidden messages and creative ideas. Hugo is set in the Golden Age of Paris (the late 1930s), while still referencing back to the beginning of the century in more ways than one. There is a deeper meaning behind the film, and those who chose to discover it will be truly amazed.
The film is based upon a young boy, Hugo (Asa Butterfield), whose father is a watchmaker (Jude Law). From a young age Hugo learnt how to fix things. Both he and his father try to fix an automaton found in a museum his father had been working in. His father suddenly dies in a fire and Hugo is forced to live with his uncle. He soon learns how to maintain the clocks at his local train station, where his uncle works. With help from an intelligent girl (Chloe Moretz), the boy fixes the automaton stealing parts from a toy shop owner, George Melies (Ben Kingsley). He sets out on a mission to fix both toys and humans, while discovering much more about those then he expected to.
Throughout the film Scorsese is constantly referring back to the early days of filmaking. This consists of the directors, props, actors and the films themselves. He comments on them in a postive way, making the audience admire these films and crave to learn more about the earlier days of filmaking. An example of this from the film is when George, his family and Hugo travel back in time to when George was making history, creating spectacular films.This is a common motif throughout the film.
Another motif throughout the film was the concept of working. Everything in the film was working, whether it were people, trains or clocks. Working was symbolized in many ways, but was most commonly symbolized by mechanical parts. Even the opening showed Paris as a mechanical toy functionally perfectly and every part, even the smallest part had a role to play. This is a complex idea that Scorsese constantly references back to in the movie, which helps adds to the magic of the film.
When things are working and they stop working they become broken. In order to work again they need to be fixed. Throughout the film dozens of things are fixed, ranging from toy parts and clocks to humans. An example of this is when Hugo helps George realise that his filmaking skills were incredible and he should never give up on them again.The idea of fixing things helps add to the complexity of the film and adds a bit of sophistication to the film. This exists because of the complexity of the idea of fixing things, which is difficult to understand for those who don’t believe in the power of fixing things.
On a personal note, I enjoyed the film and found it hard to critise in anyway. It was both intense and breathtaking. Hugo wasn’t a typical family film, which is why I loved it so much. It had a beautiful feel about it that was rare among most family movies. I strongly recommend it to anyone who believes in the power of films.