Wow, what a great movie! “HUGO” is the best film that has come out in many months. It’s fanciful, heartbreaking, exciting, and thoroughly enjoyable. Set in the winter of 1930’s Paris, the story unfolds within a bustling train station. Hugo (Asa Butterfield), having been orphaned by the death of his wonderful father (Jude Law), who repaired clocks and worked in a museum, and the disappearance of his drunken uncle, who minded the many clocks within the huge station, is a clever 12-year-old tinkerer trying to fix an automatron that his father brought home one day. Hugo can fix just about anything mechanical, thanks to his father, and has been keeping all the station clocks oiled and cranked and in order for months since his uncle’s disappearance. No one in the station has any idea that an orphan boy is minding the clocks and living alone within the walls of the station.
Ben Kinglsey plays George Melies, the sad and grumpy owner of a small tinker toy stall in the station, from whom Hugo has been stealing small mechanical pieces in his attempt to repair the robot. Melies’ young god-daughter, Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz), reads a lot and is ready for an adventure when she befriends a wary Hugo. Together they restore the automatron and the former silent-filmmaker George Melies’ happiness.
The leg-braced Station Inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen) scours the station with his Doberman Pinscher for miscreants and orphans. Hugo stays away from him as much as possible, which is possible – most of the time – due to all the people coming and going. There are also a couple delightful subplots among a few station regulars, which I would rather not spoil for anyone yet to see the movie.
Although it is full of wonder and mystery, the intricate story of Hugo and Melies is not for pre-school children. There is a lot of silence and observation in “HUGO,” remarkably resembling silent filmmaking, which is a coup for director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter John Logan! (Thank you very much, Brian Selznick, for writing The Invention of Hugo Cabret!)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Must-be-saids: 1)It was good to see Christopher Lee (89) as Monsieur Labisse, a kind bookseller. 2)Martin Scorsese pulled a Hitchcock by playing a photographer for a few seconds. 3)Being a mother and grandmother, it bothered me that poor Hugo had no warm clothes or hot baths. 4)I also noticed that several of the characters wore the same clothes throughout the movie, which is fine, but more common in animation. On the other hand, back then most people did not have multiple changes of clothes.