Movie Review: Hugo
It’s not often that I’ll make this kind of post, but after seeing Martin Scorsese’s Hugo this week, I couldn’t not share with you! I’ll admit that I came into this experience with no information about the movie, and more than a little skepticism: 3-D? Was this a kid’s movie? Was I going to cry? I left the theater blown away by Hugo‘s ability to transcend genre. It’s odd, because I can barely label this movie even now. It is completely kid-safe and lives up to it’s PG rating, and yet, to label it a “kid’s movie,” would do it a great disservice.
Based on Brian Selznick’s 2007 Caldecott Award-winning novel, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” the film did, in fact, wind up making me get teary, but not without merit or vast reward for my emotional journey, either. Set in 1930s Paris, Hugo immediately captures you with gorgeous visual imagery, the 3-D component serving almost as an added storytellers voice. There were moments I found myself truly feeling as if I were a part of the landscape of the freezing Paris streets, or the grimy train station inner-walls.
Our young hero Hugo is an orphan who finds himself constantly fearing for his own safety, as his very identity threatens to send him off into a cruel bondage. Working within the walls of a train station, Hugo’s daily job is to keep the clocks of the station running, and to do so while maintaining his anonymity. Somewhere along the way, however, he finds himself caught up in a great mystery of invention, bygone dreams, and family. The twists and turns will thrill you, and if you don’t find yourself totally melted looking into little Asa Butterfield’s blue eyes, well, you may just want to check yourself for a pulse.
Something I found really clever about the film was that the characters were all layered. No one was a flat out villain. Even those you found yourself momentarily rooting against were later redeemed, but in a subtle, root-worthy way. The plot moved forward at a nice, though lengthy pace (the movie runs for just over two hours), and leaves you feeling lifted and challenged.
That challenge comes in the form of an incredibly strong message of finding your purpose. Likening us to machines with many parts, the movie shows that we all must come together to play our part so that we can work to our greatest capacity. Hugo himself sums it up quite nicely when he wisely states that “If you lose your purpose, it’s like you’re broken.”
I am inspired. I want this movie to be an underlying theme for my life as I look forward to 2012. I want to live in my purpose and fulfill my part of what I believe God has called my relationship groups (my family, my church, my community) to accomplish. I can’t recommend this film to you enough. Go see it today! I think, like me, you’ll be inspired.