2011 Crystal Dove Seal Award Winner for Best Adventure – Families will enjoy loving this movie together! Martin Scorsese’s love for George Melies and the silent picture age is clearly and lovingly demonstrated in this film. This is a quality production in every sense of the word. First rate acting is combined with Howard Shore’s lustrous score and the film’s main set, the Paris Montparnasse train station during 1931. Ben Kingsley finds many facets of Melies including a temper, a creative side, a discipline in his work, and finally an imagination and compassion. In the film’s plot he runs a shop in the train station and performs magic tricks. He encounters young Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) who frequently looks at his notebook and works with his father on fixing an automaton. His father (Jude Law) meets a cruel fate and Hugo finds solace in his relationship with Isabel (Chloe Grace Moretz), the shopkeeper’s goddaughter who loves to read and shares a love for movies with Hugo. In fact they are having the time of their lives after sneaking into one when they are discovered.
The characters are delightful such as Sacha Baron Cohen’s Station Inspector, who in a nuanced performance plays a range of traits from that of a dutiful and mean officer to an understanding and compassionate romantic. He injured his leg in the war and wears a creaky brace until Hugo fixes it for him, making it quieter as he bends and walks. The inspector finds a soul mate in the film and the movie features more of these magical moments which make watching the film such a joy. We learn a few things about Melies in this picture, including the fact that some eighty of his lost films were eventually discovered. In one delightful scene several snippets of old silent films are screened and the imagination of George Melies is clearly seen. It should be noted that the 3D version is spectacular with falling snow brushing up against the viewer’s face and a dog eyeing viewers face to face. These are just a few of the “wow” moments.
We are more than pleased to award our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to this film. See “Hugo” with your family this holiday season and you will find magic in the movies once more!