I know I raved about Martin Scorsese’s passion project Silence when I watched it a few weeks ago, but every time I watch this magnificent adaptation of Brian Selznick’s novel; a tale of youth, discovery and the love of cinema, I end up citing it as my favourite of his films.
Set in Paris, this family-friendly film features a strong cast including Ben Kingsley, Jude Law, Asa Butterfield, Christopher Lee, Chloe Grace Moretz, Emily Mortimer and Sacha Baron Cohen.
Set in a train station, orphaned Hugo (Butterfield) is drawn into a mystery involving his late father (Law) an automaton he found, and cinemagician Georges Melies.
Hugo was my next stop on the What Else to Watch list in DK Book’s The Movie Book, following my exploration of some of his other films.
When I first saw this film in theatres, I knew next to nothing about it, and when the connection to one of the founding fathers of cinema was revealed, a delighted smile spread across my face, and a tear sprang to my eye. It was a revelation of the most magical kind.
As Hugo makes his home in the station, we are treated to vignettes of the lives that take place there, a world he shows to Isabelle (Moretz) who is intrigued by the mystery, has a connection to it, and wants to learn more.
Of course the novel is streamlined a bit, but a strong script and Scorsese’s deft hand create a beautiful, engaging tale that will wrap you up in its storytelling.
This film is eminently enjoyable, the story threads laid out perfectly, weaving a moving tapestry that delights in the magic of movie making and how things, people and events fit together.
Watching Kingsley bring Melies to life is amazing to behold. While the story of Hugo is fiction, it ties in with events that occurred in Melies’ life; the collapse of his studio, the loss of his dreams and the discovery of him working a toy shop in a train station, before finally being recognised.
This is a film to delight the family, wax nostalgic for cinema fans, and entertain the generations. Watch it again for the first time, and check out the other titles in DK Books’ The Movie Book.