FI,  Films,  Review,  Three Stars

Hugo (2011)

Directed By: Martin Scorsese

Written By: John Logan (Screenplay) Brian Selznick (novel)

Main Cast: Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz, Ben Kingsley and Helen McCroy

Storyline: Set in 1930’s Paris, ‘Hugo’ tells the magical tale of an orphan who has secretly made his home in a train station and spends his time tending to the railway’s clocks. When he tries to fix a mechanical man, he sets in motion a series of events that threaten to unlock all his secrets.

Based on Brian Selznick’s best-selling children’s novel ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret’, ‘Hugo’ is brought to the screen in 3D by Martin Scorsese, and features an all-star cast including Ben Kingsley and Jude Law.


This film is an enjoyable movie that many would definitely happily go and see again. The 3D aspect of this film really brought this magical fairytale-esque film to life. While there is still a debate going on about how well 3D is faring, this is a film that is certainly a pro for the debate. It was somehow made to work alongside the story, adding to it in ways impossible of 2D. But this, perhaps, had something to do with the fact that at the films narrative was the story of how film began.

Or rather, how these filmmakers have captured the essence of how film began. While this film was magical, the one major flaw was its inaccuracies. It told many a tale about the first films ever made, including those by George Melies and yet there were quite a few bits of information covered that were wrong. Of course, being a fiction film, it doesn’t need to be correct but as a film student, it was incredibly difficult to watch with an open mind. But of course, that shouldn’t detract other viewers away from the film but for me it was the kicker that brought this film down from a four to a three-star rating.

Martin Scorsese has, and probably always will be, one of those great directors and when you hear that he has a new film on the horizon, it also spurs my interest. This was no different for Hugo. Right from the start with a serial view of Paris it is straightaway noticeable how rich and perfect the cinematography wasn’t going to be throughout. The actors and actresses worked well with each other and everything just felt amazingly well put together. A unique and inspiring story full of warmth and happiness.

Asa Butterfield acted brilliantly as Hugo and really managed to carry across the emotions that he felt. It was possible to see him trying to deal with his fathers death and his uncles abandonment without letting anyone see his true emotions. His performance was heart-warming and real. Unfortunately, Chloe Moretz did not come across in quite the same light. Normally she is able to carry a character and truly perform outstandingly but something just went wrong in this film. It may have just been her character but her upbeat squealing and rushed talk just seemed to forced and unnatural. Not to mention, her accent made her appear as though she was trying too hard in her role and often reminded me of a young (and annoying) Emma Watson.

Ben Kinglsey performed well as Papa George as did Helen McCroy as Mama Jeanne. In fact, the entire cast really performed well in all of their parts and were used to provide Hugo with an extended family. While he never truly talks to them or gets to know them, he watches them interact day in, day out, and it is possible to understand that to him, they are the only family he has. It can therefore be made to be known why they got so much screen time and this simply helped to make the film more magical and inspirational over all.

Unfortunately the novel has never been read by this reviewer and therefore the adaptation itself can not be looked upon but it may be read, at which point the film will probably be revisited and thought about again but until that time, it stands as so.

This is a film for all the ages as it simply has something for everyone! It is one that can be enjoyed again and again and if you’re not a film buff would probably receive a higher rating. Or, even if you are a film buff, maybe you’ll be able to look past the inaccuracies to find a pleasant and charming fictional film underneath. But you know, that’s up to you!


One Comment

  • Laura Hartley

    I had to do an impromptu talk about something related to film so I decided to do a showing of this – everybody loved it! I’ve only watched an hour of it but it’s been splendid so far :) I thought Chloe Moretz was like a little Hermione Granger too!!


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