Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: John Logan (screenplay), Brian Selznick (book)
Stars: Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz and Christopher Lee
I had heard very mixed reports of Hugo before I went to see it. It was a Martin Scorsese film, which meant it was going to look stunning, and it didn’t fail to do that. But the way it was advertised was as an adventure film. Now in our modern era, when we think adventure we think action-film-adventure, not little-children’s-imagination-adventure, and that is where I think they went wrong with their advertising. Hugo is so much more than an action film, in fact it’s not that at all. It’s a story of discovery, of family, and of childhood. Brian Selznick’s storybook is a beautifully crafted story and it is about a boy who lives without a family, discovers a new kind of family, and helps an old man to realise his importance in the world. Selznick’s gorgeous story and Scorsese’s cinematic brilliance really give this film a delightful childish wonder. I really wish that more people had seen this film because there is something truly wonderful about escaping into France with this little boy and seeing the world through his eyes.
There is a simple truth to the idea that children nowadays have lost their imagination and that it has been replaced by technologies, video games, and television. Imaginary worlds have been created for them and they no longer know how to play and imagine for themselves. But I know that this isn’t all true in that children still know how to create, play, and explore, maybe they just need more encouragement to do so and more time given in the day to do so. Hugo Cabret is a boy who inspires me to play more, to explore the world and all it’s twists and turns, and to meet old men and women who have a billion stories to tell and who can inspire a new way of seeing the world.