Review – Hugo

Scorsese’s 2011 Hugo is a near masterpiece of a family adventure story, a moving homage to the early age of cinema and highly recommended


2011 saw Martin Scorsese release Hugo – a film which was his first ever shot in 3D but also one that went on to be nominated for a number of awards, including 11 academy awards. I’m not really sure why then, I only saw it for the first time this week.

The story follows Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield – Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, X+Y) – a young orphaned boy who after his clockmaking father died, was taken to live in a Parisian train station to maintain the station clocks with his uncle.

His Uncle now having left months ago, we find Hugo still working hard to keep the clocks working, but now living alone and stealing food, trying to avoid capture by the local policeman (Sacha Baron Cohen).


When not busy with all of this, he spends his time trying to repair an automaton – a small mechanical man, which he and his father had begun to work on before his death.

As the film progresses, we find Hugo and his new friend Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz – Kick Ass, The Equaliser) setting off on adventure into the secrets that the automaton holds. Supporting cast includes Sir Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer, Ray Winstone, and Jude Law.

The film itself is based on a book – The Invention of Hugo Cabret – by Brian Selznick.

This is a beautiful film. It is a homage to the history of cinema, and a charming adventure story about family and discovery.  It is funny, charming and moving and deserves all of the plaudits and nominations that it received.


In terms of directors that are most likely to produce a near masterpiece of family cinema, Martin Scorsese may not be the first director you’d select but this is exactly what Hugo is.

I wholly recommend it – it is one of the best films that I’ve seen all year and a thing of real beauty.


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