Monday, 8 July 2013

Movie – Hugo

There are movies you watch and forget. There are movies you begin on an excited note and then lose the tempo. There are movies which begin on a slow note and the crescendo builds up.

And then, there are movies you begin with and wish they would never end. Coz there’s something in them that strikes a chord. Hugo is one of those movies I began on a somewhat reluctant note and as the movie progressed, I relished each and every frame. Just wished the movie wouldn’t end!

Me not being very enthusiastic a person about the adventure drama genre, it’s my nephew who almost forced me to watch it. Good he did. For, the movie, based on the novel “The invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick is one of the finest 3D movies I have ever seen. Even before the starring began, the cinematography had already played its charm.
The movie, set in Paris revolves around the life of Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield), a bright boy living a simple but happy life with his father (Jude Law), who works at a museum. The father son duo have a thing for fixing machines & the father often explains the beauty of clock work to Hugo in different devices. One day he finds an old, abandoned machine called automaton & along with Hugo, takes up the challenge of fixing the automaton. 

But even before the automaton comes back to life, tragedy strikes them. Hugo’s father dies in a museum fire and overnight, the pampering and love gets transformed into a lonely, orphaned life with a lot of unanswered questions. The automaton is Hugo’s only companion, a mystery he is determined to solve as his belief is tied with it. Hugo is taken by his alcoholic uncle Claude and taught to maintain clocks at railway station.

The uncle soon disappears and Hugo lives a lonely life in the clock room, escaping the station master who is always on the lookout to send orphans to where they belong-orphananage. Hugo’s sole mission is to decode the unsolved mystery the automaton beholds & he often steals part from a toy store for his repair work. But life has other plans for Hugo Cabret. The toy shop owner, Papa Georges (Ben Kingsley) catches him red handed stealing parts and takes away his notebook where his father had made notes about fixing the device. Hugo is determined to get the automaton fixed, and his determination takes him close to Papa Georges, who gives him work at his shop.

 In his lonely world, Hugo finds a friend in Isabelle, Papa Georges’ god daughter, who has been kept away from the glitz and glamour lives in the world of English literature. It’s a treat to watch the way she uses unusual words on the usual occasions. Their friendship soon spreads its wings with Hugo introducing Isabelle to the world of cinema and Isabelle introducing Hugo to her literary interests.

Hugo is surprised to find that Isabelle wears a heart shaped key as a pendant, a perfect match for the heart shaped lock in the automaton. He convinces the adventure hungry Isabelle & using her key, is able to run the automaton. But seems the questions only get bigger, coz upon being started, the automaton scribbles an image & even signs in the name of “George Melies” that Isabelle immediately recognizes as that of Papa Georges’. Unable to come to any conclusion, Hugo & Isabelle decide to probe further as the involvement of Papa Georges makes them even more inquisitive.  Papa George and Mama Jeanne meanwhile are in a complete denial mode and Papa George even fires Hugo from his shop for having broken his trust.

But Hugo & Isabelle are far from discouraged. Their curiosity takes them to the library where they discover the image drawn by the automaton was in fact an image from a famous George Melies movie, Voyage to moon. They are surprised to find out that Papa George, alias George Melies had been a famous filmmaker of his times, known for his movies full of fantasy & imagination. The author of the book is a big Melies fan himself. And so when the kids tell him Melies is alive, he is more than happy to help them connect the dots.

As the author comes face to face Mama Jeanne at her house, the story takes a new turn. Mama Jeanne had in fact been a famous actress of her times. As Melies walks unannounced into the secret filming of his movie in the living room, he breaks down & remembers the ups and downs in his life. How a successful director, known for transforming imagination into movies, falls prey to the change of times when after World War I, there are no takers for fantasy.  Ben Kingsley once again proves his mantle as he plays the perfect part of a loser who had sold everything to survive in the big, bad world, selling his movie films to a company that melted them to make shoe heels.

The story begun by the scribbling of the automaton, ends on a happy note, with Papa Georges getting his lost glory back & Hugo no longer being an orphan. As he is finally caught by the station master, Papa Georges comes just in time & says “the child belongs to me”, freeing Hugo from the label of “orphan” & giving him a new life. Hugo has finally found a message he had been searching for in the mystery of the automaton, the message of a new life and rising up from the ashes to a life of happiness and fulfillment.

You will love the movie for its immaculate cinematography, intensity of the acts and the flow that the director has managed to keep going throughout the show!

No wonder, the movie won 5 oscars at the 84th Academy Awards in 2011.

And now for my favorite moment from the movie…
A very optimist Hugo tells a disappointed Isabelle, “Every machine comes with just the right number of parts, no part extra. This world too is a machine & if I am here, I ain’t an extra part. SO, there’s a purpose why I am here, and I gotta find it!”


  1. This compels me to watch the movie.Job well done then ! :)

  2. nice review with minimum spoilers !!

  3. Hugo is one my fav films.. nice review. well done

  4. Wonderful review of the movie.

  5. Very well written and I too loved the movie :)


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