At the surface Martin Scorsese’s Hugo is a story which follows a young boy’s struggle living as an orphan in a train station. Delve a little deeper, and Hugo is a masterful piece of art that explores the magic of the medium that is cinema.
Act 1 of the film proves to be very character driven which follows Hugo (Asa Butterfield) and his daily routine in Paris’s Gare Montparnasse train-station. The first 30 or so minutes prove to be far from boring due to the strong character development of the protagonist and beautiful directing and cinematography from Scorsese and Robert Richardson respectively. However, at the core of the story, Hugo is essentially a movie of film appreciation.
Very early on we are introduced to Hugo’s struggle and his relationship with his late father. Hugo’s fondest memory is the story of the first film his father watched which happened to be La Voyage du Lune directed by George Méliès, a pioneer of cinema. Homage is continuously played to Méliès and his films as well as films of pioneer cinema.
The cinema, and film for that matter, is a place where we can laugh, feel, sometimes cry and for some feel at home. The journey that is the cinematic experience is inexplicable yet so beautifully captured by the directing of Scorsese and his actors.
What does one’s first time at a cinema feel like? Look like?
What does it feel like to be enchanted?
What does it look like to love something?
Hugo proves to be a masterful piece of art touching on themes such as love and friendship, trust and unity and even pain and loneliness. The film, in such a fluid manor, explores what it feels like to be truly infatuated with not only cinema, but with life itself. As our young characters of Hugo and Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz) get lost at the cinema, you may lose yourself along the way and question “do you ever wonder where your dreams come from?” and hope for the answer that they a couple of pictures away.