Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hugo is magical!

Hugo in 3D
Apparently there are two types of people in this world. Ones who love this film and ones who hate it. I adored this film. Magical is a good word to describe the story and the gorgeous journey it takes you on. My dear readers will likely love this film. If you need lots of action, things flying at screen and constant plot twists, you should skip it. The fact that it was directed by Martin Scorsese and produced by Johnny Depp says a lot about it.

Hugo Isabelle and the automaton
I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but Hugo lives in a Paris train station in the 1930s. His watchmaker father has passed away (poor Jude Law) and the orphan is now living in the walls of the Gare Montparnasse train station and winding all the clocks there. His quest to repair the automaton his father was restoring takes him on a very different journey where he meets Isabelle and her unusual godfather Georges Méliès.

Hugo hanging from clock face a la Harold Lloyd
This film is a love letter to the movies and a love letter to Paris all wrapped up in a "family film". It is really a film for thoughtful bookish adults and older children. Don't take young kids to this one, or any older children who didn't truly enjoy the Harry Potter films. Do take anyone who enjoys a deeper more thoughtful film than Hollywood usually produces these days.

Hugo learning magic tricks from Méliès
The film is full of brilliant English actors (yes all of the French people in this have English accents) such as Ben Kingsley as Méliès, Asa Butterfield as the luminous Hugo, Sacha Baron Cohen as the hilarious Station Inspector and a plethora of Potterites such as Frances de la Tour (Mme Maxime), Richard Griffiths (Mr. Dursley), Helen McCrory (Narcissa Malfoy) and so on. Emily Mortimer is adorable as the flower seller and Jude Law does a lovely job of Hugo's father. American actress Chloe Grace Moretz is quite enchanting as Hugo's new friend and assistant in mischief. 

Gare Montparnasse Train Accident of 1895

Harold Lloyd "Safety Last!" 1923

"A Trip to the Moon"  1902
So I hope all my dear readers get a chance to see this over the holidays, and if you love it as I did, try to spread the word to others who you think would enjoy it. Keep the wrong folks away from this one however, as it needs the right audience. We will keep it as our little secret!

P.S. It is adapted from the beautifully illustrated book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by American writer Brian Selznick  who, incidentally, is distantly related to the legendary film producer David O. Selznick.

P.P.S. The automaton in this film (self-operating machine) is a realistic depiction of what these machine/toys were like in the late Victorian period. "The period 1860 to 1910 is known as "The Golden Age of Automata". During this period many small family based companies of Automata makers thrived in Paris. From their workshops they exported thousands of clockwork automata and mechanical singing birds around the world." -from Wikipedia
The Franklin Institute's Henri Maillardet Automaton was a principal inspiration for Selznick's book


  1. Yes! How could anyone dislike it? Here's my posted opinion:

  2. @ A Scattering- So glad you are trying to get the word out too. Hard to believe that anyone could not like it. I'd love to see it again!

  3. Beautiful film! I loved it as much as the book.




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