Hugo is as much about the way that cinema encodes our collective dreams and memories, as it is the tale of an imaginative and resourceful young boy desperate to fill the void left by his lost papa.
Hugo (Asa Butterfield) is an orphan who lives in lives in the rafters of an old railway station in 1930s Paris. His father (Jude Law, seen in flashback) used to look after the station’s network of clocks, and Hugo has unofficially assumed his job.
He eats stolen croissants and spends much of his time dodging the station’s bumptious inspector (Sasha B Cohen).
The boy’s attempts to repair a strange mannequin inherited from his father, lead him to the bookish teenager Isabelle (Chloë Moretz) and her godfather, the groundbreaking French filmmaker George Méliès (Ben Kingsley) now eking out a living selling toys.
Together, the children delve into the old man’s past…
“What an exceptionally un-Martin Scorsese-like film Hugo appears to be on the surface: a festive kids’ adventure with a boo-hiss baddie set on the not-so-mean streets of 1930s Paris. Yet it is possible this is one of his most personal films: a love letter to cinema, to the magical imperfection of celluloid just as its days are numbered. He directs every film with the passion of his first. And it shows.” (Time Out)