Film Review: Hugo [dir. Martin Scorsese; 2011]

It’s helpful to assess Hugo in terms of what it isn’t rather than what it is: it isn’t manic or frenetic; it isn’t desperate to impress with ironic humour; it isn’t patronising to children; it isn’t afraid to keep its plot simple and linear; it isn’t full of 3D clichés. A charming tale of an orphaned boy who tries to understand the world around him whilst keeping the clocks ticking at a Parisian train station, it features excellent performances, sumptuously realised visuals and – with the inclusion of Georges Melies as a key character – a heart-warming respect for the art of cinema. I found some of its comedic moments less than convincing and I confess I’d hoped for a more complicated story, but these are minor criticisms in the face of the movie’s main achievement, which is to present complex themes in an easily-comprehensible, gentle manner to 21st century children and make them enjoy every minute of the experience.

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