Monday, February 20, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: Hugo

Hugo
Running Time: 126 minutes
Nominations: 11 (Best Picture; Best Director: Martin Scorsese; Best Adapted Screenplay; Best Original Score; Best Cinematography; Best Film Editing; Best Costume Design; Best Art Direction; Best Sound Mixing; Best Sound Editing; Best Visual Effects)
Availability in the US: Now in Theatres
MPAA: Rated PG for mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking

An orphan named Hugo (Asa Butterfield) living in the walls of a train station in 1930s Paris sets out to solve the mystery of an automaton left behind by his late father. Hugo must find the heart-shaped key that makes the automaton work, but he is stymied by a cranky old man (Ben Kingsley) who may have his own secret connection to the mystery.

While reviewers have touted Hugo as a movie about film preservation, it is really so much more than that. Though film preservation is a key theme, Hugo is also a surprisingly relatable tale. Everyone is looking for a way to connect with his past or lost loved ones; similarly, we all have things from our past we'd rather forget. Hugo and the old man represent these two opposing sides of our instincts. Hugo is a delightful and engaging trip through early cinematic history. The film works on multiple levels and for moviegoers of all ages. With an engaging story and clever writing, two hours pass so quickly you won't believe it's already over.

So far this awards season, Hugo has done very well, garnering accolades from multiple critics' associations and peer groups. Scorsese has similarly been lauded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and other groups. Losing the Director's Guild Award to Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) may have hurt his hopes for a second Best Director statuette (he won his first for 2006's The Departed), but he is still certainly a top contender. With 11 nominations, Hugo looks to garner at least a handful of awards.

Grade: A+

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