Martin Scorsese is the luckiest guy in the world. If you need to ask why, then the answer is because he always gets to be a kid, living out all those child-like, testosterone-driven fantasies by turning them into movies. Lucky.
Known for his signature machismo, his chosen storylines usually deal with the trappings of misguided men. But fans of director Martin Scorsese may or may not be pleasantly surprised that his latest film does not involve gangsters, mobsters, washed up boxers, or Leonardo DiCaprio.
Instead, it involves a boy.
The prolific filmmaker’s first shot at 3D with Hugo is a breath of fresh air from his usual heavy-handed plots. Based on the children’s book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, the movie is an instant smile-inducer that will warm the hearts of kids and kids at heart.
It’s 1931 in Paris and 12-year-old Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) is a scrappy, street-smart boy maneuvering his orphaned existence through the secret passages of a train station. His drunkard uncle, to keep the station clocks running, abandons him there.
He is still going through the motions of losing his father to a museum fire, so he goes around collecting tiny parts for an enigmatic automaton that dear old dad left him. The perusal, almost infatuated rummaging for gears is the kid’s mourning process. He constantly searches for answers that will reconnect him to his deceased father by looting local shops in the hopes of fixing the strange mechanical man.
A toy store proprietor named Georges Melies (Ben Kingsley) catches Hugo during a pilfering and confiscates his notebook containing information on how to get the automaton up and running. He meets the store owner’s goddaughter Isabelle (the always charming Chloe Moretz), a kindred spirit whose love for books and natural eloquence are matched by a craving for adventure. They form a special friendship and become unlikely allies in solving the mystery behind the automaton.
NEXT: These kids know how to act