We at EBFS have spoken before about critics creating a pedestal for some films like Drive. They build them up to such a high regard that you almost find yourself hating the film because you’ve let yourself build up your expectations or simply to spit in the eye of the mainstream.
As we settled down to watch Hugo, it was apparent that this could easily have been one of those films. Lord knows, it’s been a fight between this and The Artist as who has the most column inches. However, one thing stopped it from being so. It’s charm. Hugo is a breathtaking piece of cinema that feels like it is made with genuine love. Yes, no one really goes out of their way to make a bad movie, but it’s a rare moment to watch a film like this. It has already been said that this is Scorsese’s love letter to the cinema and it shows. His passion for all things film is infectious. He has created a masterpiece.
From the cinematography to the music, nothing is wasted. Even minor characters feel fully realised. From Sacha Baron Cohen’s station inspector trying to woo the local flower girl, to Richard Griffiths fighting for the affections of Frances de la Tour to the frustration of her pet dog; there’s no one you don’t care about. Never was this truer than for Ben Kingsley as George Méliès. An absolute doppelganger of the tragic silent-era director, it is hard to find a dry eye in the house after he describes to Hugo his fall from grace. If you don’t find yourself with at least some form of lump in your throat, then you truly have no soul.
To give away too much would be wrong, Hugo needs to be experienced without knowing anything more than you have to. Not to sound pretentious, but this is a film that wants to absorb you into it’s world, and you really must let it do so.