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HUGO: My take on the movie

My husband surprised me today by offering to take me see HUGO in 3D!
"The theatre will be dark; you won't have to feel self-conscious about your face"
'Gee, thanks, honey!'
The truth is I fell flat on my face on Friday. As in, on the cement sidewalk. And while my nose isn't broken, I'm bruised and swollen and in general not a pretty sight. He was right; I am self-conscious about my face and have been moping around the house for the past couple of days milking it. His offer to get me out of the house to see a movie, a movie in which he knew not one ounce of violence would take place, no thrilling action sequences, no seat of your pants suspense, seriously touched me.

The film seriously touched both of us. I'd expected a beautiful looking movie; I'd seen the trailers and oohed and aahed over Robert Richardson's stellar cinematography. What I hadn't expected was to be so moved by it; and on so many levels.

What really got me was how Brian Selznick's book The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Martin Scorsese's passion for both early cinema and film preservation, melded into such an homage to the magic of the movies. How they are the stuff dreams are made of. How they transport us. How they help us define our purpose. When the film curator says of George Melies "he changed my life", you know that's Martin Scoresese saying it too. Watching some of the old and recreated old footage, I couldn't help but feel it.

The actual story of the two orphaned children doing all they can to evade the station inspector, Sacha Baron Cohen who is at once hilarious, monstrous, pathetic and all too human, Hugo's determination to fix the automaton to discover a message from his dead father, his evolving relationship with Isabelle's Papa George, that's the story the children will appreciate. I would think the appropriate age is anywhere from about eight and up as it is a bit long. But the George Melies' tribute, sitting in an audience watching a medium use new technology to lovingly look at its cinematic roots, that is the stuff any film buff will be enchanted with.
As to the 3D, while I mostly love the depth and richness it provides, wrapping you up completely in the environment, there are still those occasional blurs in the very close foreground that take me out of the story. A tad disconcerting but otherwise the film was filled with so many sweet moments, I was utterly swept away.

So you haven't read this book, neither have I. Maybe your kid did, or maybe not - it's a Caldecutt medal winner by the way.  It doesn't matter. If you love movies - and you must or you wouldn't be reading this - please go see Hugo. Asa Butterfeild, Chloe Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Sir Christopher Lee and Martin Scorsese will make your heart swell and your eyes fill. That's okay. Theatres are dark. No one can see you.

I've been posting pretty prolifically about HUGO. You may want to check out Five things I learned about Martin Scoresese, Howard Shore scores for Scorese again ,Robert Richardson shines a light on Hugo about the cinematographer, or Hugo: It isn't just for children which features a video discussion between 3D auteurs James Cameron and Martin Scorsese as well as Mike Fleming's 25 reasons why you should see Hugo.