2011-11-23

Hugo – Finding Our Purpose And Reason For Being

by Yo Snyder

You must go see this movie. And, you must go see this movie in 3D. Hugo
is a special experience, one of those sublime trips to the movies that
reminds us of why we so enjoy going to the movies. Martin Scorsese has
crafted a loving tribute to the pioneers of film making and a lovely
reminder of just what it is that we find so magical about them. What’s
more, he’s crafted this beautifully in 3D. Rare is the case any more
that the spectacle of 3D is more than gimmick or a quick cash grab.
Here, it brings out the true beauty of this film. It allows Scorsese to
do some unique things with the camera and the framing of various shots.
He uses it as an added element to tell his story, never drawing
attention to itself but often enhancing what’s already there. Yes, Hugo in 3D is a special treat, one that I heartily recommend you don’t miss.

I don’t want to say much about the film itself because part of the
experience is the complete unexpectedness of this movie. In an age
filled with spoilers and leaks and all the details of movies months and
sometimes years before they ever hit the screen, to have the chance to
go see one with very little knowledge of what I’m about to see was a
special treat. Suffice it to say that there’s an almost fairy tale
quality to this story. More than that, it’s one that’s filled with
heart, sadness joy, mystery, love and quite a few genuinely funny
moments. Every character and every performance is just right. Sir Ben
Kingsly shines in an understated role that he plays brilliantly. I’ve
never been much of a fan of Sacha Baron Cohen, but he plays one of the
most colorful and unique characters on screen this year. Even Jude Law
and Christopher Lee in their limited screen time truly shine. Scorsese
gets the best out of everyone he worked with here, and that’s especially
true of the kids. Asa Butterfield is amazingly good as Hugo, expressing
just as much with what he doesn’t say as with what he says, something
that could be said of this entire film that goes long stretches without
much dialogue but never leaves any doubt as to what’s happening or what
the characters are thinking or feeling. Chole Grace Moretz is one of the
most delightful characters to grace the screen since the young Emma
Watson debuted as Herminoe. Chole’s Isabella is spunky and smart, filled
with innocence and childlike wonder, but also has a sagacity that
comprehends that at times life can be grave and sad…but it shouldn’t
have to stay that way.

And that is at the heart of the film; when life is broken, can it be
fixed? Hugo wisely states that the reason broken machines make him sad
is because when they’re broken they can’t fulfill their purpose. When a
person loses their purpose, it’s like they’re broken. The only question
that remains is whether or not they can be fixed; if they can find their
purpose once again. This resonates so strongly because there’s a great
deal of truth in that observation. How much of our time is spent trying
to find purpose? We want to know that our lives have meaning and there’s
a reason for us to be here. Without that, it is very much indeed like
we’re broken, and that brokenness manifests itself is a myriad of
different ways that saps the joy from our lives. That is why we need the
Great Watchmaker, for he is the one who can fix us because he is the
one who know what makes us tick. After all, he designed us. He created
us for a purpose, each and everyone of us. He has a reason for each of
us to be here, and he can help us discover what that is. And yet so many
would deny the presence of the Watchmaker. They would rather believe
that all the intricacies of life are random and purposeless, and then
they wonder why it seems like so many things are broken. And still he
waits, the Great Watchmaker, with open arms of love saying, “Come to me
all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my
yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in spirit
and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29) There is no
soul too broken for him to fix and no person too lost for him to find
and renew their purpose.

This movie, however, needs no fixing
whatsoever. The writing is sharp, intelligent, and heartfelt. The
cinematography is absolutely gorgeous, the performances are spot-on
perfect, and the music helps tell the story with aplomb. I don’t often
write reviews in soundbites, but this truly is one of the best films of
the year and an absolute must-see during this holiday season. While the
film may be a little slower for younger children, for older kids and up,
it’s a wonderful experience for the whole family. It make adults feel
like kids again and will ignite the imagination of children who haven’t
had to suffer through the onset of cynicism of adulthood. I’m generally
not a fan of Scorsese, but I’ve always acknowledged that the has talent.
All of that talent is brought to bear on this delightful fairy tale of
finding our purpose and place in life and learning what it is to love,
live and dream. There may be funnier and wackier films out there, but
none with this much heart. Do yourself a favor and experience Hugo for yourself; I think you’ll be glad you did.