16th January, 2012
SIU FUNG WU
In A Word: Imaginative
Hugo is an adventure-drama for the family (in 3D), based on a 2007 novel written by Brian Selznick. The movie captivates the audience by its multifaceted themes and messages. The rich content and plot will not disappoint people who want to go beneath the surface of a story and explore the deeper meaning of life.
LOOKING FOR A MESSAGE: Asa Butterfield stars as the orphan Hugo Cabret in the movie of the same name. PICTURE: Jaap Buitendijk
"(T)he movie is not merely about steadfastness in adversity, but also imagination. It is when one dares to imagine and venture into the unknown that they find meaning and new life."
Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) is a 12-year-old orphan who has just lost his father. He has to live with his drunken uncle in the four walls of a train station in Paris in the 1930s. He continues to secretly run the clocks of the station after his uncle disappears. To survive he has to steal food and constantly hide from the station inspector.
Life is difficult, but all that Hugo cares about is fixing a broken automaton, a mechanical man who is supposed to write a message with a pen. Hugo believes that the message from this automaton is, in fact, a message from his father.
But to repair the mechanical man he needs parts, and so he has to steal from a toyshop. The owner is not at all pleased when he catches Hugo. As the story progresses Hugo’s path crosses with that of Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz), who is also an orphan. It turns out, Isabelle is the goddaughter of a former filmmaker called Georges Méliès (Ben Kingsley). His creativity and imagination had made him a legendary pioneer and innovator in filmmaking before World War I. But for all sorts of reasons, by the time he meets Hugo, Georges is a broken old man.
In the movie we see the intersection of the lives of an orphan who was rejected by society and an old man who was living in despair. We see how the war devastated the lives of different people in different ways. One orphan’s life was blessed by two caring godparents. Yet other orphans’ lives were filled with fear, sorrow, and despised by the authority.
But in the worst of times a child’s determination to find purpose in something his beloved father gave him changes not only his own destiny but also others’. Yet the movie is not merely about steadfastness in adversity, but also imagination. It is when one dares to imagine and venture into the unknown that they find meaning and new life. Indeed, one is willing to give up everything to lay hold of what they believe to be the most important and meaningful thing they have found. “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45-46)
Enjoy the movie and let its message touch your life.
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