The Film

Hugo is a 2011 American adventure drama film based on Brian Selznick's novel 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret' about a boy who lives alone in a Paris railway station. It is directed by Martin Scorsese and written by John Logan. It is a co-production of Graham King's GK Films and Johnny Depp's Infinitum Nihil.

The film stars Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helen McCrory, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Jude Law and Christopher Lee.

The main story line of this charming family film revolves around the history of the cinema, and especially the work of Georges Méliès, the French cinematographer who worked during the 1920s and who conceived one of the first films about travel to the moon. His film, Voyage to the Moon is considered to be a classic of the cinema. One of the most well known moments in the film is scene where the spacecraft, fired from a giant cannon on Earth, hits the man in the moon in the eye. Georges Méliès drawing of this scene is shown in the panel on the right.

Hugo was distributed by Paramount Pictures and released in the US on 23 November 2011. The film received enormously positive reviews, with many critics praising the visuals, acting and direction.

At the 84th Academy Awards, Hugo received five Oscars – for Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing – and its 11 total nominations, including Best Picture, were the most for the evening.

The film also won two BAFTAs and was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, earning Scorsese his third Golden Globe Award for Best Director.

Hugo was selected for the Royal Film Performance 2011 with a screening at the Odeon, Leicester Square in London on 28 November 2011 in the presence of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, in support of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund.


GK Films and Warner Bros. acquired the screen rights to 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret' shortly after the book was published in 2007. Initially, Chris Wedge was signed in to direct the adaptation and John Logan was contracted to create the screenplay. The film was initially titled 'Hugo Cabret', in line with the novel.

Several actors were engaged, including Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Helen McCrory and later Jude Law, Ray Winstone, Christopher Lee, Frances de la Tour and Richard Griffiths. The venture was officially launched into production in London on 29 June 2010.

Shooting commenced at Shepperton Studios in London, together with other locations in London and Paris. The Nene Valley Railway near Peterborough also loaned their original Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits rolling stock to the studio.

The film's soundtrack includes an Oscar-nominated original score composed by Howard Shore, and also makes prominent use of the Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens and the first Gnossienne by Erik Satie.

Hugo was originally budgeted at $100 million. but overran with a final budget of between $156 million and $170 million.


Critical Reception

Hugo received great acclaim from critics. Review tallying website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 186 of the tallied 199 reviews were positive, for a score of 93% and a certification of "fresh". Similarly, Metacritic gave the film an average score of 83 based on 41 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".

Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four out of four stars saying "Hugo is unlike any other film Martin Scorsese has ever made, and yet possibly the closest to his heart: a big-budget, family epic .... and in some ways, a mirror of his own life. We feel a great artist has been given command of the tools and resources he needs to make a movie about – movies."

Christy Lemire of the U-T San Diego said that it had a "abundant love of the power of film; being a hardcore cinephile (like Scorsese) might add a layer of enjoyment, but it certainly isn't a prerequisite for walking in the door" .

Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune rated it 3 stars and described it as "Rich and stimulating" explaining "every locale in Scorsese's vision of 1931 Paris looks and feels like another planet. The filmmaker embraces storybook artifice as wholeheartedly as he relays the tale's lessons in the importance of film preservation."

Richard Corliss of Time named it one of the Top 10 Best Movies of 2011, saying "Scorsese's love poem .... restores both the reputation of an early pioneer and the glory of movie history – the birth of a popular art form given new life through a master's application of the coolest new techniques".



• Asa Butterfield as Hugo Cabret

• Ben Kingsley as Georges Méliès

• Chloë Grace Moretz as Isabelle

• Sacha Baron Cohen as Inspector Gustave

• Ray Winstone as Claude Cabret

• Jude Law as Hugo's father

• Christopher Lee as Monsieur Labisse

• Helen McCrory as Mama Jeanne

• Michael Stuhlbarg as René Tabard

• Emily Mortimer as Lisette

• Frances de la Tour as Madame Emile

• Richard Griffiths as Monsieur Frick

• Marco Aponte as a train engineer assistant

• Emil Lager as Django Reinhardt, the guitarist

• Ben Addis as Salvador Dalí

• Robert Gillas as James Joyce

• Kevin Eldon as Policeman

• Gulliver McGrath as Young Tabard