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Hugo Review

Movies.com Critics

4.0

Dave White Profile

Shell out for the glasses. Read full review

3.5

Grae Drake Profile

A film lesson with production value and heart. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0
    83

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    A fabulous and passionate love letter to the cinema and its preservation framed by the strenuous adventures of two orphans in 1930s Paris.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Visually Hugo is a marvel, but dramatically it's a clockwork lemon.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Overall, however, the manner in which the film blends the tale of an imperiled boy and the history of cinema makes for an ambitious and fanciful ride.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Hugo both ticks and flies by, a marvel meant to be pulled from the cabinet and enjoyed again and again.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Hugo reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 8+

Spectacular book adaptation is great for tweens and up.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this book-based period adventure about the art and magic of movies is rated PG, it may be a tad too mature for younger elementary school-aged kids. Between the orphaned main character (whose father dies in a fire), the looming threat of being sent to the orphanage by the mean station manager, and an extended sequence about the history of early film, it's unlikely that kids under 8 will follow the sophisticated story. Since author Brian Selznick's novel is aimed at middle-grade readers, that's a good age to target for the movie, too. Kids who do watch will take away worthwhile messages about perseverance and overcoming fears, and budding filmmakers will especially delight in the movie's second half. Expect a little bit of flirting and hand-holding, a few insults, and one drunk (adult) character.

  • Families can talk about the movie's message about the art of filmmaking. Are movies as transformational as Melies claims? What is the role of movies -- to entertain, to educate, to provide meaning? Do all movies fulfill that role, or only some?
  • The movie says Hugo was looking for a message from his father but ended up on a journey "home." What does that mean? How is Hugo responsible for everything that transpires?
  • Fans of the book: How is the movie different than the story? What characters or scenes didn't make it into the adaptation? What did the filmmaker add that you liked? Why are changes sometimes made when books are adapted for the big screen?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true2

    Educational value: Kids will learn about the history of film, silent movies, and real-life French director Georges Melies, who made hundreds of the earliest short films in movie history.

  • message true3

    Messages: The movie emphasizes the importance of films and how magical movies can be for their audience. Hugo's relentless faith in his father, in his mission to fix the broken, ends up being a metaphor for healing Melies' broken heart. Hugo and Isabelle discuss how everyone -- every thing -- has a purpose, and you just have to find out what it is for that purpose to be met.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Hugo and Isabelle are brave kids who overcome their fears to discover the truth. Their perseverance, even in the face of danger, sets an example for adolescents to follow their passion, seek the truth, and help fix what's broken in the world.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence and scariness: Hugo's father is killed in a fire. The station inspector sics his Doberman on unaccompanied kids and then brusquely throws them into the station jail before transferring them to an orphanage. In a nightmare, Hugo dreams that he's about to be run over by a train and then that he transforms into the automaton.

  • sex false1

    Sexy stuff: Two different sets of adults flirt with each other and are shown walking hand and hand. Married Papa Georges recalls his love of Mama Jeanne, and the two embrace and kiss. Hugo and Isabel hold hands, and she kisses him on the cheek in one scene. The station inspector has humorous conversations with the policeman about marriage, infidelity, and a baby's parentage of a baby. The station inspector asks the policeman if he has "had relations" with his wife in the past year.

  • language false1

    Language: Insults like "idiot," "no-good thief," "liar," and "drunk."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Uncle Claude drinks out of a flask and is obviously drunk. The inspector calls him a host of synonyms for "inebriated." People are shown with wine glasses at the train station cafe.

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