Hugo ***+ (Jan 2012)

January 12, 2012 by James Berardinelli - Reelviews
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With Hugo, Martin Scorsese has accomplished what few in Hollywood are willing to try: make a movie for adults that arrives without sex, violence, or profanity and earns a PG-rating. It’s a fairy tale for mature viewers, but the airy exterior hides emotional depth. Hugo is appropriate for young viewers, but it’s questionable how much they will derive from the experience and, because the pace is more leisurely than frenetic, it’s likely the average child’s attention will wander.
The style is nothing like what we have come to expect from Scorsese. The whimsical approach with its Dickensian overtones and interludes of magical realism recall Terry Gilliam and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. For at least one film, Scorsese has left behind much of his baggage and accomplished what David Lynch did with The Straight Story and David Mamet did with The Winslow Boy – use his considerable behind-the-screen prowess and apply it to a different kind of story. The result is often magical.

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