Hugo is a beautiful film, with its sweeping views of 1930's Paris from a train station clock, adventures amongst the cogs and gears of the clock's interior, passing glimpses of passengers adorned in the fashions of the day, libraries with soaring ceilings, charming Parisian shops, quirky film-making sequences from the early 1900s, art deco theatres, and the heartwarming interactions of the young and the old.
The orphaned Hugo lives in the clock of a train station in Paris. His father left him a magician's automaton to finish building, but the toymaker from the shop in the station takes his notebook of instructions when he catches Hugo stealing from him. Hugo appeals to the toymaker's goddaughter to help him get the notebook back, and thus ensues an adventure where they find out the toymaker is the infamous George Melies, who made fanciful movies at the turn of the 20th century.
The film is a tad too long, making it not one I think small children would sit through easily, however I think it will appeal to an audience of 12 and over. My son, at 13, sat through it happily, and I think it helped that our family has a great interest in films and their history. The sequences from the 1900s may be too old-fashioned and drawn-out for many viewers. I think the movie would have benefitted by being about 20 minutes shorter.
However, the characters were beautifully constructed and portrayed, making the film a sentimental story that brought a tear to my eye. Definitely worth watching!
As an addition, many years ago, a band called Smashing Pumpkins released a song called Tonight, Tonight, and the accompanying video was created in the style of George Melies films. I find it difficult to listen to the singer's voice these days (showing my age) but the drums and strings are fabulous and the video is a gorgeous, amusing, and clever reference to Melie.