Young orphan Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) lives in the walls of an early 1930s Paris train station. Here, he secretly winds the clocks, evades the clutches of the station master (Sacha Baron Cohen), and devotes himself to fixing a mysterious automaton salvaged by his late father (Jude Law). Stealing clockwork parts from the station’s little toy booth, he incurs the wrath of the shop’s owner, embittered Papa Georges (Ben Kingsley).
When he ends up befriending the old man’s adoptive daughter Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), however, Hugo begins to uncover the mystery of Georges’ past. What is it that he keeps hidden in his wardrobe? And why does Isabelle carry a key which fits Hugo’s automaton?
- The preservation of film is a thread that runs throughout Hugo. Why is the preservation of film important? What can we learn from films of the past? Why is history significant?
- Hugo depicts film as a magical, almost supernatural, art form. Why? What does Andre Bazin’s belief—that every shot of film is a representation of God manifesting creation—mean? Do you believe it to be true?
- Through helping Melies, Hugo finds his place in the world, that his gift of fixing things does serve a purpose bigger than himself. What does this tell us about our unique skills and gifts? What does the Bible say about the way we were created?