Hugo Film Analysis Example

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George Washington University
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Time is a great entity that one ought to behold with utter appreciation. The lack of it can be devastating as seen in Hugo. Hugo, a film by Martin Scorsese, shows the struggle of family orientation that has been explained in time (Anderson, 2017). The big clocks that keep on being explained in Hugo are an indication of the changes that occur as time goes by. Essential changes in the lives of the characters happen as time goes by. The changes are made more profound and meaningful by the presence of Hugo in their lives. Hugo represents a change catalyst.

A catalyst in a different world but at the same time. The main character, Hugo spends most of his time in the clock tower at the railway station. This depicts the utter loneliness Hugo undergoes being a young orphan. The lack of family orientation in his life shines a bright light on the lives of others. The notebook that means so much to Hugo is a vivid representation of the memories he has of his father (Cinema Autopsy, 2017). Disconnecting with the notebook will mean the loss of the memories of his father which was amongst the few things he held on to feel he was not alone.

In view of the acts of Hugo, one knows that there is value in working on things that people think are not worth it. The clock that Hugo tries to fix throughout the movie represents the utter situation of life that people often avoid to look into fearing that they may do more harm than good in trying to fix it. Family orientation seems to hold the roots to the movie. Hugo is a tale of passion and relevance. Passion in trying to fix broken things and bringing relevance to a life that was formerly meaningless.

Hugo is essentially a film with great depth in meaning. The films director had a not so different life from that of Hugo. Their lives can be comparable from looking into different aspects of life. In fact, the major part of the film can be described as a formulation of the directors experiences in life to make Hugo appear as his hero in the movie. This comparison of the two lives is a very complex issue that tends to confuse the reader of literary analysis that looks at aspects of life from the point of view of the films director.

In addition, one would term Hugo to be a very exceptional movie which won its fair share of movie and critic awards. The film, based on a young orphan has so much to teach the viewer about life. The thematic concerns witnessed in the film hold so much importance in teaching how people should lead their lives. There is much to learn from the film, and these thematic concerns are what will form the foundation of what is going to be discussed or rather analyzed in this literature analysis of Hugo.

The above paragraphs have done so much to educate us on the trivial issues that are being talked about in the film. Empirical evidence from the film will show that the characters, their actions, and reactions to different situations can be analyzed critically to come up with an in depth analysis of the film. One of the more evasive issues portrayed in the film that cannot be discovered through the conduction of shallow literature analysis is that of birth of cinema. This is witnessed from the directors effort to tell the story of a cinema pioneer through beautifully incorporating it into the film.

In view of this, there seem to be two major parts of the story in the film. One of the stories is about the passion that Hugo has for reconnecting with the world. This passion has led to the commencement of many relationships with different characters that shine a light upon the lonely life that is led by Hugo and thereby the need to find companionship through the recurring creation of meaningful relationships with different characters in the film. This need for reconnecting with the world has been the emphasis of the film with the main character, Hugo, making it a very presentable theme to the viewer.

However, there is a more lucid part of the film, one that seems to want to overthrow the meaning of the film in the first place. This second part strives to show the pioneering of cinema. This side of the story is accomplished through various scenes of a cinema pioneer who ought to sell toys in a railways station before discovering the cinema world. Initially, the character whose story is referred to be that of the pioneer of cinema is depicted as an old man who is a magician of sorts. The old man, Melies is a proprietor of a toy shop in the same location where Hugo calls home. This story about the pioneer of cinema takes shape throughout the movie, and it, therefore, threatens to gain more ground that Hugos take of reconnecting with the world.

It would be prudent to mention that apart from the fact that both of the characters mentioned above are sharing the same location of the Paris train station, their lives also criss-cross and intertwine time and again for the benefit of either of them. In Hugos quest of reconnection, the old man gains so much from life through different encounters with the young orphan. In truth, this can be seen as the main starting point when analyzing the film with the depth it deserves. The young boy or rather orphan tries to create lasting relationships with a various character who are also attached to the Paris train station. It becomes so clear at the end of the movie that as much as Hugo gained from the other characters, theirs was a symbiotic relationship that made sure everyone gained exceptionally well in a variety of ways including rejuvenation of life and creation of strong family structure as witnessed in the film.

Furthermore, apart from the two characters, there are some other characters that also bring along with them thematic concerns witnessed in the plot development of the film. Ideally, Hugo is given work to look after the train stations clocks by his drunk uncle. Through the work, he becomes passionate about mechanical things. This passion can be the related to the fact that his late father was a mechanic. His late father was actually a clockmaker, this similarity in the life Hugo lives as an orphan to his fathers occupation is what makes him gain so much interest in things mechanical to a point where there is a paternal reward to Hugos connection in mechanical things.

The connection of Hugo to the mechanical aspect of the film drives the viewer to one specific point, one point that holds so much weight for the whole film and for the character himself. Hugo feels like he can be able to communicate to his father when interacts with mechanical parts be it the huge clocks at the train station or other automation. Hugo essentially thinks that his father is sending a message to him. He, therefore, feels less alone that he would be without such a passion. In the actual sense, Hugo is a lone character, and he is alone. However, through constant interaction with the mechanical parts of the train station, Hugo feels that he is in fact not alone because the passion for mechanical things holds a promise of paternal rewards that he constantly longs for. Therefore, his life as an orphan is actually made more bearable through this interaction with automation rather than the actual interaction with other human beings.

At one point of the film, Melies discovers that Hugo has been stealing parts from the Toy shop. The parts that Hugo has been stealing have been used for his automation to repair broken mechanical parts. Melies goes on to punish Hugo by making him a repair man at the toy store. However, this close connection they seem to have still doesnt culminate into something meaningful since they still portray a disjointed feeling. In fact, they are still deeply isolated characters up until the point when Melies god-daughter Isabelle comes to salvage the situation. Isabelle, therefore, acts as the bridge that will fill the gap between these two deeply isolated characters. There is a deep connection that follows to ensure between Hugo and Isabell.

Hugo and Isabelle build a deep connection over time through sharing their most important aspects of their lives. For instance, at one point in the film, Hugo invites Isabelle to come and witness his passion for mechanical things. This shows that Hugo will never ever be alone and his quest for reconnecting with the world has been fruitful. Consequently, Isabelle comes into the film to create a sense of literal appreciation that creates a deeper connection between the two young characters. For instance, Isabelle is so much interested in books. She goes on to share her interests with Hugo.

The two characters go ahead on a fate of adventure that makes them even more connected and thereby Hugo realizes them joys of reconnecting with the world. Joys that he has for long been locked out of access due to the face of isolation that was bestowed upon as an orphan. Hugo has gone through much sadness throughout the whole film. But what makes the movie so interesting is that at the end Hugo finds solace that not necessarily happier things but a better ending. It would correct to mention that the spate of events that Hugo passes through shows avid viewers the importance attached to family and family structure all over the world. The appreciation of this fact has been the foundation of all the other themes emanating from the film.



Anderson, J. (2017). The Re-Invention of Dreams: Martin Scorsese's Hugo - Cinema Scope. [online] Cinema Scope. Available at: [Accessed 16 Jul. 2017].

Cinema Autopsy. (2017). Film review Hugo (2011). [online] Available at [Accessed 16 Jul. 2017].


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