Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Bursting with earned emotion, Hugo is a mechanism that comes to life at the turn of a key in the shape of a heart.
Yes, "Hugo'' is a family film and, yes, your children and your inner child stand to be enraptured, but the family Scorsese really made this for is the 100-year-old tribe of watchers in the dark.
An endearing homage to a pioneering master of the movie medium, Georges Melies, from that most masterful modern-day moviemaker, Martin Scorsese.
Aside from being one of Scorsese's most personal films, it's also one of the least cynical films of this or any other year.
New York Times:
It's serious, beautiful, wise to the absurdity of life and in the embrace of a piercing longing.
An odd combo of Babe: Pig in the City and Godard's Histoire(s) du cinema, Hugo is the strangest bird to grace the multiplex in a while.
Wall Street Journal:
Thematic potency and cinematic virtuosity -- the production was designed by Dante Ferretti and photographed by Robert Richardson -- can't conceal a deadly inertness at the film's core.
It's a complex fusion of film history and personal history, filled with dazzling embellishments and unabashed sentiment about the glories of cinema.
What Scorsese has really made is a beautifully crafted love letter to movies, the passion of his life. What sounded like an odd pairing winds up being a perfect fit.
J. R. Jones,
Scorsese transforms this innocent tale into an ardent love letter to the cinema and a moving plea for film preservation.
"Hugo" is big, and it exists mainly to dazzle, but its storytelling ambitions are more modest. I enjoyed it more than many a later Scorsese picture.
A haunting, piquant melodrama about childhood dreams and yearnings, enhanced with a pleasant survey course in early film history.
Arthur C. Clarke once wrote that 'any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.' It's a sentiment that Scorsese seems to have taken to heart...
A passionate brief for film preservation wrapped in a fanciful tale of childhood intrigue and adventure, Hugo dazzlingly conjoins the earliest days of cinema with the very latest big screen technology.
Los Angeles Times:
"Films have the power to capture dreams," Melies said, and the way they've captured Scorsese's can't be denied.
[It's] as much of a personal Scorsese picture as Raging Bull or Taxi Driver. In some ways, this could be his most heartfelt movie.
Being a hardcore cinephile (like Scorsese) might add a layer of enjoyment, but it certainly isn't a prerequisite for walking in the door. A sense of wonder, however, is.
Although it brings Scorsese together with people and techniques he hasn't worked with before, it also touches on themes close to his heart: the birth of cinema, and its preservation.
In Hugo, the hero has a terrifying dream, perhaps an unconscious recollection of that event. Reality, filmed illusion, and dreams are so intertwined that only an artist, playing merrily with echoes, can sort them into a scheme of delight.
This isn't a stuffy exercise for movie buffs. It's a real and touching story, full of childlike wonder.
As befitting both its fetishistically detailed source material and the era in which it's set, Hugo is Scorsese's most visually accomplished film.
New York Daily News:
"Come and dream with me," a filmmaker pleads in Martin Scorsese's exquisite fantasy "Hugo," offering an invitation that's clearly extended from Scorsese himself.
New York Post:
It's as if David Copperfield wandered into a History of Film lecture. Maybe it isn't a great idea to wait till you're nearly 70 to make your first kid movie.
A state-of-the-art affair, an epic adaptation of Selznick's pretty-epic-itself tome, full of dazzling visuals and rapturous tributes to Melies and the magic of movies.
It's a fairy tale for mature viewers, but the airy exterior hides emotional depth.
"Hugo" is unlike any other film Martin Scorsese has ever made, and yet possibly the closest to his heart: a big-budget, family epic in 3-D, and in some ways, a mirror of his own life.
I have seen the future of 3-D moviemaking, and it belongs to Martin Scorsese, unlikely as that may sound.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Ultimately, the biggest disappointment of Hugo is that it fails to make the case for 3-D as a legitimate tool for the serious filmmaker.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Scorsese's "Hugo" is a hugely ambitious and wholly satisfying feat. It's a living lesson in movie magic wrapped in a classic kiddie flick.
Globe and Mail:
Scorsese's film is a richly illustrated lesson in cinema history and the best argument for 3-D since James Cameron's Avatar.
It might be curtains for celluloid, but Scorsese, a boyish 69, clearly isn't leaving the stage any time soon. He directs every film with the passion of his first. And it shows.
Movie magic hangs in the air of Martin Scorsese's Hugo, much like the steam and dust that fills almost every frame.
A wondrous blend of fantasy and mystery that will appeal to adults as well as children.
In attempting to make his first film for all ages, Martin Scorsese has fashioned one for the ages.
If ever the movie gods were to smile on an adaptation, it would be Scorsese's take on Selznick's bestselling book, a valentine to the cinematic artists whose work the filmmaker has toiled so tirelessly to champion and preserve.