with one exception this film, in my own very sensitive eye, is not oscar worthy.. unless sappy equals good.
an easy one to watch, full of good intentions and puppy-eyed children, of dreams and happy endings.
on a completely personal note, this is not the kind of film i like, not the kind of film that earns a place in the Academy shortlist.
in Hugo i saw nothing but cliché, nothing at all but a story that is predictable in its attempt to entrap the audience in a bundle of fluffy feelings. i had none, the title character and lead, little hugo cabaret has the depth of a puddle and the close ups screen time of a fully fledged lake, which does not add up. he has no real emotional depth, nor any other character – with maybe the notable exception of sasha baron cohen’s evil guard turning (again predictably) good.
sappy is a word that would describe it well. clichéd, lines that are all platitudes of the worst kind.
a partial attempt at making this a film about filmmaking gone wrong when it takes all the poetry out of the infamous train coming into the station: twice it is made into a laughable slapstick flashback shot.
the one good thing, besides the dog (by far the most expressive of the entire cast) is the re-making of the train film: in a dream dreamt by little hugo a train derails and destroys the station before he wakes up with a gasp. the plus in this plus is that the sequence is almost all from the train’s perspective instead of hugo’s, who is after all the one in front of it.
sure there is a metaphor in that, but it’s soon lost in the other messages the film tries to pass.
maybe there’s too many to fit properly in two hours, maybe they’re not supposed to be messages to interpret: but if so, then feeling should be king and it’s not because you can’t really ever get attached to any of the characters.
so, hugo is well shot, well constructed, full of good intents and lovely emotional close-ups.. but it’s just not enough.