Box art for Hugo


children & family, drama

Set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 8
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
Educational value
2 out of 5
1 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
Sexy Stuff
1 out of 5
Violence & scariness
2 out of 5

Spectacular book adaptation is great for tweens and up.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that although this book-based period adventure about the art and magic of movies is rated PG, it may be a tad too mature for younger elementary school-aged kids. Between the orphaned main character (whose father dies in a fire), the looming threat of being sent to the orphanage by the mean station manager, and an extended sequence about the history of early film, it's unlikely that kids under 8 will follow the sophisticated story. Since author Brian Selznick's novel is aimed at middle-grade readers, that's a good age to target for the movie, too. Kids who do watch will take away worthwhile messages about perseverance and overcoming fears, and budding filmmakers will especially delight in the movie's second half. Expect a little bit of flirting and hand-holding, a few insults, and one drunk (adult) character.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the movie's message about the art of filmmaking. Are movies as transformational as Melies claims? What is the role of movies -- to entertain, to educate, to provide meaning? Do all movies fulfill that role, or only some?
  • The movie says Hugo was looking for a message from his father but ended up on a journey "home." What does that mean? How is Hugo responsible for everything that transpires?
  • Fans of the book: How is the movie different than the story? What characters or scenes didn't make it into the adaptation? What did the filmmaker add that you liked? Why are changes sometimes made when books are adapted for the big screen?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 21
    see all Hugo reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: As befitting both its fetishistically detailed source material and the era in which it's set, Hugo is Scorsese's most visually accomplished film.

- Andrew Lapin, NPR, Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fresh: I have seen the future of 3-D moviemaking, and it belongs to Martin Scorsese, unlikely as that may sound.

- Andrew O'Hehir,, Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fresh: 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.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Audience Reviews

5 stars

Beautifull Movie.

- ScoopOnline, Wednesday, October 3, 2012

4 stars

Well done. Enjoyable. Imaginative. Enchanting. Some say that this movie is slow..well it is. This is a movie you have to invest yourself into. This is a movie for movie lovers, not for those who simply have a passing interest and enjoy a flick every now and then. The story is beautiful, and the cinematography was incredible. The two young leads were wonderful. Scorsese has great talent, and it shows here...

- itsjustme2004, Monday, August 27, 2012

4 stars

Brian Selznick's award-winning novel becomes an award-winning film by award-winning director Martin Scorcese. Hugo is one of the best family movies in recent years and maybe one of the best family movies ever. It's beautifully crafted and full of eye candy. It's also a loyal adaptation of a wonderful novel. The film follows Hugo Cabret, an orphaned boy who lives within the walls of a train station in Paris. Hugo possesses an automaton that his father found in a museum while he worked there. However, this automaton is full of secrets. Hugo befriends Isabella and the two set out to unravel its secrets and it will impact both of their lives. The plot to Hugo is pretty simple and it's executed very well. Martin Scorcese knows how to draw you into the story. The film starts with a cold opening. The tile isn't revealed until fifteen minutes in. There is beautiful cinematography and camera work. I love how the camera swept through the train station. The dialogue doesn't kick until a few minutes. We are also introduced to the visual look of the film and I loved it. It was like something out of a dream. For a family film, it's rather long. But the film paces well. It takes it's time, the characters are well developed, and the story keeps you interested. Scorcese's direction is higly impressive. I love his camera work in the film and the cinematography in this film is beautiful. He sure knows how to direct a film. He's also very good with actors. If you can't act, then I guess you can't be in a Scorcese flick. John Logan's screenplay is well written. There is a lot of good dialogue in this film. It's stays true to Brian Selznick's novel but there are some changes. They are some side characters that weren't featured in the novel and they make bigger characters out of the Station Inspector and the librarian. Aside from that, the film was true to the source material. Hugo has a lot of good performances. There is not one weak actor in the film. The title role is played by Asa Butterfield and he is one fine actor. For a young actor, he's very good. He totally got into his character and I could tell he was having a good time playing Hugo. I enjoy watching Chloe Moretz and I think she will have a long career. She is an impressive teen actress. And a cute one. Her performance as Isabella was very good but I did find her French accent to be a little cheesy. Other than that, the two young actors put on fine performances. I loved seeing them interact with the world around them. The world built in this film is a joy to watch. I hope the two go on to make more good movies. Ben Kingsley is great in his supporting role as Papa Georges. Kingsley always impresses and he did so in this film. I like how his character evolved over the film. I enjoyed Helen McCrory as Mama Jeanne and Jude Law did well in his small role. Sacha Baron Cohen is my favorite of the supporting cast. He plays the Station Inspector and he is very enjoyable and fun to watch. He's also very funny. Christopher Lee is awesome, right? He plays The Librarian. Lee has an awesome voice and is a great actor and he shines in his minor role. I liked the side characters they added like the lady who sells flowers, who's also the Station Inspector's love interest, the lady in the caf as well as her love interest. I don't think they were in the book but they were nice touches. Hugo pays tribute to silent films and that is one of the great things about this film. The history of cinema plays a big part in the film and you learn a lot about it. You also get to see how people perceived cinema back then. Also, the score was great. Howard Shore's score perfectly fit the film's atmosphere. There is also a bit of French music in there that is really good. Hugo is a wonderful family film. The visual style is really cool, the writing and acting are impressive, and the story is great. This is a highly memorable film and I've watched it twice by now. I wish I could've seen it in 3D but it looks great on Blu-ray. Martin Scorcese has crafted a great family film that will entertain children, adults, and film buffs. It's also a great love letter to cinema. It made me thankful for the movies. What would the world be without them? If you love innocent family films, check out Hugo. You'll be glad you did. We need more movies like this. "Come and dream with me."

- coollala0910, Saturday, August 25, 2012