As a young boy, Hugo Cabret is given an interest in fixing up mechanical devices by his father. When his father dies in a fire, he is taken in by his alcoholic uncle, Claude. Claude forces him to do his job for him, keeping the clocks on time in Paris' central train station. Claude eventually disappears for good, leaving Hugo to keep the clocks running on his own, living in the walls and ceiling of the train station and stealing food to get by. His sole possession of value is an "automaton," a type of mechanical figure programmed to write something on a piece of paper, which his father found while alive and was trying to repair. Hugo hunts for the necessary pieces to make the automaton whole and discover the message that his father was working so hard to make reality. While stealing gears for the automaton, he is caught by the owner of the train station's toy shop, the grumpy Papa Georges. Georges sees in Hugo's notebook a picture of the automaton, and he is sent into emotional distress. Hugo, meanwhile, fixes it up except for its final piece: a heart-shaped keyhole that requires a key for turning. Hugo begins to pal around with Georges' goddaughter, Isabelle, and they eventually realize her necklace, which contains a heart-shaped key, may coincidentally be precisely the key Hugo needs. When Hugo and Isabelle finally find the automaton's message, it's a drawing that reveals Papa Georges' secret past as a wildly famous filmmaker.
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Best part of story, including ending:
It's a magnificent and heartfelt story from Martin Scorsese, usually the king of the violent and profane, here delivering something tender and deeply personal.
Best scene in story:
A flashback reveals the height of Papa Georges' fame, and watching him put together his complex and epic silent films is quite simply a joy to watch.
Opinion about the main character:
Hugo is smart, intense, and curious. He's what every boy should hope to be, and he's what every parents wishes to see in the hero of the movies their kids are watching.