Catch ‘Hugo’ today at MPL

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By Kelly Dolejsi

Another award-winning movie screens this week in the library’s Free Film Series: Martin Scorsese’s PG-rated “Hugo.”
This is nothing like “The Departed,” “Gangs of New York,” “Goodfellas” or any of the other brilliant, bloody, harrowing films I associate with the longtime director. There’s no need to cover your child’s innocent ears or to avert your own horrified eyes. This one is about magic, family and making dreams — not nightmares — come alive.
The story is set in Paris during the 1930s, when women wore nice shoes and stockings to train stations and men tucked in their shirts. Hugo, an orphan, lives in the train station. If any of the passersby were to make the unlikely decision to peer through the number four in the big clock, they might see him. Otherwise, he is invisible, like time itself.
I don’t typically like movies aimed at children. And in the beginning of “Hugo,” I felt bored, as usual, with the simple sentimentality meant to be easy for young brains to grasp.
But as the film moves along, it becomes more mysterious and it gives away its lush secrets deliciously slowly. Why does Hugo live in a clock? Who is the one-legged station inspector and why does he hate orphans? Who is the cranky tinkerer and why is a cryptic little notebook so interesting to him?
You have to watch to find out. You just have to — because you want to. Scorsese doesn’t need dead goons to keep an audience’s attention. He can do it with gears and heart-shaped keys.
Scorsese’s F-bomb-free kids’ film won Oscars that year for art direction, cinematography, sound editing, sound mixing and visual effects. Notably, it was also nominated for picture of the year, directing, writing (adapted screenplay), film editing, original score, costume design.
“Hugo” (2011) plays at 6:30 p.m. today in the upstairs meeting room “theater” at Mesa Public Library. The showing is made possible of Friends of Mesa Public Library.
For more information, call the library at 662-8240.