Film & Theology- Hugo


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In February there was one movie whose name everyone kept hearing over and over, Hugo. Hugo received five Oscars—for Best Cinematography,Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing—and its 11 total nominations (including Best Picture). A seemingly simply movie about a boy who lives alone in a Paris railway station in 1931. After being orphaned, Hugo seeks to fix a machine which he believes holds a secret message from his father.

There are many themes in Hugo: 1. Creating, 2. Mission, 3. Purpose, 4. Adoption & Salvation. Take a look at my full lesson for details on each theme. However the one I want to highlight here is purpose.

Midway through the film Hugo is explaining his worldview to Isabella.

Hugo: Everything has a purpose even machine clocks tell the time trains take you places they do what they are meant to do like Monsieur Labisse maybe thatʼs why broken machines make me so sad, they canʼt do what they are meant to do. Maybe itʼs the same with people if you lose your purpose its like your broken.

Isabella: Like Papa Georges? Hugo: Maybe we can fix him Isabella: Is that your purpose, fixing things?

Hugo: I donʼt know itʼs what my father did.

Isabella: I wonder what my purpose is. I donʼt know maybe if Iʼd known my parents I would know.

Hugo: I imagine the world is one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured if the entire world was one big machine. I couldnʼt be an extra part I had to be here for some reason and that means you have to be here for a reason too.

I love this section of dialogue. Are you doing what you are meant to do or are you broken?

What is assumed in this is that if the world is a machine then there is a creator. Whether the creators of the film directly or indirectly intended this is unknown. However Hugo raises some interesting thoughts. If there is a creator then there is a purpose. This is really a purpose versus chance debate. Without a creator everything you see has no true meaning or purpose.

Machines don’t come with extra parts and neither have you. You are not spare parts. There is a purpose and plan for your life. So what is your purpose? Are you fulfilling it or are you broken?