Hugo Cabret

Hugo Cabret

Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up… in Paris in the ‘30s,learning about clocks and automatons from his widowed father. After his father died in a fire, his uncle Claude took him in. However, Claude is more interested in drinking than taking care of his nephew, and after a while, he disappeared. So Hugo was left to raise himself.

Living… in the walls of the Gare Montparnasse train station in Paris, alone in his uncle’s apartment. With no adult caretaker, Hugo must hide from the station inspector to avoid being sent to the orphanage, and he steals croissants from the station shops for food. As Hugo can get most of what he needs there, he pretty much never leaves the station.

Profession… repair and maintenance boy for the station's clocks, using the skills his uncle taught him to do the job. In his free time, he’s also continuing his father’s work of repairing an old automaton, stealing the parts he needs from Georges Melies’ toy shop.

Interests… movies and machines. Hugo likes sneaking into the cinema and is obsessed with fixing the automaton his father left behind.

Relationship Status… single. He’s only twelve and probably not looking to date just yet. But he does have a pretty close relationship with his new friend, Isabelle.

Challenge… fixing the automaton his father left behind. Beyond the challenge of living alone as a child, Hugo desperately wants to finish his father’s work, going so far as to follow Georges Melies home to get his father's notes back. It's not an easy task – much of the machine is broken, and Hugo has little idea how the automaton is actually supposed to work – but he's determined to succeed.

Personality… quiet, clever with machines, and deeply lonely. In order to escape the inspector's notice, Hugo develops into a quiet and wary boy, but these traits could just as well be a result of his lonely existence. He's also something of a genius, since maintaining clocks and fixing machines is no small feat for a twelve-year-old. But beneath all of Hugo's reserve and intelligence is just a young boy looking for a place where he belongs. As Hugo himself says, "Machines never come with any extra parts, you know…so I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn't be an extra part.”


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