In theaters.

For decades, director Martin Scorsese has been a dedicated film preservationist and an enthusiastic cheerleader for early cinema, but Hugo may be the first time he has aimed his pro–silent movie message squarely at children. It's an odd moral for kids (as opposed to film students or cinephiles), and it makes for an odd film: broad in its style and messaging and self-indulgent in its pacing, yet also magnificently cinematic in Scorsese's inimitable way and charmingly earnest about its subject matter. The idiosyncratic result sometimes plods, but more often it takes flight, particularly after it begins its exploration of the extraordinary films of Georges Méliès. I'm not sure whether I would have enjoyed Hugo as a child, but as an adult, I eventually fell under its spell.