Last night my wife and I watched the 2011 film Hugo. Besides being an Oscar winning film and visually stunning, it is also tale of brokenness and redemption.
Hugo, the title character, is an orphan who lives in a Paris railway station where he maintains the clocks. Hugo views the world as a giant machine. Since this machine comes with no extra parts, it is important for each person to discover their place in order for the machine to work properly. In addition, each person is broken until they discover their purpose and place in the world. Hugo’s mission then is to fix broken things like the automaton, and broken people like Papa Georges, and restore them to wholeness. It is a matter of discovering how to unlock one’s heart, reflected in the heart shaped key necessary to start the automaton.
The movie reflects the fact that each one of us longs to find our place in the world. We will never know true happiness and fulfillment until we do. I was reminded of the famous quote by the philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal; “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”
Hugo would be a great discussion starter on the theme of the purpose of life and how to discover one’s passion. It could be used to steer a conversation towards spiritual things.
Hugo is another illustration in search of a sermon.