On a weekend of six movies, all of which deserve a thumbs up, this film clearly stood above the rest. Central Station is a Brazilian road movie with an interesting pair of characters. Dora is a retired schoolteacher who writes letters for the illiterate masses. She runs her business in the heavy traffic of Central Station in Rio de Janeiro. One of her clients is killed by a bus, and Josué, the dead woman’s son, is left to fend for himself. When Dora realizes the kid’s options are bleak, she takes him north into the heart of Brazil to find his father. The characters are whole and vivid (a perfect and welcome contrast to the forced quirkiness of Rushmore and Happiness, two of the other five from this weekend). Their relationship is honest and real. Even though I wasn’t moved to give this film a perfect four-star rating, I can find no faults in it.
Did You Notice?
Two films, both nominated for best Foreign-Language Picture in 1998, feature characters named Dora and Josué: this one and Life is Beautiful.