Central Station is the reward that puts a smile on the face of movielovers who search diligently, and so often in vain, for small jewels.

CENTRAL STATION

A Illusion review by Joan Ellis.


Central Station is the story of two people who don't want to love each other. Dora, a 67-year-old cynic, and Josue, a 9-year-old dynamo, meet when Josue's mother brings him to Rio de Janeiro's Central Station, where she approaches a professional letter writer. Helping illiterate people write letters with words they cannot find in themselves is Dora's specialty. But she is a sham. She later mocks and then tosses away the letters of her grateful customers. Important words, finally expressed, lie in the trash along with the trust she has been given.

In a terrible moment, Josue's mother is killed in the street, and the boy, in an instant, is homeless in the impersonal chaos that surrounds the station. Wearing a thin layer of bravado, the scared little fellow returns to Dora's station desk and asks her to help him find the father he has never met. Dora, sunk in the daily routine of a woman who has given up on life, at first refuses. After circumstance reunites the unlikely pair, we are told the story of their journey together, the boy searching for his father, the woman taking one last shot at finding something within herself.

Traveling by train, ever deeper into a nearly uninhabited countryside, the two have only each other as they ride to a place that is merely an address on a piece of paper. They are penniless and hungry in an unfamiliar land. Because Josue and Dora share a lot of silence, Fernanda Montenegro, an esteemed Brazilian actress, brings Dora's evolution to us primarily through facial expression. When she delivers Dora's moment of transcendence, Montenegro is triumphant. The evaporation of cynicism is a beautiful thing.

You will remember them: Josue, drunk on the bus, proudly proclaiming his name-the only thing he has; and Dora, smiling at last, basking in the warmth of a stranger who gives them a lift. You might never forget their final sublime collusion, born as it is of street-smart inspiration. Sentimentality does not mar the telling of this prickly friendship.

A director emboldened by inspiration and wise in his restraint found two people to carry a small story all the way to major success at the Sundance, Toronto, Telluride, and Berlin film festivals. Central Station is the reward that puts a smile on the face of movielovers who search diligently, and so often in vain, for small jewels.


Film Critic : JOAN ELLIS
Word Count : 497
Studio : Sony Pictures Classics
Rating : R
Running time: 1h55m


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