Central Station

Reviewed by Dan Lybarger

February 10, 1998

Brazil's Central Station is one of those rare movies that can pull on an audience's emotions without ever feeling forced or manipulative. Fernanda Montenegro stars as a bitter retired teacher who supplements her income by writing letters for illiterate people. When a boy (Vinicius de Oliveira) whose mother has died winds up in her care, she reluctantly treks thousands of miles to unite him with the father he has never met. The story may sound familiar, but director Walter Salles Jr.'s straightforward approach keeps the movie from feeling stale or rote.

He looks at the poor with affection but without sentiment or condescension. Young Oliveira is remarkable (Salles reportedly discovered him shining shoes in an airport), but the heart of the film is Montenegro's performance. She demonstrates a kaleidoscopic range and is compelling because she always appears real. At many points in the film, she tries to abandon the boy, but fate and her conscience keep foiling her. When her maternal instincts do kick in, Central Station becomes the sort of movie that makes the burden of subtitles seem lighter. (R) Rating: 10



Oscar-nominee Fernada Montenegro.

 Oscar-nominee Fernada Montenegro shines in Central Station.

© 1998 Sony Pictures Classics, used by permission.






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This page was last updated on 02/09/98.
Ó 1998 Dan Lybarger


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