Despair. Loneliness. Hope. And ultimately friendship.
“Yuck that sounds absolutely vile mate.”
Im most cases I would probably agree but for clarification this is not one of those cases. Walter Salles is widely recognized for directing the Oscar winning The Motorcycle Diaries and also the not so winning Dark Water. More recently he has taken on the Jack Kerouac’s Novel On The Road featuring stars like Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen.
Set in Rio de Janerio central station a former school teacher Dora, now works writing letters for illiterate people. She hates her job and the customers, despising the letters they wish to send. Then a 9 year old boy called Josue wants to find his father with the aid of his mother, tragically she dies leaving him lost and Dora being his only hope in finding his long lost father.
The pivotal success of this film would depend on how well the relationship between Dora and Josue played out, we needed to see their shared despair but without it delving into stereotypes. Dora played by Fernando Montenegro is at first portrayed as a woman who is annoyed at life, she hates her customers and there pathetic letters they wish to send. Josue on the other hand is innocent upon losing his mother he has no choice but to find his father. This is all set up perfectly for Dora to try and do something right in the world for so long she has been taking advantage of life and now a young innocent boy needs her help. Its this innocence that is vastly important throughout for Josue is always on the right side of good, even though life has been so hard on him.
Let me explain that rather sickly first line, Central Station is all about the journey of the two characters and the emotions they share together. As we the audience begin to learn more about who they are (mainly Dora) we become more and more sympathetic for them, at the start you only feel this for Josue but by the end you feel very different. Its just a shame that you can imagine that very same line on a Hollywood drama poster (Hugh Grant hugging a dog with Drew Barrymore looking on)
Acting in this film is also very high, the young Vinicius de Oliveira playing Josue adds to that rather long list of child performances. Montenegro has to juggle a fragile character and yet show the development of a somewhat mother figure to Josue and she pulls it off very well.