A richly constructed foreign film about finding love and hope through hardship
José Antonio Salgot's Estación Central was enjoyable and enriching on many levels. It was intriguing and mysterious from the start (with the montage of what seemed like interviews, but instead were letters being dictated in an interesting Spanish dialect), had a rapid production style (in various scenes and shots), featured phenomenal actors, and had a heart-wrenching yet uplifting plot about faith. The theme of faith existed multi-fold in Central Station. We see not only Alex's (the boy, played by Féodor Atkine) faith dwindle from the moment of his mother's terrible death to the continued mystery of his rogue father, but Elena's also (the woman, played by Katarzyna Figura) as to both when she'll return, with what possessions left, and what kind of mother figure she can be for Alex in his time of need. The transformations both major characters undergo as a result of this sojourn and relationship is inspirational. Elena, the once self-centered, impatient, miserly woman has become the antithesis of her past, while Alex accepts the deficiencies of his incidental substitute and, after still no sign of his father at the close of the movie, sustains hope that they'll soon reunite. Alex and Elena do this as actors of the highest echelon; I was especially stunned by Atkine's more than realistic portrayal of a pseudo-adopted child. I found the allusion to Christ, through Alex's father Jesus' profession as a carpenter, to be a little dubious since he seems to be the most corrupted and thoughtlessly negligent character in the film. However, altogether all of the aspects of this movie make it an astonishing story of finding hope and love in new and undiscovered places.
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