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Central do Brasil
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Reviews & Ratings for
Central Station More at IMDbPro »Central do Brasil (original title)

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54 out of 58 people found the following review useful:

Amazing movie

Author: lauloi from Northeast America
31 March 2002

Central do Brasil has everything. You come expecting a story of a woman who takes care of a child in a harsh social milieu. You sit in disbelief as this woman shows herself to be a heartless opportunist, and as your expectations are being confounded, you begin to realize how this villainess came to be such a person. The boy she begins to help is also no innocent movie cherub, he has an endearing slyness and a will to survive despite the horrible tragedy he has experienced.

Their road trip is an odyssey from bad to worse, and you begin to sympathize. The characters they meet and the landscape they traverse give us in the north a flavor of Brazil which I cannot confirm as being authentic. But they seem as complex and beautiful and full of contradiction as the Brazilian music that I love. And the final destination for the boy (you're on the edge of your seat hoping things will turn out right) is not a happily-ever-after, but seems to indicate a new direction for the character.

If I sound overly sentimental (I'm sure I do) it's because very few films have moved me like this one. I watched it through three times and cried at the scene of Dora on the bus every time. The use of religious imagery, from the modern evangelicalism of the truck driver to the more unfamiliar scenes with the pictures of the saints (incredible camerawork here) added dimensions of complexity in a medium where Christianity is often treated either in a saccharine fashion or with heavyhanded disdain. See Central Station.

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44 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

On the road

10/10
Author: jotix100 from New York
20 December 2005

This film, which we watched at the Vancouver Film Festival years ago, turned up the other night on cable. On second viewing, the film still packs quite an impact, as it still feels real. The work of Walter Salles and Fernanda Montenegro was amazing then, and still is now.

This is the story about a cynic and jaded woman who resorts to do menial work and who is a small con artist herself. Dora has seen better days. She is retired now, but in order to make ends meet, she sets a letter writing desk at Rio's train station where she writes letters dictated to her by the illiterate and eager people who can't do the job as they want to communicate with distant family and friends through Dona Dora. In many cases, as it's the case with the letter she has written for Ana, she has no intention of ever sending those missives dictated to her by the unsuspecting people.

Josue, the small boy, who witness the death of his mother, is wiser for his younger years than one might suspect. He sees right through Dora as a charlatan and a con woman. When Dora takes the boy home, she has no intentions of ever helping him much more than a few days. Later, upon learning about the adoption agency, she sells the boy to the unscrupulous people involved in the traffic of children for a thousand dollars without any problems. It's only when her friend Irene tells her the fate that Josue will encounter, that Dora leaps into action.

Since she can't stay home without having to return her money, she takes Josue on the road. This odd couple begins the journey as complete strangers, but this voyage will make them appreciate one another and even move Dora into becoming a better woman for having the courage to do the right thing. Josue also realizes that Dora, in her own way, has been, for however short, the mother he lost in the tragic accident.

Fernanda Montenegro, perhaps Brazil's best actress, is amazing as Dona Dora. She is the whole reason for seeing the movie. Her Dora is one of the best creations in her film career. This intense performer shows an actress who fully understand who Dora is and the way she would behave in the situation. Young Vinicius Oliveira is a sweet Josue, and Marilia Pera, is the kind Irene, who makes Dora see the monstrosity of what she was about to do.

The music by Jacques Morelembaum and Antonio Pinto is an asset, as it adds an atmosphere to the long journey of Dora and Josue. The interesting cinematography by Walter Carvalho, shows the immensity of Brazil's interior as the odd couple go to find the little boy's father.

This film is a triumph for both Walter Salles and Fernanda Montenegro.

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51 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

The most extraordinary movie of 1998

10/10
Author: Caio from São Paulo, Brasil
10 December 1998



This movie is special.It shows the real Brasil with a simple but beautiful and touching story about a little boy looking for the father he never knew and a woman looking for a second chance. The performers are brilliant! Fernanda Montenegro is extraordinary in the role of Dora.The chemistry between the main characters (Dora and Josué) is splendid. The film photography is wonderful, so as the instrumental soundtrack. Central do Brasil(Central Station) is one of the best movies I have ever seen.

Be ready to weep and be happy!

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41 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

This film explains how Hollywood has lost touch with reality

10/10
Author: Benoît A. Racine (benoit-3) from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
30 July 2009

It took me 10 years to learn of this film's existence. I'm very sorry I wasn't paying more attention. It came out at a time when I had pretty much given up on films in general and Hollywood films in particular.

How was I to know that somewhere in the world a courageous director chose to film a story that didn't involve sex, comic-book sadistic or crime-glorifying violence, fake superheroics or CGI-augmented horror? How was I to know that not all Latin directors were involved in a world of idiotic and heartless self-centered proto-fascistic make-believe like, say, Guillermo Del Toro? How was I to know that Brazilian actress Fernanda Montenegro who got robbed of an Oscar by Gwyneth Paltrow in the almost preternaturally ridiculous and superficial "Shakespeare In Love" gave a performance that is rarely imaginable at the movies? Or that Brazil could produce a film that can rival Murnau's "Sunrise" or the neo-realist masterpieces of Vittorio De Sica for the title of "best film ever made"?

I watched this multi-leveled, multi-faceted reflexion piece dubbed in French late one recent Sunday night on Radio-Canada while recovering from the flu. The tears I cried were very good for my sinus condition. But they were also cried for the fact that I was such an idiot for having let this film slip by.

If you haven't seen it yet, there is still time. Watch it and ask yourself: What happened to America that it can't tell simple, moving and true stories like this one anymore? You won't have to cry but you will anyway.

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39 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

Sad and beautiful

8/10
Author: rbverhoef (rbverhoef@hotmail.com) from The Hague, Netherlands
9 January 2004

'Central do Brasil' is basically a road movie about a boy Josué (Vinícius de Oliveira) who just lost his mother searching for his father. He does this with the help of Dora (Fernanda Montenegro). She writes letters for illiterate people in the central station of Rio de Janeiro. Dora has a secret, she doesn't mail the letters. She knows Josué because he and his mother used to write letters to Josué's father and when his mother dies she takes care of him, although she has other intentions at first.

The movie is mainly about the relationship between the boy and the woman. Of course they meet people on the road. Especially the part where they travel with a truck driver is very good. We also see a little of the life in Brazil. This is a movie with a good story that is very well directed. The acting is terrific. Montenegra as the older woman and especially De Oliveira as the boy is very good.

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37 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Very Moving Film

10/10
Author: shaolinstar21 from Melbourne, Australia
28 July 2004

A wonderful film, that works on several layers. This is a film about a cynical woman who becomes a "mother" to a young boy who has just lost his mother. Through the course of this film, this woman, Dora, learns to love. The young boy, Josue, learns to live again. Each is so clearly delineated and so clearly defined that the film is a pleasure from beginning to end.

Central Station actually beat "Life is Beautiful" at some of the world's top awards ceremonies for that year, and you can see why. Its acting is superb, and Walter Salles' direction is with a masterly touch. The cinematography, evoking that desaturated, golden world of Brazil is beautiful - it's a lesson in itself on how to make an apparently 'gritty' world very beautiful. Watch this film.

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23 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

rehashed storyline creatively told

9/10
Author: Gregg Greene from Eugene, OR
8 November 2004

In reality, there are a finite amount of interesting story lines to tell. What makes one movie telling the same storyline more worthwhile to see is a combination of creative expression, in depth character development, superb acting, exquisite photography, and believability, or the ability to persuade the moviegoer to suspend disbelief.

How many times have we been exposed to a retelling of Shirley Temple's Heidi, where a young non-related child falls into the life of an old curmudgeon, and teaches that curmudgeon to enjoy life and/or develop morals and values? Too many times for me, so I was reluctant to see this film. It would have been a shame had I not.

There are many creative twists and turns along the way to keep the suspense level up in this film. The photography in Rio is OK, but once out in the Brazilian countryside, it is fantastic. At the end of the film, there is little doubt but that the way this story turns out is how it would have had to turn out. The character development of Josue is a little weak, but that of Dora is superb. And you will see a lot of films before you will see an acting performance like Fernanda Montenegro's as Dora again.

This movie thankfully is not overly sentimental, that would get in the way of the story, it is just a great film to watch and enjoy. 9 of 10.

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21 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

The Great Fernanda

Author: Boyo-2
8 June 1999

I thought this movie was terrific, a little slow in parts, but I cared about the characters and was interested in their journey. I also liked the fact that the main character was not portrayed as a saint - Dora is a real person, flaws and all. Montenegro was robbed at the Oscars and so was the movie.

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17 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Great

9/10
Author: msultan from uiuc
6 February 2004

Great movie, warm and bittersweet. It somehow reminded me of

My Life as a Dog (1985) because it more or less deals with the

same issues, but we move from the Swedish North to the sunny

Brazilian South. Beautiful colors, great acting--Josue and Dora

make a wonderful pair and they really foil each other out. Almost

starts dragging a little before the end, but it picks up again. I highly

recommend.

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18 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

There are movies and there are MOVIES!!

10/10
Author: velvet-15 (velvet@zaz.com.br) from Goiânia, Brazil
1 August 2000

I was surprised when I first saw Central do Brasil. First, because, living in Brasil, I have had the chance to see the rise and fall of our movie production. Suddenly, a powerful cinematographic milestone comes as a delightful surprise to movie lovers down here. A few things must be said: it's pretty obvious that Central do Brasil is too much of a real and daring movie for the Academy. It's almost a relief that it didn't get any Oscars, but was praised all over the world, winning more than 50 ( !!!) prizes in Europe, Asia and Americas. For those who find it boring, it's time to reavaluate your concepts on what good cinema is. Stop seeing The Patriots and Independence Days that infect America's so-called Industry, and try to research a little bit more on sense and sensibility!!

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