Central Station (Central do Brasil) 1998 is a film directed by Walter Salles. This movie is about a middle-aged woman who is a retired elementary school teacher. She starts working in the central train station in Brazil, writing letters for illiterate people. One day she is approached by a lady with her young son Josuè who is 9 years old and the lady asks her to write a letter to the father of Josuè. Dora sometimes decides not to send letters depending on the circumstances. The next day Josuè’s mother visits Dora again to re-write her letter and upon leaving she was killed by a bus leaving Josuè an orphan since he never met his father. Dora feels bad and takes the child in, although the child is rude. While the kid was at her home he discovered that Dora had a drawer full of unsent letters including the one she was supposed to send to the father he never knew. It wasn’t long before Dora got sick of the boy and sold him to what she thought was an orphanage that sends kids abroad to rich families. After Irene catches Dora in a lie over how she purchased a television set Dora tells her that she put the boy in an orphanage. Irene was not convinced with this idea and told her that the boy could be sold for body parts. And in fact this was a human trafficking couple that was going to hurt Josuè. Dora breaks him out and saves him, but by doing this she is no longer able to return to her apartment because they knew where she lived and threatened to kill her. She then takes a bus out of town with the boy to the address where his father lives and sets him up with money and everything he needs to get home to his dad. However the plan gets ruined when the boy gets off the bus and forgets his backpack where the money was. That was the beginning of a long adventure they embark to meet his father. After so many tries and so many failures they never find his father, however they find his brothers Isaias and Moises. They spend sometime and after a getting to know the boys brothers Dora felt like it was the right thing to do to leave Josuè with them. Dora left a note for Josuè. She and the boy feel sad, but realize that it was the best thing for him. They both have a little picture to remind themselves of each other. Boy is in good hands.
A major theme in this movie is love and friendship. Although its not evident at first, Josuè and Dora develop a beautiful relationship. As if she took over the role of his mother and he the child she never had. At the beginning of the relationship it’s funny because they are both always insulting each other and fighting. But as the movie goes on you see the bond grow between them and its just nice to see a total stranger so inclined to help this boy find purpose in his life. The ending is sad but with a positive ending. You also see love and friendship in the beginning between Irene and Dora and how they always kept each other company.
I enjoyed this film very much. It was astonishing to see how much illiteracy existed in Brazil. It is fortunate that we don’t really see too much of that here in the USA. The story line was fascinating, made me wonder what it would feel like to be in the shoes of that young boy. It was definitely and eye opener to make you appreciate what you have. Many up and downs, but has a happy ending. I recommend this movie.