The middle-aged Dora (Montenegro) is a former schoolteacher who now ekes a living by writing letters for the illiterate people who flock every day through Rio's teeming central station. Reluctantly she finds herself looking after nine-year old Josue (De Oliveira), whose mother has been killed in a road accident. The youngster, however, is determined to find his father, who lives in the remote north-east of the country.
Former documentary maker Walter Salles has crafted an engrossing, lyrical road trip in Central Station, a movie which never sentimentalises its protagonists and builds to an understated, yet deeply affecting, climax. Filmed entirely on location and utilising some magnificent widescreen photography, it unfolds as a meditation on memory, yearning and loss, while painting a fascinating portrait of a nation searching for its roots.
Brimming with religious references, Central Station is also blessed by two out-standing performances from the veteran Montenegro and newcomer De Oliveira. Warmly recommended.