Who the hell knows why people are getting so worked up over "Central Station"? This Brazilian film, directed by Walter Salles Jr., takes a cute kid and runs his mother over with a bus. That's not an action that warrants acclaim; it's one that warrants about 1,200 hours of community service in an orange jumper.
This is just more proof that people are incapable of separating fantasy from reality: One need not muster the same level concern for a boy whose mother is killed in a film as for a boy whose mother is killed in real life. This film's version of death is the emotional equivalent of the director slipping some cinematic roofies into your four-dollar Coca-Cola.
In "Central Station," the relationship between young Josue (Vinicius de Oliveira) and old Dora (Fernanda Montengro) is formed by the Cinematic Law of Juvenile Compassion which states that whenever a young person is the victim of a tragedy, some crusty geezer must reluctantly befriend said child and eventually learn to love him or her. You might as well have called this movie "Kolya Station" or "All Aboard Gloria," to cite just two "geriatric saves child" films out of about a hundred thousand.
And just because I got to see a side of Brazil I hadn't seen before doesn't mean I'm going to overlook a story full of clichés. I mean, I love Carnival, Brazil nuts and Pelé as much as the next guy, but a poor, desolate countryside looks just about the same no matter what country you're in.
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