Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Fernanda Montenegro gives a landmark performance.
  2. Normally the sound in movie theaters is of popcorn crunching. But the sound at theaters where Central Station is showing is of hearts breaking.
  3. Easily among the top 10 films made last year.
  4. A richly tender and moving experience.
  5. For Fernanda Montenegro, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Italy's late Giulietta Masina (Federico Fellini's wife and frequent star) in appearance and talent, "Central Station" is a personal triumph and a rich cinematic experience.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    [Salles]'s imagery, like his storytelling, is clear, often unaffectedly lovely, and quietly, powerfully haunting.
  7. But in a calculated move that pays off handsomely, the picture's remarkable power is reserved for the end, when the intertwining themes coalesce in an extraordinarily satisfying and stirring way.
  8. 90
    An intimate epic.
  9. Salles' solid narrative is only deceptively simple; there is a lot of dimension and depth to this gentle, sometimes painful portrait of two wanderers.
  10. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Filled with moments of real poignancy and gentle epiphanies, the film is also marked by strong Christian undercurrents, but, like everything else in Salles's film, they're handled with extraordinary delicacy and never feel exclusionary.
  11. Reviewed by: Joshua Klein
    While the cinematography is gorgeous and the script extremely sharp, Central Station owes much of its strength to its two mismatched leads.
  12. There's plenty of room for sentimentality here, but the wonder of Salles' film is all in the telling.
  13. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Montenegro carries the film su-perbly with her portrait of gritty strength being worn down to a state of tattered vulnerability, while newcomer de Oliveira, a shoeshine boy who won the role over 1,500 other aspirants, is engagingly natural and happily doesn't beg for viewer sympathy.
  14. A touching and unusual road movie-cum-buddy film.
  15. The story is much less about its resolution than the experience along the way. At its best, Central Station is a movie of small textures and fleeting moments, the intangibles that pass between people.
  16. 75
    The movie's success rests largely on the shoulders of Fernanda Montenegro, an actress who successfully defeats any temptation to allow sentimentality to wreck her relationship with the child.
  17. The performances are engaging and the views of rural Brazil are captivating, making the film a solid audience-pleaser even though its story often seems familiar and sentimental.
  18. 75
    A touching, well-made motion picture whose only real flaw lies in the overfamiliar storyline.
  19. Reviewed by: Ron Wells
    I wasn't in the mood for this film, but it got to me anyway.
  20. In this otherwise rather schematic swatch of social catharsis, Brazil's Fernanda Montenegro gives the best performance by an actress I've seen all year.
  21. Reviewed by: Gary Dauphin
    A mildly saccharine but kind-hearted movie.
  22. This 1998 film held my interest for two hours, even taking on an epic feel when it turns into a road movie. It's not bad by any means, but it also happens to resemble a lot of other movies.
  23. 40
    It's blatantly manipulative pairing of an adorable young boy and a selfish, honesty-challenged older woman [is] so calculating that I could never get emotionally involved.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 42 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. Jan 9, 2011
    The best brazilian movie of all time and count with the extraordinary performance of Fernanda Montenegro, who should did win Oscar. Simply wonderful!!! Full Review »
  2. CarlosE.
    Oct 19, 2005
    The best movier ot the history.
  3. Jul 28, 2014
    "Central Station" is a masterpiece where Walter Salles joins his great talent as a director perfectly to the excellent script and cast powerful. Film ensures Fernanda Montenegro the title of one of the best performances of world cinema. Full Review »