Director: Walter Salles
Year Released: 1998
A retired schoolteacher and letter writer-for-the-illiterate helps a young boy find his father after the boy's mother gets hit by a bus (it was presumably not Bus 174, although you never know in Rio). Since I was listening closely, I could actually hear the various plot points and conflicts (mostly involving the older woman trying to abandon the boy) get scratched off the screenwriter's checklist - the only hint of originality is its unblinking view of its two protagonists, who steal food and cheat people out of money (by promising to mail letters people paid to send). At the end, when the boy and woman part for the last time and cry simultaneously after looking at the photo of themselves posing with a 'saint,' well, that's a moment brought to you by Kodak. Feel inclined to weep.