Brief Encounter

  • 1945
  • 1 HR 26 MIN
  • NR

A touching, exquisitely handled film dealing with two ordinary people who accidentally fall in love. BRIEF ENCOUNTER is a unique and sometimes misunderstood film whose very British restraint has not endeared it to all comers, but which if anything makes the film more passionate as a result. The famous use of Rachmaninoff for the musical score, which would...read more

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A touching, exquisitely handled film dealing with two ordinary people who accidentally fall in love. BRIEF ENCOUNTER is a unique and sometimes misunderstood film whose very British restraint has not endeared it to all comers, but which if anything makes the film more passionate as a

result. The famous use of Rachmaninoff for the musical score, which would seem ridiculous and cliched in later screen romances, is quite perfect here, as overpowering emotions threaten the reliable dullness the leading couple relies upon every day to get by. Krasker's gleaming black-and-white

cinematography, at once delicately stylized and the peak of low-key realism, enhances the story of Alec (Howard) and Laura (Johnson), a doctor and housewife respectively, both happily married to others, who journey into town each Thursday on routine business. Alec's removing a cinder from Laura's

eye at the train station one week initiates a casual friendship which rapidly grows into something far stronger than either could have expected. The couple share moments of tenderness, gentle confidences and even wry humor (e.g. while watching shlock cinema, surely writer Noel Coward's sly dig at

pablum for the masses). Proof positive that director Lean was far better in his small-scale first half-dozen films than in his later overblown epics, BRIEF ENCOUNTER brings Coward's lovingly detailed and observant script to glowing life. The cast is uniformly faultless, from the sharp comic

counterpont of Carey, Holloway, and Gregg to the wonderful gentility Raymond brings to the role of Laura's husband. Center stage, though, properly belongs to the leading couple. In two screen creations to cherish, dashing newcomer Howard gives a brilliantly nuanced, ardent and touching

performance, while the ordinary-looking, carefully mannered Johnson achieves a heartbreaking performance whose beauty ranks with Garbo's CAMILLE.

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