Movie Review: Brief Encounter (1945)

Title: Brief Encounter
Release Date: 3 November 1945
Director: David Lean
Production Company: Eagle-Lion Distributors

Laura Jesson (Celia Johnson), a married woman in her 30s, journeys by train to a nearby town every Thursday to do shopping and see a film at the cinema. On one occasion she is assisted by a charming doctor, Alec Harvey (Trevor Howard), in the refreshment room at the train station.  They meet again and form a bond, meeting week after week over lunch, films, or a drive through the countryside.  They never “consummate” their relationship but nevertheless the strong feelings toward one another cause great guilt and they decide to end their encounters.  Their final meeting is used as a framing device to start and the film, so this is not a big spoiler.

The movie is very restrained in a characteristically British way.  The acting is top notch and I really feel the conflicting emotions simmering beneath the surface of Laura and Alec. I also like that with many scenes set in the train station’s refreshment room that there is another entire story going on with the staff at the bar. It all makes for a well-structured and moving work of cinema.

Rating: ***1/2