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United Kingdom 1945
Directed by
David Lean
86 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Brief Encounter

Produced and written by Noel Coward, Brief Encounter is unrequited romance English style with the lovers expounding their moral quandry in Coward's irresistibly contrived dialogue and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No 2 thundering away in the background as their repressed desires mount.  Although married to other people, suburban commuters Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard who meet by chance in a railway station toy with having an affair but come to their senses in the nick of time. 

The film actually caused a scandal in the England of its day for its depiction of marital infidelity despite the fact that the romance is never consummated. Every scene, masterfully composed by Lean is a tableau of the neurotic horrors of English manners as the pair laugh gaily at Donald Duck or flagellate themselves verbally for their wantoness in the tea room of the Milford Junction railway station. If, for whatever reason, you found this appealing, then you'll want to watch the author himself as the romantic lead in The Astonished Heart, a film which makes this effort seem restrained in its preciosity.




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