Brief Encounter

This is the film that established David Lean's reputation, before he went on to such bombastic exercises as Lawrence of Arabia and Ryan's Daughter and shifted from being—in Lindsay Anderson's view—England's white hope to England's white elephant. Though based on a short play (and screenplay) by Noel Coward that rarely rises above the level of the old women's magazines, this 1945 tale of the chance meeting and almost affair of a bored suburban housewife (Celia Johnson) and a married doctor (Trevor Howard) in a provincial railway buffet does manage to zero in on some of the more depressing aspects of English middle-class life, and thus survives more as a social document than a genuinely compelling drama. With Cyril Raymond and Stanley Holloway. 85 min.

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