Classics: Brief Encounter (1945) A Review

Another vintage classic that I have managed to avoid.  We all know the story of this one, and I am just hoping that it lives up to all the good things I have heard about it.

Certificate: U

Director: David Lean

Screenwriter: David Lean

Starring: Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway

Genre: Drama, Romance

Runtime: 86 Minutes

Rating: 3 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

At a café on a railway station, housewife Laura Jesson (Celia Johnson) meets Dr. Alec Harvey (Trevor Howard). Although they are both already married, they gradually fall in love with each other. They continue to meet every Thursday in the small café, although they know that their love is impossible. – From IMDB

Oh for the time when everyone in British cinema sounded like they were talking with a golf ball in their throats.  And all the minor characters sounded like they talked with a cockney accent, regardless of where the film is actually set.  I hope people don’t really think that is what all British people sound like, I can assure you I don’t sound like that.  And it is made worse by the fact that a lot of the film is narrated by Celia Johnson, so we are treated to that upper British class accent for a lot of the time.  I didn’t really enjoy that the film is narrated as it plays out.  It could have done just as well without it.

I didn’t really expect the story to play out the way it did.  I always assumed that ‘Brief Encounter’  really did focus on ONE individual meeting between two people.  For the length of time this, and I laughably use the word ‘affair’, goes on, you can’t really call it brief.  But I suppose the forties were a very different world then what we have now.  So what they are doing in the film would probably have been considered fairly scandalous at the time, but to us now, it is entirely innocent and not something worth making an entire film about.

I enjoy the banter going on in the Train Station tea room more than any of the encounters between our supposed ‘lovers’.  I can’t see or feel the chemistry that is meant to be so strong between them and they probably spend more time apart then they do on screen together.

I often find old classic films highly enjoyable, they are classics for a reason of course, but this one for me was a bit of a flop.  Not much really happens and I wasn’t invested in the story at all.  I suppose you can’t win them all can you.

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