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Brief Encounter

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United Kingdom · 1945
1h 26m
Director David Lean
Starring Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway, Joyce Carey
Genre Drama, Romance

On a train platform, Laura Jesson runs into her acquaintance, Alec Harvey. The acquaintanceship soon becomes a casual friendship, and ultimately a passionate affair. Both married, Laura and Alec must not let the doomed romance wreak havoc on their own families.

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What are people saying?

Nina Gallagher Profile picture for Nina Gallagher

David Lean's classic 1945 romance is definitely a slow burn, but it keeps you thinking about it for days afterward. Brief Encounter is beautiful and restrained, reflecting and rejecting the societal structures of the time. The film still holds up today as a tragic romance ruined by circumstances.

What are critics saying?


CineVue by Allie Gemmill

We rarely see films that are so loaded in meaning and symbolism yet subdued in action. It’s a treat to be sure, one that can be relished seventy years on with renewed fervour.


LarsenOnFilm by Josh Larsen

Shockingly modern in sensibility, construction, and execution, Brief Encounter is very different from what one thinks of as a David Lean movie, whose historical epics have come to define posh, mid-century, cinematic excellence.


The A.V. Club by Keith Phipps

Encounter remains the definition of timeless, a beautifully shot, heartbreakingly acted, minutely detailed illustration of thoroughly recognizable human frailty.


The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

The film is thrillingly, unapologetically about decency and honour, about, as Laura heartrendingly puts it, controlling oneself.


Time Out by Tom Huddleston

David Lean's wondrous romance, adapted from Noel Coward's story, is one of the most emotionally devastating movies of all time.

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