Survives more as a social document than a genuinely compelling drama.
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What are critics saying?
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.
The New York Times by Bosley Crowther
An uncommonly good little picture.
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.
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.
David Lean's wondrous romance, adapted from Noel Coward's story, is one of the most emotionally devastating movies of all time.
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.