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2,863 Ratings

Brief Encounter

Directed by David Lean
United Kingdom, 1945
Drama, Romance


Adapted from Noël Coward’s 1936 play Still Life, housewife Laura Jesson entertains the idea of having an affair with doctor Alec Harvey whom she meets at a café in a railway station. They continue to meet every Thursday in the small café, although they know that their love is impossible.

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Brief Encounter Directed by David Lean

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

1946 | Winner: Grand Prize of the Festival

Academy Awards

1947 | 3 nominations including: Best Actress in a Leading Role

National Board of Review

1946 | Winner: Top Ten Films

A film for lovers of trains and Lean; for people who think Anna Karenina was a touch dramatic; for devourers of buns and drinkers of milky tea.
May 11, 2016
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As enacted through fears about one’s life choices, [the film] casts Laura’s sense of doubt as a political problem, where a woman meddling in matters outside of the home allows the darker side of her being to rear its ugly head. At least, that’s how her behavior could have been characterized in the past, where familial roles appeared to have stable meaning. That’s what seems to fascinate Lean: the sense of Laura’s predicament having a wholly different significance in just a seven-year timespan.
April 29, 2016
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The experience of involuntarily embracing someone who threatens to destroy your life has never been more exquisitely realized, in all its glory and misery… Lean hadn’t yet graduated to the epics for which he’s now famous, and he shoots most of Brief Encounter as simply and cleanly as possible, which lends uncommon force to his very occasional formal flourishes—most notably, a disorienting tilt of the camera that visually represents one character’s momentary descent into suicidal madness.
April 23, 2016
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