Brief Encounter

Title: Brief Encounter
Year: 1945
Director: David Lean
Writer: Anthony Havelock-Allan, David Lean & Ronald Neame, based on a play by Noel Coward
Starring: Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard
Music: Sergei Rachmaninoff’s 2nd piano concerto
Distinctions: Oscar nominations for Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actress (Johnson) (1947); currently #167 on IMDb’s Top 250
Length: 86 minutes
Synopsis: an ordinary mother/housewife imagines telling her husband about a man she fell in love with
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), March 2009
Subjective Rating: 8/10 9/10 (One of my favorites)
Objective Rating: 10/10 c. 3.7/4 (Great)

The depth and realism of the characters in this movie is remarkable. Take the scene where she lies to her husband – something you see on just about every episode of every bad sitcom, not to mention almost every “romantic” movie ever made; this movie is probably the only time it’s felt as gut-wrenching as it should. I don’t care for Rachmaninoff, but they used the music cleverly: what’s on the radio while she’s “telling” the story is the flashback’s score.


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