Showing posts with label David Lean. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David Lean. Show all posts

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Brief Encounter (3 stars)

Brief Encounter, directed by David Lean and starring Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson, is a romantic drama from 1945.  The movie, which is told in flashback, is the story of Dr. Alec Harvey and Mrs. Laura Jessen, who, though both married to others, fall deeply in love and embark on an ill-fated love affair.

Quite by accident, Alec and Laura meet at a train station one Thursday afternoon while both are enroute home from their usual Thursday outing.  When Laura gets a piece of coal dust in her eye, the doctor steps in to help her remove it.  Just like that, a friendship is born, and the next several Thursdays find them meeting one another.  Before long, they are deepy in love with one another; however, such love cannot be?  Or can it?  Can these two people, who are both already married to another, have any sort of future together?  Those are the questions that will play out in this film.

By today's standards, Brief Encounter is very outdated...even laughable. In our "just have an affair, just get divorced" society, it seems odd that these people, supposedly in love, would agonize so much.  If viewed through the lens of the moral climate then, though, this film is quite beautiful and responsible.  The filming is very good(especially as I have a huge fascination with trains and train stations), and the classical Rachmaninoff score is lovely, but the film fell just a a bit short for me.  While I enjoyed it and really felt for the characters, I didn't really find it all that romantic...or passionate.  The film's trailer claimed it was "the most romantic film of all time," so perhaps my expectations were a bit too high.  At any rate, I didn't find it very romantic.  Perhaps, had it been more so, or if the chemistry between Howard and Johnson had been just a bit more, or perhaps if I had been more enamored of either lead, I would have given 4 stars. 

I think this film is certainly worth viewing, even if only to be transported back to a time when commitment and marriage meant something, when people took their vows seriously.  I believe the film is out on DVD and should be easy to track down; however, it's also available on Net Flix instant viewing which is how I watched it.

Happy viewing!!