Brief Encounter Review

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Middle-class housewife Laura (Celia Johnson) meets Dr Alec Harvey (Trevor Howard) when she gets grit in the eye at the railway buffet, who skillfully removes the dirt in question only to fill her heart with longing and hope. Gradually they fall in love which culminated in little more than a kiss, though they know that their love, in a middle-class England of strict sensibilities, is impossible.


Skillfully set to Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto, this account of a passionate yet unconsummated relationship between a married woman and a married doctor created a great impression both here and abroad.

Its value lies above all in its realistic description of provincial, middle class English life: the couple's cluttered suburban home; Saturday shopping in the small town; the tea room; the lock-keeper's home; and, especially, the railway buffet that's the centre of the affair. Under her silly hat, Celia Johnson is undeniably moving.

Beautifully monochrome rendering of a love that cannot be.