Film / Brief Encounter

A 1945 British film directed by David Lean, written by NoŽl Coward and starring Celia Johnson (who got a Best Actress nomination) and Trevor Howard.

Laura is a suburban housewife in a rather dull marriage; one day, while waiting in the refreshment room of a train station, a doctor called Alec helps her remove some grit from her eye. He is also married, but over time the two of them strike up a friendship, which blossoms into something more. But this being middle-class suburban Britain in the 1940s, they cannot possibly be together; Alec is called away for medical work in South Africa, and the two lovers are parted.

The story is told In Medias Res from Laura's point of view after the pair separate as she travels home


  • Anguished Declaration of Love: While reciprocated, they are both married and they both know it would only end badly.
  • Boy Meets Girl: Alec helps Laura remove from grit from her eye, but they don't introduce themselves until their second meeting later.
  • Caught in the Rain
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Laura and Alec don't get each other, but they both have partners they love.
  • Driven to Suicide: Laura goes to jump onto the train tracks when she ends her relationship with Alec but doesn't.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Alec and Laura separate at the end so the rest of the story is about their romance and how.
  • Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Averted. Laura and Alec are both married and know each other is their soul mate, but remain with their respective partners because it's the right thing to do.
  • Happily Married: Both Laura and Alec.
  • Held Gaze: Many.
  • In Medias Res: The story starts out near the end with Laura and Alec separating, and the rest is Laura recounting their time together.
  • Leitmotif: Rachmaninov's Second Piano concerto.
  • Moment Killer: Dolly Messiter is this trope personified—she interrupts Laura and Alec at the worst possible time.
  • Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date: Laura and Alec didn't intend for it to become romantic, but it eventually does.
  • Romantic False Lead: Laura and Alec decide that they are this for each other and go back to their respective partners.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: How Alec and Laura separate though nobody does any running.
  • You're Cute When You're Angry:
    Albert: "You look wonderful when you're angry... just like an avenging angel.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Both Laura and Alec.