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Brief Encounter

(1945 b 85')

En: 6 Ed: 7

Based on Noel Coward's play, a married woman sees a married doctor once a week in a brief but deep romance.

At a railroad station Dr. Alec Harvey (Trevor Howard) leaves, and Laura Jesson (Celia Johnson) feels ill. She goes home to her two sons and husband Fred Jesson (Cyril Raymond). Laura cries and says she felt faint. She puts on music and thinks she can never tell her husband because she was happily married. Laura recalls her romance that changed that.

In the station Alec helps Laura by removing something from her eye. On another day he sits with her at a table for lunch. They both come there on Thursdays. Alec goes to the cinema with Laura. She asks about his wife. Alec says he is ambitious to improve preventive medicine. He asks to see her again on Thursday, and she agrees. On her way home Laura thinks about it and changes her mind. Fred tells her that their son was injured. She tells Fred that she met a doctor and went to the movies with him. When Fred is not upset, she laughs with relief.

The next week Alec is not there, and she is alone. He arrives just in time to catch his train, but they are glad to see each other briefly. Next week they go in a rowboat. He gets wet, and she laughs. Alec says he is in love with her and asks if she feels the same. She does but says they should stop it. He kisses her. Laura feels happy and imagines traveling with Alec. At home Laura starts lying about her day. She calls Mary Norton (Marjorie Mars) and asks her to back up her lie. Next time Alec was worried she would not come. Mary appears, and Laura introduces her to Alec. He takes Laura in a car to the country. They embrace. Alec says he is coming back later. Laura gets off her train and meets him in an apartment of his friend Stephen, who comes back early. Laura slips out, but Stephen finds her coat. She runs in the rain and calls Fred that she will be late. She walks around and waits to avoid Alec until the last train. At the station she tells him she cannot go on. He says he will always love her, and he understands the guilt. They arrange to meet, and he is planning to take a job in Johannesburg soon. On their last meeting they go to the country again. At the station a talkative friend of Laura appears, and Alec leaves to catch his train. Laura decides not to jump in front of a train. At home Fred says that her dream has not been happy, and he thanks her for coming back.

This realistic drama explores the emotional difficulties of indulging in an extramarital romance because the lies and guilt are such a contrast to the love and joy of the romance; the end of the romance is also painful.

Copyright © 2005 by Sanderson Beck

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