View your saved tickets

DCA Archive

Brief Encounter

David Lean

Brief Encounter is one of those truly great films that it is easy to take for granted. This story of two married, middle-class English suburbanites who meet by chance, fall in love, but stoically refuse to act on their baser impulses, is often called the most romantic film ever made, and the film which best exemplifies the ‘stiff upper lip’. But the repressed emotions it is famous for simmer just below the surface, and the female protagonist’s voiceover overflows with dark, violent thoughts. Indeed, in her head she is as guilty as Emma Bovary or Anna Karenina, and she’s every bit as passionate.

"...often called the most romantic film ever made."

Director David Lean’s handling of the material could not be better, nor could the central performances of Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. The flashback structure is cut together like an absolute dream and it somehow turns suburban London into something out of a film noir. Absolute perfection!