David Lean is mostly known for his big screen epics, ranging from genre to genre but still keeping their grandiosity. Well, here he tones it down quite a bit, opting instead for a personal-sized romance tale involving two married people. Brief Encounter is directed by the consummate Mr. Lean, and is known for incorporating Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 into the score.
The film is a decently done romantic tale; man and woman meet, both are married, they agree to see each other as friends, it develops into something more, etc. It goes into the typical ‘where do they go from there?’, but I won’t spoil anything. It’s told through a narration, which seemed a superfluous choice, but hey, to each his own. It’s really thanks to David Lean’s impeccable direction and construction of the film that this becomes a very watchable flick. There’s lots to do, and the film is rather short at under an hour and a half, but rarely feels so short, in a good way.
This is a romance drama that works because it doesn’t fall into the trap of melodrama, though some moments may seem it at first glance. Where I had a problem with, and I brought it up before, was the narration; for a film based on a stage play, and thus should know a thing or two about conveying thoughts and feelings through dialogue, the film relies too heavily on the narration like a crutch. Some may find it useful, but I personally found it intrusive. Still, it’s a minor foible in an otherwise exemplary production. You could do a whole lot worse than this one; give it a shot, if you ever get the chance.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10