Brief Encounter, Part 9
Celia Johnson, writes Richard Dyer in his affectionate but clear-sighted account of Brief Encounter "is probably what most people remember of the film, along with trains and Rachmaninov." Johnson's performance as Laura, a woman torn between passion and domestic duty, is at the center of the narrative. Though it's a film made by men, it is the woman's voice we hear recounting the story of a small-town love affair and her renunciation of it. And it is Johnson who most subtly expresses what Dyer calls "the heartbreakingly touching awkwardness" of the film's emotions.
This emotional restraint, the sense of powerful feelings kept under wraps, is brilliantly described in Dyer's analysis; it is what gives Brief Encounter its peculiarly English feel. And it is also, as he explains, what makes the film speak so directly to a gay audience, for whom the subject --forbidden love in ordinary lives--has a special resonance.
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Albert and Myrtle Alec and Laura Alec leave Alec's amusement Andy Medhurst Arnot Robertson audience Beauman Beryl Boots Brief Encounter British cinema British Film Institute buffet C.A. Lejeune camera moves Celia Johnson close-up comfort concerto David Lean Dilys Powell discourse discussed Dolly Dolly's emotion English express feeling feminine angle fiction Flames of Passion Fred's crossword going grit guilt husband hysterical imagine Kardomah kind Laura and Alec Laura Jesson Laura's flashback Laura's narration looks lovely film lovers lunch Madeleine melodrama memory middle-class Noel Coward non-white nonetheless palm trees Penguin Film Review perception perhaps Piccadilly Incident play Princeton puts Rachmaninov recognises Roche Roger Manvell romance Ronald Neame scene screen script sense Seventh Veil shot sits speak specifically Stanley station Stephen Lynn's flat story suggest telling Fred things throughout the film Thursday tilting camera train home voice voice-over Wicked Lady woman women working-class characters