Thursday, 18 March 2010

Brief Encounter

I have wanted to watch this classic for many years. The cover of the film encapsulates a lot about the film. It illustrates what to expect, the fact that it will have such beautiful and realistic dialogue (both for that period of time and arguably our own). Other films such as "The station agent" do a great job in proving you can judge a film by its cover and this was no exception.

We have all had either a romantic encounter or an affair of some sort. Some may not have enjoyed the excitement of such an affair, of those that say this, at least 50% of you are LYING!!! This film is structured flawlessly, from start to finish it manages to tell a story. It tells a story which is honest, brave, fair and remarkably poignant.

What I loved most about this film was the actress Celia Johnson. She is a very beautiful actress in a very safe and friendly way. By this I mean she isn't strikingly stunning or anything, she is a fairly normal looking woman, particularly for her time. But at certain moments in the film when she smiles, she has a really genuine beauty. It's attainable and very glamorous at the same time. When Alec Harvey teases her in the restaurant about killing a few patients in the morning, her face lights up with surprise which melts slowly into one of the most genuine smiles I have ever seen. It is precisely within its ability to make the deceit of an affair seem so honest, simple and unapologetic that the genius of this film lies.

The way Laura deals with the guilt of the affair is very true to life. In my own experience, women try to be the more practical of the two genders but ultimately fail to overcome the feeling of being alive and all the drama that comes hand-in-hand with such an affair.

The film tells the story in such an intelligent way that we can all relate it to our own experiences and, I would imagine, no matter what your position, you can't help but empathise with these characters. Without films as brilliant as this we would probably never have seen "Before sunrise & Before Sunset" and other romantic films that really grab your empathy for the characters and their situation. The film is so simple and yet so complicated. The locations used are both mundane and yet so exciting. The scene on the train after their final encounter is so similar to the scene at the end of Before Sunrise. When Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke sit on different trains playing the days events over in their head, we see a very similar look from Laura as she makes a very poignant summary of love by saying internally "Nothing lasts, neither happiness nor despair" This is one of Love's greatest revelations, it's what helps and hurts us inevitably in both the short and long term.

A fantastic love story that doesn't apologise for its honesty, but also doesn't fail at conveying its guilt and shame. A perfect depiction of the universal love affair within us all. Don't pass judgment, it could happen to you. I think this film just about makes my top ten based on its simplistic brilliance.