Brief Encounter Review

“… a rather pedestrian love story that was paraded as a thriller.”

I never try to hide my bias when writing reviews, and one rather controversial opinion I hold is that movies have gotten better over the years. I don’t hate all old movies right off the bat, but I do believe that if you are watching a movie that was made before the 60’s (an arbitrary cutoff point made for the purpose of this anecdote), it has a higher chance of being shit. I equate this to one simple fact: people were bored in the old times. They would go to the movie theatre and watch literally anything, and therefore movies could be about two people who met at a train station. Which brings me to Brief Encounter.

Brief Encounter is a movie from 1945, and it is one that I wasn’t a fan of. The movie is about an affair had by two married people who met at a train station, and that’s about it. Brief Encounter kind of encapsulates exactly what I find wrong with old movies: it is slow and very low-stakes. For instance, there are movies released today that are slow, but generally they have something interesting going on. It’s either that or the movie is exciting. Old movies, in this case Brief Encounter, struggle with that balance.

I had issues with the performances in Brief Encounter becasue it felt like a lot of the time they were intentionally hysterical. There wasn’t much subtlety in the movie in terms of performances, which fits with the time but once again highlights an issue I have with old movies. Its not that the performances were always bad, just that the reigning opinion I have on them is that they were over the top.

I didn’t hate everything about Brief Encounter however, there were a few things that I thought were impressive. For instance I loved the inner-monologue plot device as well as the ending of the film. And I really liked the idea of showing a scene, then spending the movie giving you context and then showing the scene again. This happened in Brief Encounter during the tea scene that we see at both the beginning and end of the movie, and it was very similar to another movie I had watched recently (Carol).

Overall I didn’t hate Brief Encounter, but the bad definitely outweighed the good in my eyes. I found the movie to be a rather pedestrian love story that was paraded as a thriller.

I give Brief Encounter a C

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