Brief Encounter

Brief Encounter ★★★★★

Oft interpreted as an exploration of the era's sexual repressions, but this carries the implication that if only this took place in modern times, they could be together. But it's not, and they still wouldn't be, as this is not just an exploration of mid-19th century British society's trappings and limitations, but an exploration of the boxes that we put ourselves in due to our desire for commitments, stability, and love. Laura is not trapped because British society traps her, she is trapped because she's already in love: she does love her husband, she loves her children, she loves her life, but the long-term commitments of marriage necessitates the death of the butterflies, the infatuations, and the vicissitudes of new love. I doubt Laura would have left her husband and children had she the option.

Brief Encounter could've taken the easy way out - make the husband boorish and entirely inattentive (he's not - he might like his Crosswords a bit much, but tell me that ending scene isn't filled with love), and make this an easy choice for her. But the writing is much too smart and insightful for that. Lovely film.