Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Some people think I’m crazy when I tell them this is one of my faves because it’s older than David Beckham and for a film that is old. And it’s in black and white and has classical music instead of pop and everybody talks in funny accents. But you no what that doesn’t matter it’s a story that could of happened then, happens now all the time and probably happened sentries ago too.
That’s because its about the birds and the bees or what the birds and the bees get us poor humans to do. Love some people call it but the short time it happens in in most films its more like fancying someone and having a bit of sex to be going on with. In Brief Encounter they never actually get it on as they say because it was made in 1942 and even though real people probably did have it off with people they’d just met the film censors didn’t want you to think that.
There’s this housewife Celia Johnson plays, she’s ever so posh and not the least bit sexy you’d think and she has this cosy life with her husband and two kids and the highlight of her week is getting the train to a bigger town to do some shopping. One day at the station she gets a bit of coal dust in her eye and this handsome doctor Trevor Howard gets it out with the corner of his hankie. This would never happen now because trains don’t have coal as fuel and blokes don’t have hankies in their pockets (and if they do, Gawd knows what they’ve been up to with them!) but like I say you just have to forget that kind of detail.
So Celia thinks he’s a bit of all right even though to you and me he might look like your uncle or grandpa or something and he thinks she’s lovely and they start meeting every week and doing simple things like going to the pictures. One thing I will say in the bloke’s defence is that although we always assume they’re just after one thing they sometimes really do fall for you and if the other is available obviously they’re not going to say no are they?
And so they go boating on a lake and he falls in and while they’re sitting in a hut getting warm and dry no he doesn’t try it on he tells her he’s fallen in love with her. It makes me want to cry every time and she’s very upset with herself because it’s not what people like her are supposed to do and she tries to stop seeing him but can’t bring herself to. Eventually they end up at this flat he’s got the keys to because it belongs to his friend a really posh gent and they’re alone together and you’re thinking this might be it the politest bonk in history but the friend turns up so she has to leg it down the fire escape or something.
Now the doc is leaving for a new life in South Africa which really gets them out of the situation although it kills them too (not litrally) and she’s back at home with her husband who’s a nice old guy and he doesn’t know anything about it or does he? Anyways, she loves him really just not passionately like she loves the doc and the husband loves her so much you can tell he’s prepared to pretend he doesn’t know and he says in this really posh voice “Whatever your dream was, it wasn’t a very happy one, was it?” or something like that. And then he goes “You’ve been a long way away. Thank you for coming back to me” and I rush out the room if there’s someone else there because it’s too heartbreaking.