David Lean / Cert PG / 86 mins / UK (1945)

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"One of the most vivid, impassioned and painfully believable love stories ever committed to celluloid." ★★★★★ Tom Huddleston, Time Out

After a chance meeting on a train platform, married doctor (Trevor Howard) and suburban housewife (Celia Johnson) begin a muted but passionate, and ultimately doomed, love affair. With its fog-enshrouded setting, swooning Rachmaninoff score, and pair of remarkable performances (Johnson was nominated for an Oscar), this film, directed by David Lean and based on Noël Coward’s play Still Life, deftly explores the thrill, pain, and tenderness of an illicit romance, and it has influenced many a cinematic brief encounter since its release.

Author Zadie Smith shares a passion for this film, which was her father's favourite when it first came out.  She says:  "The film is really about the dream life of the English, those secret parts of us that are most important and to which we have least access... If you pass over the superficial culture shocks of 60 years passed (a lending library in Boots the chemist! a string quartet in a railway café!), it is as astute about the English character as it ever was."  There you go: supreme cultural insight + the most famous break-up scene in the history of cinema.  Enjoy!

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