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Why ''Brief Encounter'' is a top tearjerker

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Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, ...
Brief Encounter: Everett Collection

Why ”Brief Encounter” is a top tearjerker

What could be more of a heartstring tugger than a love that can never be? That’s the case in David Lean’s tale of two marrieds who randomly meet in the café of a train station and, due to an irresistible attraction, embark on a passionate affair, meeting once a week for over a month. The story is narrated in retrospect by a sentimental Laura (Celia Johnson) as she sits by the fire with her husband and imagines confessing all — once she and Alec (Trevor Howard) have said their final goodbyes.

KLEENEX MOMENT In their final days together, Alec knows Laura is slipping away. ”I shall love you always,” he promises, ”until the end of my life.” And we boohoo through every last word, knowing they are, indeed, among the last between them.