This is the story, told in the first-person, of Laura Jesson, a country housewife. Bored with the security of her husband and family, Laura goes into town once a week for shopping and a matinee picture. On one of her weekly excursions, she accidentally meets Dr. Alec Harvey in the waiting room of the railroad station. Both are early middle-aged, married, and have two children each.

Enjoying one another's company, they continue to meet weekly for coffee in the waiting room of the station while they await their respective trains home. They are soon dismayed to find their innocent and casual relationship quickly developing into love. For a while, they continue to meet furtively in cafes and cinemas, constantly fearing chance meetings with friends. After several meetings, they go to a room belonging to a friend of the doctor's, but their meeting is interrupted by the friend's unexpected return. Realizing that a future together is impossible and wishing not to hurt their families, they agree to part. The doctor is to leave for Africa.
During their final meeting in the train station, while they sit waiting for Alee's train, Myrtle Baggot, a talkative friend of Laura's ' joins them and is soon chattering away, totally oblivious to the couple's inner misery. As they realize that they have been robbed of the chance for a final goodbye, Alec's train arrives. With Myrtle still chattering away, Alec departs with a last look at Laura. As the train is heard pulling away, Laura suddenly dashes out onto the platform. The lights of the passing train flash across her face as she conquers her impulse to commit suicide; she returns home to her family.
Brief Encounter (1945)