By Corrie Glanville
Brief Encounter (1945)
I had the opportunity to see Kneehigh Theatre’s captivating stage adaptation at the American Conservatory Theater a few years ago, which incorporated clips from David Lean’s mournful 1945 film. Written by Noel Coward and based on his own play, Stillife, a shabby railway station café becomes the backdrop of a casual encounter between Laura Jesson and Alec Harvey. Though Laura is trapped in a stifling marriage, they fall helplessly in love, knowing that any future is impossible. With Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson.
Baghdad Café (1987)
This delightful 1980s gem is set in a remote truck stop café and motel in the Mohave Desert owned by the financially struggling Brenda. When a German woman, recently abandoned by her husband, arrives out of nowhere, Brenda, also separated, has her suspicions, but they develop an unlikely alliance as the café is transformed into a flourishing oasis.
The Girl in the Café (2005)
Two of my very favorite actors, Bill Nighy and Kelly McDonald, play a pair of May-December lovers in this unusually intelligent romance. Lawrence (Nighy) is an older, lonely and much overworked British civil servant who falls hard for McDonald’s Gina, a haunted young woman he meets by chance in a café. On a whim, he asks her to attend the G8 Summit in Reykjavik with him. But their nascent relationship is tested by Lawrence’s professional obligations and her unwavering convictions.