AVClub: For all the romances the movies have given us, there are precious few that show two people gradually falling in love. Contemporary rom-coms generally engineer a movie-long feud that builds to a climactic smooch; Nicholas Sparks-style weepies go for insta-passion shorthand, the better to clear the way for whatever ludicrous tragedy its lovers have in store. And that makes sense, really, as the realistic alternative—with ardent feelings accumulating bit by bit over time, in a context devoid of manufactured conflict—seems like it would be too politely dull to endure. All the same, that perfectly describes Brief Encounter, David Lean’s 1945 masterpiece of British restraint and repression, which Criterion has at long last upgraded to a stand-alone Blu-ray title. (It had previously been available on Blu only as part of the David Lean Directs Noël Coward box set.) The experience of involuntarily embracing someone who threatens to destroy your life has never been more exquisitely realized, in all its glory and misery.