Blog Master G

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Brokeback Mountain

Monday, February 6th, 2006 · 1 Comment

brokeback.jpg Thursday night it was Syriana and Friday night it was Brokeback Mountain. I’m quickly making my way through my list of as-of-yet unseen Oscar-nominated films. Sarah joined me and Jen Friday night; she enjoyed Brokeback so much her first time seeing it that she was eager to see it again. Brokeback Mountain is one of those rare movies that actually lives up to its hype.

Naturally, whenever a film has as much hype as this one does, it’s best to keep your expectations in check since you don’t want to be let down. So I tried to do that. Friends like Sarah spoke so highly of the movie, it was hard to fight the urge to get too excited about it. It was a packed theater in Wilton Friday night, but we arrived early for the good seats with plenty of legroom.

The cinematography was gorgeous, the acting superb, and the characters and their story masterfully executed. It was a love story in the greatest sense — two people battling the odds and going against everything their tough, cowboy culture of the 1960s had taught them, in order to keep their love alive. The movie chronicles the 20-year relationship of Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal), who form a bond during the summer of 1963 while herding sheep together at Brokeback Mountain in Wyoming (though the movie was actually filmed in Canada). Their relationship must remain a secret, and they each go on to marry and have children, but they keep their love alive with regular fishing trips.

Brokeback Mountain does a stellar job conveying the love shared between the characters. Anyone who thinks that being gay is a choice people somehow make (“I think I’ll be gay today because being gay is just so cool”) should really see this movie, as should any bigots who are afraid of anything besides what they already know in their own lives. The movie is sad, of course, because Ennis and Jack ultimately cannot be together as they would like to be; Ennis was shown at a young age what happens to gay cowboys. What’s even sadder is that intolerance was alive and well in real-life Wyoming as recently as 7 years ago (and no doubt in many places today), when Matthew Shepard was beaten to death for no reason but being himself.

The movie succeeded at not giving in to stereotypes of tough cowboys or effeminate gay men. It struck an excellent balance between just tough enough — Ennis defends his family by kicking the asses of two guys in one scene — and just sensitive enough — the playful relationship of Ennis and Jack brings a smile to the face. As Jen put it, the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously.

It’s hard to write a review about such a powerful movie, so I have to stop now. But I will say that despite the fun being poked at the movie (see Boondocks January 22, 2006 strip, which potrays how “brokeback” has become an adjective), it is a movie that will hopefully help to change the mindset of our culture.

Call me an optimist, but I like to think that one day, our children will look back at this era and at generations before us and exclaim in shock, “Was there really a time in America when you couldn’t openly be gay or even marry the person you love?!”

Tags: movies

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Kim // Feb 7, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    Nice synopsis – I saw it in early January at the Spectrum in Albany; also in a packed theatre. The scenery is stunning – interesting how it has sparked an increase in tourist inquiries even though Wyoming officials patiently point out that the movie was filmed in Canada.

    P.S. I pointed to your blog in an article I wrote for