I finally saw Brokeback Mountain. I've read many reviews on the picture and found most of them to be positive. When viewing the film though I found myself focusing on things most reviewers seemed either not important enough to mention or too swept up in the main characters to even notice it.
Brokeback Mountain is an amazing movie. It's photography, acting, and spot on direction deserve all the praise it's getting. Some people accuse the hype as being more political than ascetic. While that can happen in the art community, and I use the term loosely when including Hollywood, I find the film would've have been praised just the same had the characters been straight.
The tale of Jack and Ennis is a complicated one, but one worth following. They meet herding sheep in scenic Wyoming and find themselves the only two people in the rugged paradise. Their affections one night quickly escalate from strong armed hesitation to driven passion. Ennis, being the more traditional and down to earth of the two, comes to an agreement with Jack that they cannot pursue their relationship as they may pay the ultimate price for it.
Both characters depart and try the "straight" life. Both get married and have kids, but both can't hide their desire for each other for long. They finally catch up and have secret rendevous at Brokeback Mountain on a semi-regular basis for years.
This is where I find a different tale than most of the reviews. While I felt sorry for Jack and Ennis never being able to live a happy life I actually felt real pity for the women and children they married and fathered. The wives and kids pay a terrible emotional price for the patriarch's lack of attention, faithfulness, and most importantly, love. They are ultimately living a lie just as much as Jack and Ennis. Even more tragic are the children who had no choice in the matter. It's harder to watch knowing that both Jack and Ennis seemed to be unloved children as well.
I love a good love story, such as Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Casablanca. All films show a sense of urgency in the characters feelings for each other. We know they're meant for one another and in another life they would experience a blissful relationship; however circumstances beyond their control keep that from happening. You'll find such similar themes in this film.
I wanted to at times scream at Jack and Ennis and berate them for not having the courage to go somewhere and at least try to live together, but I would be so arrogant for doing so. I've never felt scared to show my affections for any girlfriend, family, god, friends, etc. Would I have the courage to take the high road and risk everything to be with the one I love or would I take the easier method of hiding my feelings? What would you do?
A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, told me I was supporting homosexuality by going to see the movie and was appalled by me going to see it. Every time you buy a ticket for Brokeback Mountain a man losses his ass cherry, I guess. For all you straight men who won't go see it, because the thought of man loving offends your every being let me say this: Ann Hathaway and Michelle Williams both get topless in the film and it rules. Rules I tell you.
"The first thing you're likely to hear about Brokeback Mountain, the new film from Ang Lee, is that it's about gay cowboys. Truthfully, that's all the novelty it has to offer. Just the thought of screen hunks Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal making out is a point of sale or controversy, depending on your point of view. But once you get past the hook, what emerges is a much more traditional, but no less affecting, tragedy about two people who simply cannot have what they want." - David Thomas.