My turn to weigh in on “Brokeback Mountain”.
Some of my friends loved it, some merely liked it. It’s been hyped a lot and certain people can be forgiven for not feeling it lived up to the hype.
This movie was so good on several levels. Others have commented on the acting, but I’d like to focus on everything else other than the acting (which was good). First of all, this is a hauntingly beautiful movie. The cinematography was amazing – beautiful mountains, streams, horses, and so on. It was visually stunning to look at (excepting the makeup problem James mentioned). This was bolstered by an amazing soundtrack, including originally scored music with a Western style that perfectly complemented the theme and look of the movie. After the credits began to roll, Willie Nelson’s voice began crooning “He Was a Friend of Mine,” a beautiful song that ends the movie perfectly. A better song could not have been selected for that spot.
The story is also beautiful. It was adapted from an award-winning short story by Annie Proulx, who I had never heard of before the movie, and turned into a screenplay by Larry McMurtry, widely known and respected (especially by manly-men) for writing “Lonesome Dove” and many Western novels. The story is quite deep, illustrating how sometimes love can be painful and true feelings can be difficult to put into words (for some, like Ennis Del Mar).
This movie satisfied me. One reason is that it has the potential to reach and touch a wide audience – hopefully, a straight audience who hasn’t been exposed to gay themes before, other than in Will & Grace and “Queer Eye”. It was, in my view, the first gay-themed movie I have seen that didn’t have such a low budget that it looked like it was filmed on a ten year old Sony Handycam, where the acting wasn’t hammy, overdone and/or half-done, and didn’t focus on first loves or sex. “The Broken Hearts Club” comes close, but “Brokeback Mountain” is a better film.
“Brokeback” presents to mainstream America two gay men who aren’t feminine, who aren’t obsessed with sex and drugs, and who simply want to live their lives together. The concept is simple, and the movie presents that simple concept while illustrating how complicated that often is for gay men. It illustrates also how easy it is for gay men to slip into the role of a heterosexual; getting married and having children, yet still finding themselves unfulfilled and knowing they aren’t being true to themselves. For me, this is something that the religious right needs to see in order to help them understand that silly issue of “choice.”
Unfortunately, some people will never consider seeing it, based simply on the theme, and that’s just sad.
Current mood: Contemplative
Current music: “I Don’t Want To Say Goodbye” – Teddy Thompson