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It was a real ordeal to get into the screening. The anticipation was palpable. The film arrived surrounded by a plethora of innuendo. "A gay western" "Heath and Jake's hot scenes" As soon as the film started every imaginable preconception flew out of the auditorium. This is a remarkable, moving and powerful love story. The setting is that of a modern western "The Last Picture Show" comes to mind. Ang Lee's attention to detail verges on science fiction. You can actually smell the place. Extraordinary. I'm not going to reveal anything about the story - Gian Luigi Rondi a legendary Italian film critic, revealed the ending to a television audience, what was he thinking?! - The film will be enjoyed much more allowing the story to unfold without having passages underlined and attention drawn to this or that particular. I felt compelled to write this comment because I'm overwhelmed. It has changed my perception, I must confess, about certain aspect of same sex love because I didn't think of same sex when I was watching it, I saw two human beings (amazing performances by both actors)I have the feeling "Brokeback Mountain" will make history, deservedly so.
The feeling lingers. The images come back, not to haunt you but to reassure you. There is an element of hope within the melancholic sadness of this Ang Lee masterpiece. There hasn't been such a limpid definition of love since the world was still innocent. Limpid, yes, that's the word that comes to mind, remembering the shy lopsided smile of the extraordinary Heath Ledger. Who could possibly have predicted that Heath Ledger was such a giant, unquestionably destined to a legendary career. Well, Ang Lee I guess. Lee seems in total control of his canvas. Every frame is a moment, the silences are exquisite, the humans are as humans are and we're allowed to dive into their hearts without tricks without illusions. Raw, limpid, poetic and above all, true. I can't wait for the world to meet Jack and Ennis in this startling Ang Lee, Larry McMurtry universe.
What an extraordinary accomplishment! Ang Lee presents us with something we've known about but we've never seen. Profoundly honest, stunning to look at, superbly acted. I could go on with the superlatives because I feel lifted by the experience. You've all heard the ins and outs of the subject treated here. Well, forget it, the words used are used words and do not apply here. "Brokeback Mountain" introduce us to something utterly new, daring you and me to be indifferent. The film is about us, really. Love as an unexpected blow that makes you find and confront yourself. Jake Gylenhaal gives a performance that you'll never forget. Michelle Williams and Ann Hathaway are incredibly good but the film belongs to Heath Ledger. I'm not going to talk about revelations or Oscar buzz, I'm just going to let you know that what he does in this film is so courageously beautiful, so truthful and so transcendental that his Ennis del Mar is bound to become a point of reference not just for us but for generations to come.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The film was received by a long and heartfelt applause at the Venice Film Festival. I was kind of numb. Ang Lee, the magician, had dazzle his audience with another masterful trick. I'm not going to spoil the experience for you by telling you much about the film but as a way to share my own personal journey "Brokeback Mountain" inspired me to undertake, let me say that it's been one of the most unexpected emotional rides I've ever had in a movie theatre. A love story like no other, told without inhibitions, without cheap shots. With an honesty that is more unique than rare. Heath Ledger is, quite simply, extraordinary and Jake Gyllenhaal's commitment moved me and enthralled me. I can't wait to see it again.
I just saw this at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to a
packed house (with Ang Lee present for today's screening). And I have
to say, it absolutely transfixed me and was worth the watch. Out of 24
movies I screened at the TIFF this year, this was the only one I rated
a 10/10! Three things really stood out for me making this a stand-out
of a film:
1) HONESTY: Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal really pulled this off. I wasn't expecting performances so real and nuanced, and was warmly surprised. Kudos, also, to Mr. Lee for making such a poignant and refreshingly honest film!
2) STORY: Great story-telling. In fact you're not actually being *told* a story. The story unfolds and the viewer watches what happens pulling you in. What a great experience! In fact, I want to experience this story again -- I'm going to look for the short story.
3) NUMBING: In a thought-provoking kind of way. I left the theatre digesting the story even as I sat on the streetcar thinking about the characters. I cared for them, and wondered what could/might happen to them after the screen went black. My mind was playing out scenarios and in that sense, it was numbing, in a thought-provoking, emotionally heavy way.
This is powerful cinema and is definitely worth checking out. It's the best Ang Lee film I've seen to date (I've seen most, but not all of his feature films).
I'm 23, and I find it hard to write this review. I saw the film exactly one week ago today and not a moment has gone by when I don't ache. It finds me in the shower; it haunts me in bed; it has filled my mind and clings to my thoughts, and it won't let up. I try to lie to myself, to find some solace by saying that it's just a movie, but I know better. Jack and Ennis are alive, and they represent so many aching people, so many untold stories. There is no contrivance, no manufactured importance; there are no tricks. Brokeback Mountain tells, with painful honesty and frankness, the story of two men's lives and nothing more. Whether you are gay or straight, it doesn't hit close to home: it hits you. Brokeback Mountain is a place we all most desperately yearn to go. It's where we can be free. It feels funny to say that Brokeback Mountain is my favorite film of all time, because I think it almost an injustice to call it a film at all, or to critique its incredible technical sophistication. Somehow Brokeback Mountain transcends that. I could hear a thousand speeches celebrating diversity or read a hundred love stories and not be absolutely broken in just two hours as I was after this film. I've never felt waves of nausea come over me as I did sitting in that theater, my face contorted as I watched truth and honesty spill from the screen and onto moviegoers who had no idea what they were in for. I am usually the first to point out bias, so I know my words might be mistaken for favoritism or blind loyalty. They should not. This movie will change your existence. I find so many things in my life trivial now in the wake of this film---for me, watching it was truly like having a near-death experience. And am I better for it? Yes. Broken and undone, but better. For once in my life, I feel hope, and I've seen love.
I didn't believe for a moment that the film could live up to the hype, or to some of the comments posted here, some of them read like love letters to the film, to the director and the actors. Well, now, after seeing the film, I feel like writing a love letter myself. The film took over my senses and transported me. The tragedy that envelopes the lives of Ennis and Jack is caused by an ancestral ignorance that is part of our DNA and if you don't believe me read some of the hateful comments posted here alongside the love letters. That's the heart of the matter. After the summer in Brokeback Mountain, Ennis and Jack go their separate ways and Ennis hits a wall with his fists crying, trying to destroy his longing, self loathing, guilt, horror. Imagine in a world without ignorance and therefore without hatred, Ennis and Jack could have celebrated their love and attempt an honest life together. Imagine also if things were the other way and heterosexuals were the dark minority, imagine falling in love with a girl and having to keep it secret, never been able to tell or to show publicly your love for her. Men like Ennis, and there are many, have to curve their own emotions and conform, entering and developing unhappy marriages and why? Read some of the comments here and you'll understand why. There is one that condemns the movie and what the movie may do for his kid and his vision of cowboys without actually having seen the movie! That's the heart of the matter. I will go and see the film again tomorrow, if I can get tickets, I'm taking with me a group of people that hate the movie already without having seen it. I won a bet so they will have to. I'm taking them to diner later to talk. I intend to report the results if you let me. But for the time being let me tell you, "Brokeback Mountain" is an extraordinary film. Jake Gyllenhaal, Ann Hathaway and the magnificent Michelle Williams give superb performances but it's Heath Ledger's film. He gives us something that nobody could possibly have expected because what he gives us is not only, honest and moving and powerful but totally and utterly new.
I saw Brokeback Mountain at the Venice Film Festival (with Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hatheway, and Ang Lee in attendance)and it's been haunting me ever since. I had read Annie Proulx's short story in the "New Yorker" years ago and it haunted me as well. What is it about this story? It's a love story that starts out without love--and finishes with a love that never ends. Congratulations to the director and the entire cast, you did a great job. I wish you much success, although with the theme being so "delicate", it may have trouble finding a big audience in the U.S. The audience here in Europe, I can say, thought it was great.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Unable to wait any longer for the official December debut of Brokeback Mountain, I flew from Texas to the Toronto International Film Festival this past weekend specifically to see the Canadian premiere of the film. It was truly one of the top two movies I've ever seen in all my 36 years. I had read the short story by Annie Proulx twice prior to seeing the film. The movie unfolded exactly as I had pictured the events and characters in my mind. Larry McMurtry and the author did well to portray the harsh lives of two very poor young men who had nothing but the raw beauty of rural Wyoming and themselves to bring them comfort in an otherwise unforgiving time in their lives. I was seriously moved by this movie. You'll find that it will be forever etched in your mind as it tends to haunt you afterward with a bittersweet yearning for that impossible, unfinished love the two men shared. If you have a chance to read the book, do. It will explain some of the scenes in the film that otherwise don't make sense. Seriously - this film will live with you for a long, long time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was lucky to get a ticket to the second screening of Brokeback
Mountain at the Toronto Int'l Film Fest in September, months before the
well-deserved hype kicked in. This is an absolutely beautiful movie.
From a gay man's perspective, the love story was both satisfying and
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal give equally moving and accomplished performances, although the story tends to focus more on Ledger's character. Heath is note perfect in this role. I didn't detect a false moment once from him. Regardless of whether or not he wins the Oscar, his performance in this movie will be watched and admired for years to come as a landmark in acting. I truly related to his character's internalized homophobia. Every gay man has been there before. In many ways, he represents the embodiment of shame and self-hate, a product of his American, western culture. The flashback showing his father take him as a boy to look at the dead body of some murdered gay man should be shown to every Christian fundamentalist out there who ever argued (and continue to argue) that homosexuality is a choice and that gay men and lesbians are nurtured by their environment. I've seen the movie three times now, and Heath brings tears to my eyes every time - he's so good.
Jake is also incredible, sweet, nuanced, loving. He had the difficult part of being essentially the "love interest" rather than the main character. By the end, he personifies the tragedy of hopes that never come to be - as captured perfectly by Lee with the cut between the flashback of Jake's longing and beautiful face next to Jake 20 years later worn down by the weight of dashed dreams, wondering what could have been. This is one of those movies where you find that you fully appreciate both performances of the two men, Heath and Jake, equally, but perhaps one before the other over time. I was first blown away by Heath's performance, which seemed to eclipse Jake's performance - but over time, I've learned to truly appreciate what Gyllenhaal did here and how utterly perfect his portrayal really is.
The other performances in this movie are all first-rate, especially Michelle Williams who is the portrait of vulnerability in this movie. She deserves all the accolades she's received for this performance. Anne Hathaway did well too with very little screen time, but knocked it out of the park with the phone call scene at the end (incidentally, the only scene her character even had in the original short story.)
The movie should become both an American love story classic, as well as a gay classic. Glad to have someone of Ang Lee's talent take on a project like this. What an amazing man he is!
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