Brokeback Mountain (2005)
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Brokeback Mountain is always going to be derisively referred to as 'that gay cowboy movie' by the people who are predisposed towards disliking it, but even though people aren't used to male homosexuality being portrayed on the big screen in a non-comic way, it's really not a very revolutionary film - repressed love has been dealt with many times in cinema. But because it's two cowboys, the supposed embodiment of everything that is masculine, that are engaged in a passionate relationship, it takes on a novelty value and possesses a shock factor for those people who have been living under a rock and haven't realised that men have been bumming each other since the dawn of man. But thankfully the more worldly wise can just ignore the novelty and the supposed shock and enjoy a very good film.
The opening part of the film is a tad slow (but not excessively so) and sees Ennis (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) working on Brokeback Mountain, looking after a farmer's livestock. There are no overt signs of their relationship developing into something more than it is, but all the time there are little hints. There are the sidelong glances; the look Ennis gives as he looks up at the mountain, perhaps contemplating his colleague; and the small smiles of satisfaction Ennis gives when Jack horses about. But rather than develop slowly over time, things explode one night in their tent. The sex scene that follows isn't loving or tender, it's violent. It's maybe years of frustration and repression being released. But the morning after, quite understandably, is awkward, and Ennis rides off to think about what happened. One of the first things he sees is a sheep that has been ripped apart by a coyote. The visual encapsulates his situation. All the time he's been a sheep he doesn't stand out but now his true nature has been revealed and violent repercussions are a definite possibility. (And later Ennis tells the story of how his dad showed him the dead body of a gay man when he was a kid. The man was beaten and then had his penis ripped off.)
When Ennis and Jack next talk, Ennis declares that he's not queer (Jack says he isn't either). And they're both right. Calling someone queer is a way of saying someone's less of a man and less of a human being because they're attracted to their own sex. Such an assertion is ridiculous, but unfortunately a lot of people still think that way either out of ignorance or insecurity as regards their own sexuality. But Ennis and Jack, whatever their sexual orientation, are just men.
And after the two finish on Brokeback Mountain they return to their lives. For Ennis this means getting married (Jack gets married also). But although both have a crack at leading 'normal' lives they can't change how they feel and meet again. And the scene where they're reunited is a powerful one. The two guys meet outside Ennis' place, but seeing as they're out in the open, neither knows how to respond. But when they retreat to a corner where they think no one can see, they're watched by Ennis' wife. For them it's a moment of joy, but for her it's devastating her world is shattered. And it's to the film's credit that it treats Ennis' wife so evenly. She doesn't become a bitter, vindictive woman, but at the same time she doesn't become a victim. The film never takes the easy way out.
But eventually the marriage deteriorates to the point that the couple get divorced (by the end Ennis only sleeps with his wife to procreate). And after that you have an excellent scene where the estranged family have Thanksgiving dinner. It's so awkward because Ennis' ex has a new husband. Everything is bubbling under the surface. And sure enough, in the kitchen, Ennis' ex admits that she knows about his homosexuality and a scuffle ensues.
But Jack has his own domestic hell to deal with, too. His father-in-law shows him no respect and interrupts their dinner to put a football game on the television for Jack's son to watch. "We don't eat with our eyes," he says. "You want your son to grow up to be a man, don't you?" But Jack asserts himself and shows the stupid old geezer who the real man of the house is.
However, as much as the two guys would rather be with each other than their loathsome relatives, they have to make do with monthly 'fishing' trips. Only here do they experience genuine contentment. But eventually even these meetings sour. They just aren't enough. And thusly the relationship between Ennis and Jack eventually falls apart.
One of the film's final sequences sees Ennis, after Jack's death (and possible murder), visit Jack's parents. They're a wonderful bunch of scenes, which pick at all the different character's emotions. Mr Twist takes a couple of jabs at Ennis, hinting that Jack had a new 'friend' in a spiteful bid to hurt his guest, while Mrs Twist compassionately lets Ennis take a look around Jack's room. There Ennis finds a couple of shirts which he secretly hugs to his chest, and when he returns downstairs Mrs Twist gives him a bag to keep them in. It's a small act of tolerance and understanding, but one that means a lot for Ennis and the viewer.
Of course, the dynamic of male love is different than male-female love only in genitalia. Jack and Ennis' first encounter while waiting for work, their isolation leading to each other's arms, is the stuff of every restrained romantic drama. The mechanism of two men falling in love here develops along the lines of homo-masculinity dictating patterns of behavior which both Jack and Ennis obey whether they know it or not. It comes to me as no surprise when, following their first sexual encounter (brutally executed with undertones of sadomasochism but true to the style of love involving alpha males), they revert to "not being queers" but cowboys who excuse "what happened" to liquor and "manly needs". Which of course verbalizes society's impositions of men having to be "men."
Of course, things take a different turn and the heart wants what it wants. Once their work is done, Jack tries to keep their acquaintance alive but Ennis is so intensely closed and closeted to any possibility of emotions that he looks like he may implode at any moment and only once does he actually scream into his hat, bent over, as Jack drives away. The sound is a terrible, heart-rending puke of indescribable pain.
What follows is a series of brief encounters that become more intense as the years go by, but at the same time destroys two marriages and consumes then to the end. Love is an uncontrollable emotion, and when two people who belong together despite their gender cannot fulfill their dreams it's only a matter of time when things reach a head. Again, the constraints of time and space interfere: Ennis cannot see a life outside what he knows, again more a product of the trauma of seeing something horrible as a child, and Jack, not having what he wants, has to take to meeting other men in sordid locations and re-create a semblance of an affair with a man who resembles Ennis. In presenting these situations as they are and not trying to pursue change in its characters, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN is the love story that transcends gender, space, time, and proves that love -- even when tragic -- is universal.
Even so, will straight people see the message behind the story? I believe straight women (and a few enlightened straight men) will be the ones drawn to view the movie over a majority of conservative idiots who still hold the idea of two men locked in intimacy as being repugnant and are ripping their feeble brains out over the quasi "gay agenda" that BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN is trying to "convert people to homoesexuality". Sometimes it takes a movie like this which dares to take the risk and tell an unforgettable story rife in visual and emotional power -- true poetry in motion.
All of the actors in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN are flawless, and all of them have roles that in another story might have been bland stereotypes of predictable natures. Jake Gyllenhaal is smoldering longing at the beginning but becomes a broken man who explodes in rage when he realizes that twenty years have gone down the drain. Heath Ledger goes one better: his painful speech, furtive eyes, and inward body language expresses an overwhelming set of emotions which state that he'd never be able to be happy with anyone, and his final scene holding Jack's shirt comes more as an apology to Jack than an added moment of schmaltz. Michelle Williams plays a typical housewife who is witnessing something she can't understand. Linda Cardellini, who comes quite late in the film, initially appears to be just a waitress, but is the person who gives Ennis an advice about love. Anne Hathaway's role as Jack Twist's wife is much more tricky: is she aware of his gayness or is she really all about business and having a perfect home? I get the feeling her character knows more than she expresses, and her turning progressively blonde is a manifestation of her choosing to look the other way and live a life of bitter complacency, best expressed in her telling speech about how "men don't dance with their wives." If she only knew.
What I experienced from this movie is well beyond the romantic storyline. Now, 3 months later, I am still in awe of this amazing work of film-making and storytelling. I am also happy to see that there are millions of others out there who have had the good fortune to have been transformed by this masterpiece. The movie has made me wonder about my own life and choices......this really has nothing to do with the "gay" issue, but rather, how I've chosen my career path, past relationships, what my future holds. Will I find myself at a point, like Ennis, where happiness has slipped by due to my own fears and caution? Am I doomed to a life of misery, just because I was afraid to take that one chance? Truth is, I'm terrified, absolutely TERRIFIED, that I may end up one day like Ennis at the end, looking out of that lonely window, trapped in a wasted life full of regrets, only because I missed out on my chance for happiness.
I've read some great reviews on this site, but I continue to be baffled by the level of ignorance of some of the reviews I've seen. I am not talking about the negative reviews...I can not expect everyone to like this movie. I'm talking about the reviews from people who have NOT even seen the movie.....I mean, what could you be possibly thinking to comment negatively on a movie you have not even seen, nor intend to see? I've read with great amusement those who have called this movie a "gay agenda", an attempt to "homosexualize" America, a travesty against the image of the "American cowboy". If you can just open up your feeble minds just one second to see that it is none of that at all.
This movie is based on a short story by a mature woman; adapted screenplay by a great American writer who wrote great westerns; and directed by a Chinese family man and master filmmaker. Exactly where do you see a "gay agenda" in there? What possible reason would any of these people have to "promote" homosexuality? Are you so out of touch with reality and paranoid that you would think that all the studios in Hollywood got together for a secret meeting one day, and decided that it was time to spread a gay agenda across the US and world, and that this was the movie to do it? And do you think that there were some marketing geniuses who created all the "hype" falsely, and therefore that is why there has been so much talk about the movie? I'm just frustrated with all the stupidity and sheer ignorance and intolerance that I have seen and read about this movie. It is a story, a great story, and an amazing act of STORYTELLING......that is all you need to know about it; no politics, no sacrilege, JUST A STORY, about two men, at this one time, in this one place. Can you understand that very simple premise?
I have a good friend who I used to consider "sensitive". She would cry when hearing a certain Mozart symphony, or be in tears when she saw a Botticelli painting for the first time. I mean, WTF, crying over music or a painting? I used to tease her about that, but instead of being embarrassed, she would look at me, really in pity,..."your loss".
It was later that I came to realize that there was really something wrong with me, not her. She had the capacity and "gift" to feel the power of such masterpieces, and because of that, her life is more enriched. While I appreciate the mastery of classical composers or artists, I just did not "get it".
That's how it goes with this movie, and I'm happy to say I "get it". There are those who "get it", and those who don't. And those who do will have an impossible time explaining why to those who don't. It's not really your fault that you may not get it...you just don't, no worries. But I think it's funny if you are frustrated or poke fun at those who do. Because, in essence, we're not the ones with the problem.
I feel my life and outlook have been made better, and I'm a better person, because of this one movie, a masterpiece. Can a movie really do that? Crazy stuff, huh? And if you have a problem with that, do you really think I care? It's your loss, you know? I have nothing to prove to you; it's not my job to convince you. For those who "get it", we're the lucky ones, and it'll be our little secret. For the rest of you, I hope you find the inspiration for your life in some other form, before it's way too late; or else, like Ennis, you may quickly find yourself metaphorically shuffling around all alone in an old trailer....forever doomed to wonder what could have been.
Wonderful, but at the moment I feel as if I'll never be able to ease the pain it has caused to me it's as if I didn't want to forget anything about it.
The movie hit me especially hard because of my personal experiences. I spent several years living in the West and had a relationship with another man, who has since died. Watching this movie brought back many of the emotions I thought were long buried.
I feel like grabbing my coworkers and talking them to death about this film, but I know they don't want to hear about it. I feel this driving need to keep talking about it - maybe if I keep talking about it I can get the ending to change.
If I had known how this film was going to affect me - I wouldn't have watched it. It's too late now - I can't get it out of my head. I don't think I've ever been affected this much by a movie.
Including the session I just arrived home from, I have seen Brokeback Mountain a total of 9 times. Not bad, considering it was only released in Australia on the 26th January. Everybody knows the story but for those who want to read my take on it: Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) meet while seeking employment. No words are spoken, only glances that are furtive and sneaky (Ennis) or brazen and inviting (Jack). They herd sheep on Brokeback Mountain and the glances between the men become more frequent and varying in the emotions that drive them. It is an absolute credit to the acting in this film that you can tell exactly what the actor is conveying without words. See if you can spot the sheepishness and embarrassment that fleets across Jack's face as he realizes Ennis is intently watching the mare's attempt to buck him off. It's there. See if you can spot the curiosity that grows with every look Ennis gives Jack. The boys herd sheep, they meet up for meals, they begin to drink a little.
And it amazes me that no reviewer has mentioned just how funny the first half hour of the movie is! Here's another one: see if you can spot the mischievous little glint that flashes across Ennis's eyes and mouth before he baits rodeo-rider Jack with the line "now my daddy, he was a fine roper. Didn't rodeo much though. He thought rodeo cowboys was all ****-ups". And Jack's indignation giving way to a little impromptu rodeo dance before crashing headlong into all their gear. And Ennis's wry observation "I think my dad was right". Wonderful, genre-appropriate humor. And then the drinking which leads to Ennis spending the night down at the campsite before the freezing temperatures force him into the pup-tent with Jack.
This starts the whole movie in motion. The boys sexual encounter is quite rough and violent, but something in Jack accepts this is the way Ennis is most comfortable expressing himself. Startling contrast to the tenderness of the following evening, when Jack is the one dominating the encounter. He whispers over and over to the clearly struggling Ennis "its alright, its alright" and pulls him into a protective embrace, kissing his hair, his face. The surrender and submission on Ennis's face is something we see rarely for the rest of the movie.
The boys separate and marry their women. But their lives are a sham and they know it. The two leads also beautifully convey - again without words - the fact that what they yearn for most is each other.
I could talk about this all day, but instead I'm going to cite a few of my favorite moments - the moments that (even after 9 viewings) still make me well-up: 1. The look that crosses Ennis's face as he walks to the window and sees Jack for the first time in 4 years, pulling up in his truck.
2. The unrestrained passion of their reunion. They embrace, there's a fire in their eyes, and Ennis takes his lover by the lapels of his vest and shoves him against the wall, knocking his hat off and landing the most intense, breathtaking and passionate kiss I have ever seen in watching 30 years of movies. Bogie and Bacall WISHED they had this kind of intensity and chemistry.
3. The 15 - 20 seconds of screen time it takes for you to watch Jack become a broken man. Upon hearing of Ennis's divorce, Jack drives from Texas to Wyoming to surprise him. He is full of life, whistling and smiling. And when he realizes Ennis's divorce doesn't change anything between them and they still can't be together, the sparkle literally disappears from his eyes, his posture sags slightly and his heart breaks. You see it all. I've heard it said: Jake Gyllenhaal has been robbed blind at the spate of recent award ceremonies. This scene and the ensuing scene of him driving away crying is among the finest acting in the film.
4. One final image: Ennis sitting at Jack's dining room table, eye-balling Mr Twist, who has just bitterly revealed (without explicitly stating) that he knows his son was gay and that Ennis was his lover. Ennis doesn't respond but he feels the hostility emanating. And then a gentle reassuring hand appears in shot on Ennis's shoulder, from Jack's mother, who also knows but accepts and understands and most importantly, supports.
Everybody has already said it but I have to say it again: the acting. Heath is completely brilliant, as is his bevy of supporting women, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway and Linda Cardellini. But as far as I'm concerned, this wouldn't have been the film it was without Jake Gyllenhaal. Jack is the heart and soul of this movie.
This is a film I am struggling to wean myself off. Its hard sitting through other movies now cause they all pale in comparison. Nothing has ever touched me like this. Its hard to imagine anything will ever again. I know you can't really give a film 15 out of 10 but there you have it. Brokeback got us good? You better believe it.
Folks, there's a social phenomenon going on here, plain and simple. Just about everybody with an open mind who sees this movie seems to get swept right away by it. Read the previous user reviews - a sense of grief, sleepless nights, lines of dialogue popping unexpectedly into the mind, the desire to revisit the movie again and again - and make no mistake: this movie has become an instant classic, and we're privileged to be bobbing up and down in the wake as it spreads across the world.
Brokeback Mountain is going last for a long time. In 50 years, writers will be hunting down the last surviving members of the cast and crew in an effort to squeeze some new detail out of them to add to all the other books that will have been written about it by then, and those of us still alive will be thinking, "I saw it when it first came out and, boy, it really messed me up for a while."
Different people have different ideas about this movie. That's how it should be. Great art is always ambiguous. People have been arguing for 400 years about why Hamlet procrastinated or about what the smile on the Mona Lisa's face really means. The funny thing about great art is, all the different interpretations put up against it seem to work pretty well, no matter how different they seem to be from our own view.
Brokeback Mountain is full of this ambiguity, and that's why it has affected so many of us, so much. No matter who we are, we've all felt some of Jack's hurt and Ennis's pain some time in our lives - and if we haven't yet, we know that one day we probably will.
In that great last scene, we are confronted with our most profound fear: that no matter how secure and good life feels right now, one day we may find ourselves totally alone and crippled by regret. You don't think so? Well, just wait until you lose someone you care about and you suddenly realise that no matter what you do, it's just too damn late now to tell that person how much they meant to you.
"Jack, I swear..."
Swear what, Ennis? That you didn't know how much he loved you? But you did. That you didn't mean it when you said, "It's because of you I'm like this." But you did. That if Jack were still alive, you'd stay with him forever and to hell with other people? Friend, it's just too late for that.
To see Ennis in his cruddy little trailer, devoid of hope and certain of only one thing - that the one person who ever loved him with passion is gone forever without knowing he was loved in return - well, it practically broke my heart. Yours too, I guess; that's why you're reading all these reviews. Sure, when it happens to us maybe, like Ennis, we can bury our face in some tangible piece of the past, like an old shirt, but we know eventually even that will lose its potency, and then we'll have nothing left but memories.
There are other movies that have dealt with rejected love and appalling loss, but surely few that have touched peoples' hearts with such power. The irony of it is that Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal seemed to be pretty average actors up until now. Who would have thought they had this in them? Same for all the costars. There's only one possibility - whether they realised it or not, they were all lifted and inspired by this story, just as we all were, and this impelled them to reach into their souls and produce the performance of a lifetime. Who knows, maybe none of them will ever be this good again - but then again, they don't really need to be, do they? Producing one masterpiece is enough for any life. Take a bow, all of you who were involved in making this fine, cathartic film. You did well.
So one day I'm in a video store and see 5 dvds for $20. The DVDs were pretty slim pickings but there was Brokeback Mountain. I thought what the hell. It's only 4 bucks.
When I think what I would have missed out on if I did not see this movie... Ang Lee has made wonderful movies but none of his other movies have ever struck such an emotional chord. The aching and longing the movie leaves one with is difficult to articulate. Being an obsessive personality, watching this movie might not be the healthiest thing as it has drawn me in so strongly, reality is removed, and my mind is in a fog.
As I watched, I forgot they were two men. What gender they were became irrelevant. Their relationship and intimacy was so natural.
The sweetest love scene I have ever seen, beautiful music starts, Jack is in the background in the tent, getting ready for bed, we see glimpses of skin, Ennis sits in front of the fireplace, glances over at the tent, looks at the fire, then slowly gets up and kind of slouches towards the tent, his hat in his hands, creating space between him and Jack. Jack touches his hand, "it's alright." Ennis' face, how to describe his expression, longing, vulnerability, need, a desire to touch and be touched, as the soft music reaches a crescendo. It's inescapably beautiful and so tender.
Heath Ledger is so unbelievably vulnerable and brings this contrast to Ennis. In one minute, threatening Jack and the next crying, a man lost. The little touches and mannerisms, always shoving his shirt into his pants...I, as so many others, was simply blown away by his performance and absolutely fell heartbreakingly in love with Ennis.
To not watch this movie is to miss a rare experience, to not feel something almost palpable. Ignore the hype, ignore the crap. See this movie because it speaks universally to the human experience. Ang Lee described it as "a love story" but it is more than that, so much more...
An unbelievably potent movie, an exceptional experience.
***modified to add, Heath Ledger, you will be sorely missed. I honestly cannot think of a character in a movie that has touched me so profoundly. A heartbreaking movie and a heartbreaking reality.***
All Jack ever did was sing his heart out for Ennis.
This film blasted onto my top-10-of-all-time list. The best stories are always the most basic, the most fundamental. They deal with issues like friendship, trust, courage, endurance. Unlike, say, Lord of the Rings, however, or even like To Kill a Mockingbird, Brokeback Mountain doesn't spell out a moral code in black and white: free people of the West vs. orcs and trolls; tolerance vs. bigotry. Everyone is fully human, with the capacity for joy and sorrow, hope and fear. Everyone tries. Everyone hurts.
Take a chance on this movie. Your heart will grow eight sizes that day.
The great thing about Brokeback Mountain for those who are uncomfortable with it's themes, the love story between Jack and Ennis is not rubbed in your face in any way. For me, I thought it was extremely touching and real, they had a very strong love for each other. I felt awful for Jack, probably because I can understand since this has happened to a couple of my friends, because he loved Ennis so much and wanted to make their relationship work, but Ennis kind of rejected that thought and just wanted to get back to his normal life. Only seeing Jack 4 or 5 times a year and then going back home to his wife and two girls and just acting like nothing ever happened.
The performances in this movie are terrific, all the actors gave it their best shot at becoming who their characters were. The pictures of Brokeback Mountain were just beautiful and relaxing to watch. The whole story is a wonderful one and I would highly recommend this film any day. I hope it does win an Oscar or two. :D
I'm a university professor and I tend to consider myself as a rather rational-intellectual and somewhat stoic person... but then came Brokeback Mountain which caught me off guard and has generated in me unforeseen emotion.
Brokeback Mountain is at once the most lyrical, powerful, inspirational, yet heart-wrenching film in a long time, without doubt one of the most important and greatest films of the last few decades. This is truly an exceptional achievement, a landmark film with an amazing story/script, outstanding and exceptional acting, masterful direction, unhurried and controlled pace, breathtaking cinematography, simple yet excellent and beautiful music, and most importantly, unprecedented emotional impact. Its treatment of human nature, loneliness, longing for love, self-repression, intolerance, is done with admirable subtlety and sensitivity. This story is simply universal. Images of this film and stirring emotions will haunt you for days and weeks. This is an extraordinary deeply moving film... simply unforgettable!
Brokeback Mountain is a rare work of art in which silence speaks louder than words. Eyes and smiles can be very eloquent. Sometimes words are not necessary and are simply obstacles to the truest expression. In a very important scene in total silence near the end of the film, Ennis is alone and no word is uttered. Yet, this is surely one the most powerful and probably one of the most unforgettable scenes in recent cinematic history for its meaning and emotional impact... love speaks louder than words. Ang Lee realizes the full power of image in his exploration of the most intimate human emotions. Avoiding facile and superficial stereotypes, the great author Annie Proulx and director Ang Lee have created truer-than-life characters and, thanks of course to the unforgettable and heartbreaking performances of Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, "Ennis and Jack" now live forever, they are now undeniably part of the American literary and cinematic culture. How many other films have accomplished this in recent years?
Brokeback Mountain will remain a milestone in cinematic history and is already considered a "reference". This film has been talked about all over the world and has attained unprecedented internationally acclaim - the "Brokeback phenomenon" has significantly crossed borders and, through the media and the Internet, has reached numerous foreign countries. Rarely did a film have such a strong impact on society, in the media, and with the general public. Brokeback Mountain has undeniably been the "Most Acclaimed and Honoured Film" of 2005 (and, as a matter of fact, of the last decade) and will of course be remembered as "THE" movie-event and most important film of 2005 despite the inexplicable absence of an Oscar for Best Picture to its already impressive crown.
It's sad to say, but the recent disgraceful Oscar scandal proved how "important" and "necessary" this film is, and how many boundaries there are still to be conquered. After receiving dozens of prestigious awards worldwide, Brokeback Mountain might have been too subtle, too true, simply "too good", for the LA-based Academy... yes, the more I think of it, the feelings expressed in BBM are probably much too sincere and too profound for the Hollywood peanut gallery who often seems to prefer car crashes, car chases, explosions, fire, violence, rape, theft, gun shots, murders, etc. In any case, the newly released DVD of Brokeback will stand as a permanent reminder of how great this film is and how unimportant, irrelevant and meaningless the Oscars and the Academy really are.
Countless people from all walks of life around the world will never forget Brokeback Mountain. This film is not pushing a specific moral, instead, it makes us think, it makes us feel, it makes us reflect on the true meaning and value of our lives.
If you haven't seen this film yet, get the DVD, enjoy this truly exceptional masterpiece, and "live the Brokeback Mountain experience"!
This film is bigger than life. It is bigger than the viewer. It is bigger even than the portrayal of Jack & Ennis' huge love for each other. It is definitely bigger than the ignorant and negative commentaries by some naysayers, and it hits you when and where you least expect it.
First, let me say, that I asked myself, where did these two young actors come from??!! I think I knew the Gyllenhaal name, but didn't have a clue as to the Ledger name and couldn't have put a face to either if asked. Well, I know them now! And I will never ever be the same because of their brave, dedicated and intimate portrayals of Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar. I've now heard other actors' names who were considered for these roles, and I can't even imagine any one of them pulling off the chemistry these two young men did.
Knowing I needed to see it again and then again, I purchased the DVD. I have watched it probably 15 times already, trying each time to pull it as close to me as I could, but, like Jack and Ennis, I simply don't ever get quite close enough to it, requiring me to watch it, and particular scenes in it, over and over like some strange obsession.
This story of pure and natural love leaped off the screen, grabbed hold of my heart and has refused to let go. It has been a month since I first saw it, and not a minute of each day goes by without my thinking about it. It didn't matter to me, somehow, that, in this movie, these two lovers were men. To me, it was just two people in love. The actors' abilities to show their characters' passion, connection to each other and intimacy just blew my doors off. I cried like I've never cried before. SOBBED during the last ½ hour. SOBBED again for an hour after it ended. SOBBED reading other viewer comments. SOBBED at the faintest memory of any one scene, and there are so many good ones, I couldn't begin to pick them out here. What on earth is it???!!!! I think I have finally decided that it must have been that the stars were aligned from Annie Proulx' raw and somewhat crass short story, to its publication in the New Yorker oh so many years ago, to Diana Ossana reading that New Yorker issue, to her and Larry McMurtry's screenplay and then placed into the caring hands of director, Ang Lee, cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, and then, finally, the casting of these two fine young actors in the lead roles. It all clicked like a fine wine or a classic work of art.
Jake Gyllenhaal is everything he needs to be and more for his perfect portrayal of optimistic, wide-eyed and loving Jack Twist. He really shows his bones in the scene where he drives all the way from Texas at the news of Ennis' divorce, only to find that nothing has changed. His metamorphosis from elation to devastation is pure perfection. My heart felt as though it had been ripped from my very center. And what well did Heath Ledger go to in order to bring beautiful, introverted and emotionally scarred Ennis del Mar to life? He is simply flawless right down to even the remotest of scenes, such as his obvious heavy-heartedness when coming down from the mountain, early, knowing his once in a lifetime love (because he believes it must) will end. Absolutely perfect! See this movie, and, if you "get it", welcome to the club
This is only the third review I have ever written for a film anywhere and am glad that there are hundreds if not thousands of others who are feeling the same way.
Foe some inexplicable reason I didn't see this at the cinema but at home and in some ways I am glad as I don't believe I would have coped driving home afterwards.
There is no need for the words 'I love you' to be said by either Jack or Ennis. The looks they give each other all the way through the film are heart wrenching to say the least and when Jack watches Ennis leave for what would become the last time fading to the flashback then back again - I had to stop the film to compose myself to be able to carry on watching.
Throughout the film you hope with all your heart that things will turn out OK, that if they can hold on then time will allow them to be together but knowing full well that things wouldn't be OK and that the ending was not going to be happy.
The two actors as has been stated countless time are indeed superb and their portrayal of Jack and Ennis are delivered with a mesmerising touch that defies belief.
The way Heath Ledger portrayed Ennis and his descent into himself is masterful. His ability to show the opposites of family duty against what and whom he really wants is amazing and Jake Gyllenhaal delivers a performance that grips you and shakes you to your core.
As an aside, the Academy has, I believe, made a grave error by not giving this film the Oscar for best picture. One that I think will take a long time for many to forgive.
This is a film that will stay with me for a long time if not forever. The score, the scenery, the acting are all outstanding and has a depth too rarely seen nowadays in films.
Thank you for bringing us a film that will stay in our hearts and minds for a very very long time.
PS I believe Ennis said 'Jack, I swear...' at the end because he was making a promise to Jack to eventually get his ashes scattered on Brokeback Mountain.
This did not strike me as a movie about gay cowboys. It seemed to me it was a movie about desperation, mistakes, love, regret, and loss that just happened to have two men in the romantic lead. It could just as easily have been about a man and woman in love, but not to the people they were married to. The point is that the actors, and though the women were good Heath and Jake made the movie, moved me so that I was involved in their relationship and pain outside of the fact that it was a gay relationship. Both of these young men presented roles that were amazing in their depth and believability.
I think this is one of the saddest movies I have ever seen, in that no one won, no one got what they wanted, needed, or deserved out of life. I recommend this movie to anyone who can watch it with an open heart and not with preconceived ideas. I have read comments here about the Conservative Christian response to this movie. I am one of those conservative Christians. I was not disgusted by the men in the movie, but very definitely moved by their love and loss.