Brokeback Mountain (2005) Poster

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Should have won the Oscar (spoilers)
Ricky Roma9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The 2006 Best Picture Oscar was contested, primarily, by two 'issue' pictures – one dealing with race, the other dealing with homosexuality. But while one used a heavy-handed approach to deal with its subject, the other told its story with skill and restraint. The heavy-handed film won.

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.
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Masterpiece, in the top 10 Romances
Lewis Earnshaw21 February 2007
This is a great film without doubt, i am a 15 year old heterosexual male and i enjoyed this from start to finish. I do believe this film would have undoubtedly a greater rating if it wasn't for ignorant homophobic people. I think this film will change the perception of homosexuals with a lot of people who watch it. Love is love at the end of the day and this film shows it with great style. The love these men share seems to build up throughout the film, fighting out their misunderstanding of whats happening to them. This film brings a great twist to the romance genre, unlike most romance films which are plain simple original and end all the same way. All in all this film is 10/10 and gives all you romance critics a run for your money.
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Devastatingly beautiful and true, a must-see for all mankind
sunshowers15 November 2008
Jack and Ennis... two young ranch hands, used to hard living and going nowhere fast, take jobs tending sheep on Brokeback Mountain one summer. What results of their partnership is not something that either of them expected, but their fall into lust and then love changes the course of their lives irrevocably. Their story has the power to change your life too.

It's easy to label this film as "the gay cowboy movie." Though the fact of their sexuality is what drives the plot, creating obstacles and heartbreak throughout Jack and Ennis's lives, it is not the central theme here. To box this story up as a tearjerker about marginalized minorities is a frustrating oversimplification, and more importantly, it is a serious misapprehension of the sheer scope of this film.

No, this film is about love, longing, and bitter regret. It is a universal affirmation that no matter how hard it is, love is the only thing that life is worth living for. It is both a plea and a warning to those who may realize this truth too late. This is a film that absolutely shattered me, but I came out of it with the knowledge that the only way to live is to love fearlessly and without hesitation. Years later, I still count this as one of the greatest lessons I've ever learned.

How some people could completely miss the point of the story is something that really bothered me for a long time, until I watched it with a certain friend of mine. She is, to put it bluntly, childishly naive and had never known romantic love. When the movie ended, she remarked rather lightly, "Oh it's so sad that they couldn't be together because they were gay." So perhaps it's necessary to have some life experience as a context for this story... and no movie, no matter how amazing, can teach you what true love feels like (however, anyone who has ever been in love already knows the pain of heartbreak, even if their hearts have yet to be broken).

Ang Lee is an artist, a maestro, a wizard in the way he creates this world for his characters. It is a world that is simultaneously intimate and desolately vast, and Lee doesn't miss a single detail. You don't just see the landscape, you feel the wind howling through your bones. This is all the more remarkable considering how foreign the ranch life in 1970's Wyoming must be to a man who grew up in a big city in Taiwan. Somehow he knows this place as if he'd lived there all along.

I suppose it helps that he had utter faith in his actors. I firmly believe that no two others could have done it - the chemistry between the two leads is electric. Jake Gyllenhaal is perfectly lovable as the boisterous yet sensitive Jack, buoyant and optimistic despite the many harsh blows that life has dealt him, and he deserves utmost praise. However, critics couldn't help but overlook him in the face of Heath Ledger's tour de force performance as Ennis Del Mar, a man whose emotions are so repressed that the weight of them is evident in every motion. The difference between the two performances is that Ledger's Ennis becomes a real person. He so completely submerges himself in the role that you no longer see Heath Ledger acting as Ennis, but Ennis come to life.

The supporting cast is no less impressive than the leads. Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway play the wives of Ennis and Jack respectively, whose own lives become lies through the deceit of their husbands. The story doesn't gloss over their anger and grief, and these very young actresses give performances that are far beyond their years. The actress who plays Jack's mother also stands out to me. In a pivotal scene near the end where so many questions are answered, and all these answers are conveyed between the lines, it's as if she and Ledger are speaking directly to your heart.

Finally, I highly recommend that you read the short story by Annie Proulx after seeing the film. You will be all the more impressed by how well Proulx's spare, honest prose was adapted to the big screen.
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The story of a love that is "unique yet universal", and uncommon in its place and time.
sarahmurray29 November 2006
Brokeback Mountain tells a story as old as time, but one that is new to the mainstream. It is heartbreaking; cinematically beautiful; subtle in its messages; and impossible to forget. It offers the possibility of changing minds about love, changing minds about the American west, and changing how people approach their own lives. There is no acting -- only being: the actors become the characters and will be immortalized forever as Jack and Ennis. This film became a classic the moment it hit the theaters, with its tale of two ranch hands and an unarticulated, yet layers-deep, relationship. Fear, violence and oppression are never blatantly or gratuitously offered to the audience, but that energy is always lurking below the surface, as the friendship unfolds over a course of 20 years, leaving marriages and children in its wake. The true casualty here is the viewer's emotions, which are taken on a battering ride up and down a mountainous journey toward realizing love.
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princess_juicy_lucy18 June 2006
I honestly didn't believe that a film could ever touch me the way that this did, ever since it first come out I wanted to see it, but I thought that it would be.. Just a gay cowboy movie but it is so much more. It made me laugh, cry, smile and gasp. I never once believed that it could be as good as everyone said it was but it was and more. I have watched it 4 times already and I still cry. It is about two men that set of into brokeback mountain herding sheep, at the start they barely talked but after a drunken night, Ennis decides to stay on camp rather than go back up with the sheep, he starts of sleeping outside but as the night gets cold he sleeps in the tent with Jack, the two men have a brief but intense sexual encounter which is the start to a long heartbreaking sexual and emotional relationship. Both men get married but after 4 years Jack gets in touch with Ennis and the pair meet up, their love is once again rekindled and the pair spend time together back up in Brokeback. I don't wish to spoil the ending for those of you have not yet watched it, but let me warn you that tissues should be at the ready This movie is one that I truly truly recommend I can't wait to see it again.
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Haunts me still
noonoosis14 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I couldn't get up the nerve to watch this movie and then I didn't want to watch it unless I was alone, no kids, no husband. Don't get that much alone time, but I was finally able to see it. All I can say is I put it off too long. I own it and will probably wear out the DVD. It haunts me still and I think it will for a long time to come. It deserves every award it won and the ones it didn't win, too. My heart still feels heavy and when I think of that last scene of the movie with Heath and that shirt hanging up....I get tears in my eyes. The acting in that movie was amazingly powerful. Will be in my top 5 favorite movies of all time...forever.
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Best love story ever!!!
kalaevans_3012623 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The only thing that this movie can ultimately be called is "The greatest love story of all time". Two men who are in love, but they won't say the word is fantastic. Ennis the one who keeps his emotions bottles up falls in love with the talker Jack on Brokeback Mountain. Years later the men reunite and their passion is just as strong as it was years ago on the mountain. They meet up about 3-4 times a year in the mountains. Their love tortures both of them. How come they just can't end the relationship? Because they both have found true love in each other. Jack, frustrated with Ennis, sees other men, but ultimately he knows he's in love with Ennis and still miserable without him. Which makes him even more frustrated knowing that he can't "quit" Ennis. Ennis just can't speak what he's feeling to anyone. Though he is more open to Jack than anyone else, the fact that Jack is a man forbids Ennis to tell him how he really feels. Which tears Jack apart inside. Ennis didn't realize how he felt about Jack until his death. When he finds the shirts in the closet, that is when he realized just how much Jack loved him, and how much he loved Jack, but it was too late. What really gets to me about the movie is that Ennis could've had a life with Jack and he chose not to. And after Jack's death, he has to live with regret and guilt. The movie has made me redefine the word love and re-evaluate my life.
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The Heart Of The Matter
marcosaguado16 December 2005
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.
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This movie broke my heart.
aimeelee7615 October 2006
For all of those who are holding back from watching this movie because it is "gay" or has love scenes between two men...oh! This movie has nothing to do with sex...and to be honest, I don't feel that it has much to do with homosexuality. This is the most beautiful and profoundly sad love story I have ever come across, and the fact that it is a love between two men is beside the point. It's about a love between two people who cannot be together, but if human beings were better at being human, and if the world was a better place, they would have lived out their lives side by side. I was so, so moved. AMAZING!!!! A must see.
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A monumental film with heat-wrenching performances
annafahr28 May 2006
I know this is the umpteenth rave review to be posted about BBM, but I feel inexplicably compelled to express my gratitude to Ang Lee for creating such a masterful piece of cinematic brilliance. The film is undeniably one of the most touching and sensitive human portraits I have seen in a long time. The performances are transcendental, heart-wrenching, brilliant. The quiet moments in the film are the most heart-wrenching of all; the love shared between the two characters is expressed with a tenderness and tranquility that leaves viewers anguished by the reality of their situation. This film is undoubtedly one of my all-time favorites!
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Why did I wait for so long to see it?
diaghilev-19 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I don't know why! Well, I've finally managed to see Brokeback Montain this week and I couldn't sleep all night. I've had to watch it twice more and I feel like watching it every day. I had never read any comments here about this movie, so I can say I wasn't influenced by anybody – I actually didn't know what to expect. What can I say? It's amazing how my feelings are similar to those of most people here – I just can't get this story out of my head! I was probably a bit skeptical about the effectiveness of this film and its importance in the history of gay-themed pictures, but I've changed my mind completely. Now I do think it's probably one of the most interesting, fascinating and realistic stories about homosexual love ever told on screen. Ang Lee doesn't judge anyone in the story (and every character can be blamed or understood for something) and homosexuality is portrayed in one of its basic aspects: to feel love and desire for someone who is of the same sex. But I also agree with those who think it's not only about homosexuality. Actually this story involves many universal themes: love – of course, but also loneliness, failures, the crosses we have to bear in life, poverty. I feel like crying every time I think about Brokeback Mountain and, adding the great cinematography and the stunning acting from all the main players, I can definitely say it's one of my favorite movies – forever! I've always been melted by love stories (I should mention George Cukor's 'Camille' and Edmund Goulding's 'The Old Maid' among my favorite pictures) but no movie has ever exercised such a lasting impact on me, and I really feel changed after watching it (you know, I'm gay, so it's not about having prejudices against homosexual love). Here are some of my favorite scenes: -the violence and tenderness between Ennis and Jack when they have a fight just before leaving Brokeback Mountain for the first time; -their first kiss after four years – the most moving screen kiss I've ever seen; -their last quarrel, Ennis crying and recognizing the failures of his life but, most of all, the flashback showing Ennis hugging Jack and singing a sort of lullaby and Jack's face while he looks Ennis leaving with his horse – it broke my heart! -from this moment on, everything – Ennis's phone call to Jack's wife, visiting Jack's parents, until his last close up and his tearful promise to his lover.

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.
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a rite of passage for characters and a viewer
xdreamfly2 October 2006
"Words get in a way of communication", said Exupery in Little Prince. This is how I feel about the film: it is indescribable, it has to be felt. If you get to this review, you probably know what the film is about, but to feel it through is worth much more, so watch it and judge for yourself. We are taken through many different emotions: joy, longing, anger, confusion, despair, and regret are among many. And most people can relate to at least a few of those, no matter what age, gender, race, sex orientation, religion or political views they hold. Here is the impact the film had on me: interestingly, the first night I watched it (at home on DVD) I thought it was a well-made tragic story with superb acting, and so on, I did not cry, I went to sleep... Woke up next day unable to concentrate on anything else, as it was slowly sinking in deeper and deeper, to the core of my humanity. By the daytime I was devastated, replaying parts of it and thinking about my own life and only a handful moments of raw emotions (blissful and aching) that I experienced, emotions unmixed with its' "yang" of rationality and logic. Emotions that shake you and take you on a rite of passage, and after you are not the same again. The next night I got up at 2am and saw it again, this time crying over tragedies of human existence (imagine a story being told from Ennis's wife's point of view, or daughter, etc.); and thats the whole thing: it's not a good guys vs. bad guys type of film; If only life was that simple!.. This film became personal. And in fact, I am reluctant of recommending it to my husband, friends, and family, since I know that either negative comments or indifference on their part might shatter my image of THEM. Thank you, cast and crew for this rite of passage.
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Atticus taught Scout it's a sin ...
atbow20 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
... to kill a mockingbird.

All Jack ever did was sing his heart out for Ennis.

For us.

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.
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A jewel of a film.
dxmagique9 July 2006
I love this movie. Really love it. Haunting score, stunning cinematography, gripping performances, timeless tale--everything. People quibble about non-essentials. I'm female, middle-aged, hetero, and I defy you to tell me that the average straight guy is any more expressive than Ennis or any less needy than Jack. Or the average gal, either, straight or gay. Deeper than their sex, their sexuality, their religious, educational, economic or historic backgrounds, Jack and Ennis are two human beings living in the world as they find it--beautiful and indifferent at best, and as they find themselves--beautiful and flawed at best. Desire is desire. The desire for warmth, for connection, for any echo at all in the vastness of time and space, is shared by every human being ever to have lived. For me, the issue is not how repressed or thwarted Ennis and Jack are, but how persistently they turn toward the light, despite all impediment. Brokeback Mountain lyrically retells a story thousands of years old: loss and grief are unavoidable; love is where you find it.
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We do exist!
Step O'Rafferty3 July 2006
It took a while before I was able to see this movie as I live in a remote area in Australia and I only go to the city once a year. Apart from what I thought was great acting by all of the characters, the film really hit the spot with me because finally there is a film which portrays homosexual men who live in the bush. It's a good feeling to be acknowledged! I never got married myself, but during my life I have 'lost' a few partners who I loved very deeply. Just like Ennis the prospect of them being found out was just too overwhelming and they got married. One of my friends committed suicide because he was unable to cope with the denigration of being a known homosexual within a bigoted community.

The cinemas in the town nearest to me refused to screen Brokeback Mountain, I suppose they just didn't want to accept the fact that yes there are gay cowboys hidden amongst us.

So I'd like to thank everyone who was involved in getting that story out into the mainstream, it's going to make it just a little easier for the thousands of rural and outback men like myself to accept and feel proud to be who we are. And for our heterosexual brothers and mates to begin to accept us.
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Cinematic Splendour
prats_patra6 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Director Ang Lee takes care of every little detail in the movie. You notice that in the cloud arrangements and camera placements throughout the movie. When you go back to the scenes in the movie, the more you think about them, the more you realize the true meanings.

That said, here starts the real review---------- Entering the theater my expectations weren't that high and I thought that though it had got such good reviews it'll be one of those movies that will end up disappointing me. The story does unfold a little slowly but that really was essential to feel the emotions the characters are feeling. When they're up on the mountains you can really feel the loneliness and solitude in which Ennis and Jack are living in. Once they part ways the movie runs like a journey that one should definitely be a part of. Hours after you finish watching the movie, you can't help but think about the movie.

The actors have done a really good job portraying their roles. Each and every one of them whether its Randy Quaid or the female who plays Ennis's daughter. Obviously special references would go to Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Heath Ledger- It's like the character was created only for him to play it. He plays it so perfectly and flawlessly what you cannot imagine anyone else in his shoes.

Jake Gyllenhaal- His facial expressions!Sigh!!!!The really feel like making you cry sometimes and you feel the disappointment, anger and frustrations he maybe possibly feeling.

The movie gives you the liberty to think what you want of it and that's the problem with it because once you start thinking about it, you just can't stop.
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Two Men In Love at the Venice Film Festival
bethlambert1173 September 2005
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.
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Finally A Film Which Gets it Right
nycritic12 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
It was only time before a film about two men in love would get the treatment it gets in Ang Lee's BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, since up to now, films had either skirted the subject, reduced it to a peripheral, sanitized version of itself or given it the eye-candy treatment only meant at making a quick impression in the "Gay-Lesbian" category. The simple yet deceptive story of two people who meet, fall in love, but are unable to fulfill their love has been done over and over again from the male-female perspective (i. e. IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, BRIEF ENCOUNTER), but never involving two men, and never this brutally honest.

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.
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This *blew* me *away*...
yes_i_am8426 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
While the closing credits of "Brokeback Mountain" were scrolling down my TV screen yesterday night, what I was feeling was, most of all, the need to sit in front of my computer and share the emotions this movie had caused in me right away. I had to wait until the next morning to do it, but now that I'm here... I said it in the subject line, and I'll say it again: this blew me away, and as another reviewer has said, it is a movie very likely to make history.

Director Ang Lee and lead actors Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal take the best advantage of a meaningful and thoughtful script that appeals to the emotional intelligence of the viewer with very, very few over-the-top moments. It would have been so easy while dealing with such material! But in such hands, no way. And the result is this gem of a movie.

Ang Lee puts in this all the care and gentleness already displayed in the direction of "Sense and Sensibility", a movie that, at a first sight, bears very little resemblance of contents both to this one and to the "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"-like productions of the director. Yet Lee's trademark can be found in all of these, and his ability of picking good stories and directing them with the best level of emotional intensity is evident in the green landscapes of Wyoming as it is in Austen's England or in a half-fantasy, half-reality Far East.

Heath Ledger is stunning in the leading role of Ennis, and as much as I admire Gyllenhaal's performance as Jack, too, I pick him as the true king of this movie. His role is maybe the more demanding of the two, as his character is the one that is less eager to become aware of the attraction he feels for his friend, and more worried that someone might know about their relationship. His internal struggle bring the best acting moments of the movie, like the goodbye between the two men after the sheep herding season is over. "We might see each other again..." "Yes. Might be." One word about the ladies: they may not have the big screen time, but they are all amazing in their small but wonderfully written roles. Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams, Linda Cardellini, Kate Mara and Anna Faris add a lot to the already great mosaic of thoughts and feelings that this movie is.

Its dealing with homosexuality in a relatively explicit way has brought this movie to the spotlight, but it would be a tremendous and unjust simplification to reduce it to a story of two gay cowboys. In fact, it would be a simplification to reduce it to any stereotype at all. It is, most of all, a movie of subtly and intelligently conveyed feelings that I cannot recommend enough. Let it speak to your heart.
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Love, For What It Is
Benedict_Cumberbatch27 June 2006
"Brokeback Mountain" is a story of love, passion, sadness, hidden feelings, (self-) prejudice. It seems that everything that could be said about BBM already was, and I don't think I've got much to add myself. This is truly a milestone in film history, and I'm sure it's gonna be seen for ages. As a friend of mine said, BBM is, overall, A TALE OF MISSED LIVES. A Love That Will Never Grow Old indeed. It could never grow old because of Ennis' fear of accepting himself. More than an extraordinary cinematic experience (Ang Lee's sensitive direction, magnificent performances, amazing screenplay, beautiful cinematography and unforgettable music score), this is a life lesson. I'm extremely happy that BBM was made. Not only myself, actually, but millions of people. Thanks a lot Ang Lee, Annie Proulx, Larry McMurtry, Diana Ossana, Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger (I loved your small role in "Monster's Ball", but I had never thought you could do anything better than that), Michelle Williams (farewell to Dawson!), Anne Hathaway, Gustavo Santaolalla, Rodrigo Prieto, and all of the others involved. Tennessee Williams would be proud.

BBM didn't get the Oscar for Best Picture. And so what? 10 out of 10.

"It's nobody's business but ours".
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In Heaven, you can be yourself
faravaga14 June 2006
I just saw Brokeback Mountain last weekend, for the first time, on DVD; it's been several days, and now I'm here - and glad to see I'm not alone.

A Canadian friend exhorted me to see this in February; she also lent me the Annie Proulx story on which it's based. I was prepared for this movie to be very, very, VERY sad.

But 'sad' doesn't do it. This movie is truly devastating.

I've been crying for days; a blossom of evening sky, a guitar lick from the score, a flash of a pregnant image from the movie, and my whole frame convulses. - I don't do much Hollywood, or movies in general; never reviewed a movie before, like many on this site; but this is a *phenomenon*.

I don't think there are words to describe the effect this movie can have; mention of sleepless nights, inexplicable longings, addictive reactions, the spontaneous memory of an image causing a sudden tsunami of emotion: the experience is really beyond telling, reflected in the multitude of reviews. It's all happening to me: I'm glad to know I'm not alone.

There may be critical 'holes' in it, here or there; but they disappear in the overwhelming effect of the whole. Performances invisible; visually mesmerising; gracefully paced, and unerringly spare. Ennis'/Ledger's story is mythical in its depth and classical in its tragedy: to know, only when it's gone, how fulfilled your life was with something, and how empty it will be after.

Highest praise all round; the Academy was wrong. This one meteor-ed right into my top 10 films list; and it's by far the most affecting film I've ever seen. By all means see it, if you have the openness to cope with the subject matter; but be prepared to be undone. You will not leave Brokeback Mountain the same person you were coming to it.
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Faces of love
naillon-27 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This film doesn't just deal with the love of the two main characters for each other; it also deals with the love of family and friends. Starting in 1963, when homosexuality was never discussed, and ending in the early 1980s, at around the time AIDS was becoming a well-known disease, the topic of sexual orientation is rarely mentioned due to the stiflingly conservative, narrow-minded milieu in which the characters live. Even toward the end of the film, when homosexuality is accepted in many circles, the small towns in Wyoming and Texas are still, in many ways, stuck in 1963.

Heath Ledger was truly remarkable as Ennis Del Mar, a man who has never learned to show emotion - with the notable exception being anger. He is so locked within himself, afraid to ask for what he wants, afraid even to ask HIMSELF what he wants, that he merely exists; he only comes to life on Brokeback Mountain. Ledger is so good that I truly believed - and was thoroughly exasperated with - his character; he lives in immense fear of the truth being revealed (with some reason, given his memory of the time his father took him to see the battered corpse of an alleged gay man); he can't express love, kindness, or friendship; he can't imagine a world or a life outside the narrow, dusty confines of rural Wyoming.

Gyllenhaal, as Jack Twist, is the one with whom I sympathized. He knows what he wants, and whom he loves (though neither man uses the word "love" toward the other). He admits that he and his wife don't love each other, and he wants to live with Ennis, who refuses to entertain the thought. Unlike Ennis, who doesn't feel much emotion toward his daughters, Jack is very close to his own son. Jack is thwarted by Ennis' inability to communicate, and by the love he feels for Ennis that keeps him near Wyoming. Clearly, Jack would be far better off if he left Ennis and moved to a more liberal environment, but the viewer knows that, just as in real life, Jack will not leave.

The two actors do an amazing job aging approximately twenty years; I'm not speaking of the makeup, but of the body language. Ledger, towards the end of the film, moves with the stiff motions you would expect from a man who'd been a cowboy for his entire adult life. Gyllenhaal's motions are also slower, though his life has been one of greater comfort (thanks to his marriage to a rich woman).

This is a real triumph of film language. Kudos to all involved.
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Sensitive and Inhibited LOVE between two men
mervei6 March 2006
BBM is truly a sensitive movie. It makes sense with the general look on Ang Lee's face. i firstly could not figure out why Jack suddenly got intimate with Ennis by putting his arm around his body in the tent.Because until then the conversation between them did not seem to be that much warm. However, as the story unfolds itself, it made me believe that there is a very passionate love between them and especially at the union and the shirt scene were quite touching. It was a very sad ending and made me CRY! and think of how love can be that much strong just like the one in "Angels in America"

Finally, i must say that this film will not be forgotten not because it freely tells about two men's secret relationship in a world where most of the people say that is wrong, but because it reveals love in a much sensitive way than the other films where the love is between a man and a woman. congratulations to Ang Lee.
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The best movies touch your soul
ginal98718 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
2096th review that is really meant more to be an outlet for me... I was reluctant to see this film. I'm not gay. I'm not a man. I'm not religious. I have no problem with gay marriage or gay rights. I was however pretty sick of hearing from both the oh so intolerant and hypocritical right wing loudmouths about gay people and also rather sick of hearing from gay rights' people and having shows/movies about gay people shoved in my face, or so I felt. So in the midst of all this, this movie comes out and the brouhaha reaches a fever pitch, souring my mood. I was also reluctant to watch because I would like more movies to be about WOMEN. But here was a movie with two male leads, having a relationship where they basically hang a sign around their necks saying "no girls allowed." Did not make me eager to watch.

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.***
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Overwhelming and an absolute must see.
matt-20442 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
As many people have commented before about the need to talk about this film, I am sitting here, tears in my eyes not knowing how to explain how I feel.

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.
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