Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Directed by Ang Lee
Starring Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway
A tragic love story about two people who can only steal precious moments with each other while leading ordinary lives, married with children. The major difference in this tale of illicit love is that the two people are both men.
The first thing that hit me on seeing the two principals was that it was obvious who would start the relationship, Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a slut, his nonchalant slouch speaking volumes. Sure enough on a night of temperamental weather, he instigates the relationship with Ennis (Heath Ledger), a relationship that will dominate the rest of their lives.
Both men sign on to take care of a flock of sheep in some of the most photogenic landscapes Ive seen in an American film. Taking it in turns to play husband and wife, one caring after the sheep, the other ensuring there are enough provisions, cooking the food etc. Slowly but surely they are drawn together despite Enniss statement of I aint no queer. At the end of the season they both head their separate ways, Jack returning home to help his father, Ennis to join his betrothed.
Ennis marries and has children, seemingly happy with his lot in life until four years later when he receives a postcard from Jack, they meet and straight away the love they had resurfaces and they head off on a supposed fishing trip together.
From then on these trips take priority over everything else, wives, children, work until tragedy strikes, leaving one of them pretty much alone in the world having virtually lost everyone he cared about.
History tells us that a great many gay men and women hid their sexuality and led what we consider normal lives while often having relationships with the same sex outside of their marriages. Being gay has until recently had a stigma attached to it, indeed there are still professions that find it intolerable, where being openly gay could lead to serious physical abuse and/or ruination.
The sex scenes within the film are negligible, most passion shown through heavy kissing and hugging, the acting is excellent and its nice to see Anne Hathaway doing something different from the normal disposable fluffy roles shes known for.
What did I like, the scenery at Brokeback Mountain, absolutely stunning. The acting, convincing all round. The story, had more than a ring of truth to it.
What didnt I like, the music, sorry but I cant abide Country and Western music. Anne Hathaways blonde wig, right for the film period wise but butt ugly, also Jake Gyllenhaals moustache, all I could think of was The Village People when I saw it.
Would I recommend it? Hell Yeah, Im sure some gay people might not feel it goes far enough sexually but it should attract a good mainstream audience which an overtly sexual film wouldn't.
BBFC rated 15.