Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis (Heath Ledger) are two young men
who take a rather thankless job herding sheep through Wyoming during the summer
of 1963. The job requires them to be out in the wilderness making sure as many
sheep as possible make it through the summer without getting eaten by coyotes.
At the same time, they have to make sure they don't become victims of the elements
themselves. When two people are forced to depend on one another for survival,
a bond will form that few will understand without knowledge of the situation's
perils. Jack and Ennis form a bond that transcends simple friendship.
Starring: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal,
and Michelle Williams
One cold night, Ennis and Jack share
a tent and find themselves sharing each other as well. Despite Ennis' assertions
that he's "not queer", the
two make a pact that this is a one-time thing and, after the summer, their
relationship will not continue. And, for four years, they keep the pact. Ennis
marries Alma (Michelle Williams) and has two children. Jack meets and marries
Lureen (Anne Hathaway), a rodeo cowgirl, and has a son of his own. The two
refer to each other as "fishing buddies" if they manage to mention
each other to anyone at all.
Soon, however, Jack sends a postcard
to Ennis and the two take another trip to Brokeback Mountain, realizing that
neither has gotten the other out of his
system. The two men resume their relationship in secret, taking "fishing
trips" with increasing regularity. Jack wants Ennis to join him in buying
a ranch where the two could live together and not have to see each other so
infrequently but Ennis is haunted by the memory of something his father had
shown him as a boy: the sight of a dead man's body. The man was lynched for "shacking
up" with another man.
If you were being glib, Brokeback
Mountain could be referred to as a "gay
cowboy movie." What it truly is, however, is simply a love story about
two people who cannot be allow themselves to love each other without fear of
the consequences. The performances of Gyllenhaal and Ledger are paramount in
making the audience feel how the characters' ache for one another when they're
separated. Yes, they're gay. Yes, they're cowboys. First and foremost, though,
they're two human beings who, despite their attempts to do otherwise, need
each other desparately.
Director Ang Lee, who recovers his form after the relatively disappointing
Hulk, doesn't pound the viewer over the head with anything. We are allowed
to see how much Ennis and Jack mean to each other and how it tortures Ennis
in particular. Ledger's performance is worthy of the Oscar nomination talk
it's been receiving. Honestly, I'll be quite surprised if he doesn't win the
award as well.
make a big deal about the fact that the movie deals with gay characters and
that it does so in a matter-of-fact way in terms of their physical relationship.
Isn't it about time that this type of story is told on-screen
in such a way?
Brokeback Mountain isn't amazing because of its differences from
any other love story. The real eye-opener is how much it's the same
no matter the sexuality of the main characters. Love hurts no matter what.
its first weekend of release (playing in only five US theaters), this set
a record for the highest per-screen gross of any non-animated movie in
history. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)