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.***