Take a Drink: every time there is a sex scene.
Do a Shot: every time Jack and Ennis are caught in an embrace.
Take a Drink: every time you can’t understand what Ennis said.
Finish your Drink: if you cry.
By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –
It’s hard to talk about social issues without coming off cheesy, preachy, and/or all after-school special. Movies like Crash have good intentions of making a movie about racial issues, but that one goes from informative and heartfelt to preachy and standing on it’s soap box screaming it’s beliefs, trying to persuade, or even at times make you feel guilty, for nothing. Brokeback Mountain sidesteps all of that; it has so much heart and emotion that I was astonished. Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) are two cowboys who in 1963 work on a ranch for one summer and end up falling in love. The movie follows both their lives through about 20 years during which we see them go very different directions, but they still see each other every now and then. Every time it seems it’s harder for them to leave each other. It’s a beautiful love story that most romantic films only strive to achieve.
It’s beautifully shot and that is noticeable right off the bat. Rodrigo Prieto (Director of Photography) was able to capture the beauty and grandeur of the Wyoming landscape. Not only did he get Wyoming but Texas as well; the scenes where Gyllenhaal is in the rodeo were masterfully shot. I heard from multiple people that the film is boring and it’s too slow in the beginning, which is too bad because I found that the cinematography allowed me to enjoy the beauty of the film.
The acting was fantastic. Playing a gay cowboy could’ve been very easy to ham up, but Gyllenhaal and Ledger play very convincingly and I never felt their portrayals were cheesy or over-the-top. You can tell when they are on screen that they gave it everything they had in every scene. Anne Hathaway (as Lureen Newsome) and Michelle Williams (as Alma Del Mar) definitely pulled their weight in the film. Both women are not onscreen for very long but the scenes that they are in, they almost command all of your attention.
Many films that tackle social issues come and go, but few films will stand, or have stood, the test of time. It might be too soon to say that it has stood the test of time, but I believe that Brokeback Mountain will do just that. In the 60’s it was just coming around that being gay was even an option in most people’s minds, and it’s clear in the film that Ennis (Ledger) didn’t think about being gay until he forms a connection with Jack (Gyllenhall). It’s an important film in that it shows the struggles and hardships homosexuals had to go through and stands to remind all of us that there still is a long road ahead before there is complete acceptance. Unfortunately, it seems like our county keeps taking steps back in regards to racism and homophobia. This film shows that love is love; it’s not always between a man and a woman and it doesn’t have to be.
The last toast I’m going to give to the film is for its emotional impact. I’ve very rarely cried during a film and, if I do, it’s usually only a few tears (Lone Survivor, Mr. Holland’s Opus, The Deer Hunter). However, this film almost had me in complete tears; their story is beautiful yet heartbreaking. Ennis seems to never completely come to terms with his love for Jack and Jack is ready to drop his life in Texas for Ennis but Ennis doesn’t seem brave enough, until it’s too late. Without giving away too many spoilers, the last fifteen minutes are a big tearjerker, and you should definitely keep your tissues nearby.
My only problem with the film is that, at times, Heath Ledger mumbled. I had to turn up my TV really high just so I could make out what Ledger was mumbling. The other issue I had was that one line Gyllenhaal delivers, “I wish I knew how to quit you!” came off very cheesy and gave the film a minor point for people to make fun of. They should’ve written something like, “I wish I didn’t love you like I do!”. You could say I’m just being nitpicky, which is probably true, but it wouldn’t be a critique without any critiques.
This is one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen and Ang Lee delivered one of the most romantic and impactful films of the 21st century. I was wrapped up in their story and it didn’t let go until the very end of the film. I implore everyone to go see this movie, whether you’re looking for a good love story or if you are uncomfortable with homosexuality. I promise you, your mind will change after seeing this film. Now go grab a box of tissues and a beer and get ready for an emotional yet beautiful trip through two men’s love story.