Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Ya know it could be like this, just like this always.

— Jack Twist

Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain was the seminal movie that ignited my passion for the cinemas. I was obsessed with this movie when it came out. I didn’t see most of the Best Picture nominees that year for that reason. It was the be all, end all for me. It went on to when three Oscars including Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Score. The Oscars were on my “shit list” for a long time that it did not win Best Picture, instead of giving it to Crash.

Summer 1963. Wyoming. A gruff rancher named Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and brooding Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) help out sheep herder Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid) move his flock on Brokeback Mountain without the park rangers smelling him out. It seems like everyday is the same with eating beans, watching the sheep; Ang Lee brilliant direction makes it fascinating to watch their relationship unfolded. Jack’s innocence softens Ennis’s tough exterior. He begins to express himself more.

One night, their friendship is changed forever after a night of drinking they have sex. Multiple questions arise: did Jack forced himself Ennis? Did they come together because they were the only humans around? Afterwards, they try to shake it off as a one time only occurrence. They can’t because they are beginning to fall in love with each other.

They thought that they could keep their relationship secret, but it is the worst kept secret. The work they are sent to do suffers as Aguirre’s flock is confused with another sheep herder and a massive snow storm cut their time short. Jack and Ennis have to go their separate. They don’t work to leave each other’s side, but it was a different time in 1963. They can’t run away together and go to Greenwich Village or San Francisco.

Ennis marries his longtime girlfriend, Alma (Michelle Williams) and quickly starts a family with her. Jack tries to get back into the rodeo circuit, but he  meets the forward, Lureen Newsome (Anne Hathaway). I never realized that each guy married a female version of each other. Alma is passive like Jack and Lureen is more take charge like Ennis. They try to lead “regular” lives as fate steps in to turn their worlds upside down.

I remember the first time that I saw the film at the Landmark Theater back in Houston. It was a couple of days after it opened in limited release that December. The line for the movie was around the corner. It was amazing to see straight and gay couples wanting to see this movie. The movie was packed. It sat on the very back of the theater. I wanted to soak the experience in. I’m glad I did. I laughed. I cried. I went on a journey with these characters.

Oh, how I love this movie. Let me count the ways. The beautiful, breathtaking mountain peaks captured on video by Rodrigo Pietro, the haunting score by Gustavo Santaolalla, the excellent acting by Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Williams. I was surprised that the movie only won three Oscars. It boggles the mind.

The movie is not perfect. I did have some troubles with Anne Hathaway towards the end of the movie and some of the small female roles were throw aways like Anna Faris and Linda Cardellini. There was also the conclusion of the relationship. It was a little cliché.

Judgment: This is a prime example of why the Oscars don’t know what the fuck qualifies as the Best Picture of the year.

Rating: 9.5/10


About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on February 14, 2011, in 2005, Academy Award Winner, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Drama, GLBT, Independent and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Great thoughts on this film Branden! I never thought about them marrying women who were like each other before, that really is a very interesting thing to think about this film! I really enjoy this film each time I watch it, even if it does leave your heart aching at the end.

  2. Near-perfect film for me! Heath Ledger gives one of the greatest performances of his career, and it’s a shame we lost such a talent. Good review, check out mine when you can my man!

    • I think the same thing as well. I think he didn’t when because he was in his mid-twenties being aged to his forties. Maybe that’s why they gave the Oscar to PSH.

  3. You said it with that last sentence, man. I loved this movie, this was easily the Best Picture of ’05 and it’s criminal that it lost. If only for the Thanksgiving scene and the “I wish I knew how to quit you…” dialogue, this totally deserved Best Picture. Serenity now…

  4. i like the way you describe yourself as obsessed with the movie. here it is over 5 years later and i still am obsessed with it. the major difference between then and now is that i no longer watch the movie everyday. now i only watch it a couple of times a year…..but i think about it and ponder it on a daily basis.

    i’m not sure i agree with your description of jack as passive. i in no way see jack as passive. without his first reaching for ennis there would have been perhaps, no sexual component to their relationship at all. it’s jack who finds ennis after 4 years. just because jack waits for ennis to arrange the dates they can get together doesn’t mean to me that he is passive. i think it makes him a realist, willing to take ennis the only way he can get him. every time he pushes ennis for more, and he does push him, he is met by a brick wall in ennis’ refusal to get together more often or in more public locations. he wants more, but grabs whatever he can get. so i don’t really understand why this should make him passive, rasther i think it makes him an unhappy realist…..

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