Saturday, January 28, 2006

Brokeback Mountain * * * * *

Unless you have avoided the newspapers for the last month, you've probably heard of the "gay cowboy movie". Well, that tag-line is misleading. Whatever image that tag-line conjures up, it's definitely not what this movie is about. In fact, I'm not sure if I'd call the main characters "gay". I don't think I can characterize the main character, Ennis, in fact, since it seemed that Ennis loved Jack, not necessarily men. For Ennis, "love", "sex", "intimacy", "duty", "marriage", "gender-roles", "repression", and "confusion" were all bound together in such a confusing and contradictory ways. Like real-life, on some of the most important things in life, you might not really know how you feel and how you feel about thing is inconsistent with how you feel about another.

My view is that this is one of the best American movies to come out in the last few years. Like many of my friends, I put it up there with American Beauty and Mystic River. This movie is not a love story (in my view); it is a story about something that happens one summer (a tryst and emotional intimacy) between two young men and how that summer sends collateral damage throughout the rest of their lives and families. There are no easy answers, and the movie merely shows what happened in their lives (and with their wives) without suggesting what you should think about it. It is incredible story-telling and filmmaking, and most people end up pondering the story for days afterwards. I've talked with parents of friends who worried about the movie being sexually explicit. It's not, relative to other R-rated movies (like Shakespere in Love, say), and it's mainly male-female (except for one brief non-explicit scene).