Now Playing: Brokeback Mountain...again
Topic: Movie Reviews
Today I re-watched Brokeback Mountain today for the first time since my initial viewing nearly two and half years ago. It was refreshing to watch the movie so far removed from the hype of being the “gay cowboy movie.” Michelle Williams, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Heath Ledger’s performances all hold up very well. Their best acting moments occur in the movie when they’re not speaking, but portraying their characters’ inner thoughts through facial expressions and body language. The movie takes place during an era where homosexuality, infidelity, or dysfunctional marriages were not talked about openly thus a language for public discourse didn’t exist. Alma Del Mar (Williams), Jack Twist (Gyllenhall) and Ennis Del Mar (Ledger) have no words to express themselves. (If they did, this movie might have become very talkative and lose some of its quiet charm.)
There was some confusion from audiences and critics about the depth of sheep herders’ Ennis and Jack’s love relationship. Their love is never verbalized, and their acts of sex can only be classified as violent, at best. Once you get past the shock/disgust/arousal from the sex scenes and focus on the tender moments between the men, you will see the deep emotional connection they have. There is a scene where the older men realize that their relationship is unraveling and Ennis drives away with Jack staring at the departing truck with longing. While driving away, Ennis remembers a particular affectionate moment on Brokeback Mountain during the beginning of their relationship.
Jack is swaying gently from side-to-side trying to shrug off exhaustion. Ennis comes up behind him, and nuzzles Jack’s ear. Ennis shares a sweet nothing his mother used to say to him when he was sleepy, and proceeds to sing Jack a lullaby. Their bodies relax against each others. End scene. This is an important moment for it is how a tight-lipped Ennis tells Jack he loves him. Ennis doesn’t talk nor does he initiate conversation. It pains him just to say his name, so to reveal such an intimate memory speaks loud volumes. A second and a far removed viewing make these nuances easier to recognize.
The movie is a solid film where the acting raises the quality of the film. I wish there was more physical passion that was less violent and a few more tender peeks into Jack and Ennis’ relationship. It would have made the 20+-year grip they had on each seem more believable.