February 8th, 2006
"C'mon, get a long lil' doggies!" That's what you might have heard John Wayne say in one of his cowboy movies while herding some cattle out to pasture. But could you ever imagine "The Duke" ever say to one of his ol' cowhands after a long days work, " C'mon, pard'ner how bout a lil' doggy style!" Nope. Never. But I am sure the movie "Brokeback Mountain" has turned the world of cowboys upside down. Ahem. Or is it head to toe? Ahem. Yessiree! John Wayne is probably turning over in his grave. Brokeback Mountain is not your father's cowboy movie.
The movie has received critical acclaim, and Ang Lee won Best Director recently at the Director's Guild Awards. Heath Ledger is nominated for Best Actor, Jake Gyllenhal for best supporting actor, Michelle Williams for best supporting actress, and aforementioned Ang Lee for best Director. The movie also garnered nominations for best picture, score, adapted screenplay, and cinematography for the Oscars. Aw, hell I hope the movie sweeps all the categories.
I never thought a "Gay Cowboy Movie" would ever be green lighted by any studio, much less even be popular with the general masses. Which is why this movie took 8 years to be made. I had been hesitant to watch the movie since Brokeback Mountain was saddled, lassoed, and hogtied with the assumption of there being explicit gay love scenes between two very heterosexual and well liked actors. But to my chagrin (and relief) there was only one love scene between Heath and Jake which was not explicit and relatively quick. There were a few other scenes where the sex was implied to have occured offscreen. In actuality, the more explicit sex scenes happened to be between Enos (Heath) and Jack (Jake) with their wives.
The story revolves around Enos (Ledger), a tragically tortured soul, trying to come to grips with the feelings he has for another gay man Jack (Gyllenhall), as well as his own identity. Enos cant be gay, or is he? For most of his life he lives a heterosexual life, he tells Jack early in the movie he will be getting married after their summer of love. So, in essence the experience between them was a one time thing and that is that. Over the course of 20 years though they continue to meet but Enos still continues to tell himself he's not gay At one point in the movie Enos almost beats his ex wife for telling him she knew he was gay . His failure to come to grips with who he is and who he loves more and wants to be with ultimately is his downfall.
Brokeback Mountain is not just a gay cowboy movie, but a love story also.Kudos to both Ledger and Gyllenhall for portraying characters completely opposite of themselves. Both deserve to win Oscars in their respective categories. Heck, I'd give them the Oscar for just having to kiss each other! Must have been both hillarious as well as uncomfortable for them but the audience truly believes in their performances that they are in love.