Welcome to the first official movie review of this page! I wanted to talk about a movie that was not only great, but impactful. So, I chose Ang Lee’s 2005 film Brokeback Mountain starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger. In this film review, I will be giving a brief synopsis with absolutely NO SPOILERS. I will then discuss the cultural impact of the film and finally, I will tell you who I recommend this film to. Now that we’ve gotten the logistics of my movie review out of the way, let’s get started:
The film centers around Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, two men who are hired to heard sheep throughout the Summer of ’63. While tending to the heard and exploring the mountains, the two men become fast friends. What started off as a friendship soon turns sexual When Jack makes a pass at Ennis and Ennis responds and agrees to his advances. Though Ennis insists that what happened between them was a one time thing, they begin an intense sexual and emotional relationship. However, their summer eventually comes to an end and the two must part ways and return to their normal lives. Ennis goes on to marry his fiancé Alma and have two daughters with her while Jack marries rodeo rider Lureen Newsome and the two have a son. Four years later, the two meet up again and begin a passionate love affair over the years. While Jack wants nothing more than to start a life with Ennis, Ennis is hesitant to do so as it would mean abandoning his family and the two of them would become a target for hate crimes. So, the two must continue their forbidden love in secret and away from their friends and family.
CULTURAL IMPACT/FILM IMPORTANCE
This film is culturally significant because of it’s depiction of male masculinity and sexuality. Ennis and Jack are depicted as masculine men who wear cowboy hats and smoke cigarettes. Some have even likened them to cowboys. Cowboys have always been depicted as these manly figures who save the day and get the girls. In short, you could argue that cowboys symbolize the epitome of male masculinity in America. However, Ennis and Jack do not fit this mold. It’s not just because they aren’t straight men, but it is the fact that they let themselves become vulnerable and show when they are upset. They love deeply and feel sadness when they cannot be together. They even cry (“What?” you say, “Cowboys don’t cry!”. Well I assure you, they do in this film). This film also explores something that is not very well represented in the media: homosexuality and bisexuality. Much of the media’s portrayal of male homosexuality is severely flawed with tropes that supposed to “help” us identify that they are gay. They may have a high pitched voice, wear feminine colors or clothing styles, act in a sassy manner, or just seem overall flamboyant. In this film,all of those tropes are thrown out the window. Instead, these two men are depicted in a way that we see them for who they truly are: people, not a cartoonish depictions of sexuality. Perhaps more neglected in the media (especially from the male perspective) is the depiction of bisexuality. The characters of Ennis and Jack are depicted as bisexual as they are able to have relationships (sexual and romantic) with women as well as men. However, the two men are depicted at different points on the spectrum of bisexuality. Ennis is depicted as being bisexual with a preference towards women as we learn that he has sexual attraction and relationships with multiple women, but he does not experience attraction to men other than Jack. Jack, on the other hand, is bisexual with a preference towards men as he has sexual attraction and relationships with multiple men (including male prostitutes) other than Ennis, yet he doesn’t experience attraction to women other than his wife. This film helps to show that a person’s sexuality is not as simple as placing them into categories.
THE BOTTOM LINE
I would recommend this film to EVERYONE! It’s an intimate look at a relationship between two men that was forbidden and shamed by virtually everyone at the time. While their love story is often infrequent, the love that they have for each other is constant. The cinematography of this film is absolutely breathtaking, showing off the landscape of mountains and fields that are sure to impress any western fan. This is a film for all, and should be enjoyed by all.
Let me know what you thought of this film and what you would like me to review next. As always, keep it reel.