Rated R; Directed by Ang Lee; Starring Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway
A beautifully made and emotionally moving film, “Brokeback Mountain” deserves the Oscar talk it is getting. Packing a powerful punch, this movie should be damned. Oh not for the subject matter (two men finding a “forbidden” love with each other in 1963 Wyoming), but for making me bawl over the morning dishes. Just dwelling on a few key scenes requires an immediate search for a hankie. It’s just so beautiful and sad! Oh, where’s that hankie?
With a secret romance at the heart of the story, “Brokeback Mountain” is a testament to love and the difficulties two lovers encounter. Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) meet in 1963 while working as sheepherders. Discovering a shared attraction the two find happiness while on Brokeback Mountain. After their idyll, the two try to return to what their time and place considers normal – both eventually marrying nice girls and trying to forget each other. Yet they can’t forget and begin seeing each other on occasion. Telling their wives, played by Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway, that they are fishing buddies, the two regularly return to Brokeback Mountain. Though they find joy in these reunions, as years pass we begin to realize that these two men may never find permanent happiness with one other.
The script by Larry McMurtry (“Lonesome Dove”) and Diana Ossana effectively brings a short story by E. Annie Proulx to magnificent life. A throwaway line early in the movie sets up a powerful scene later in the film that packs an emotional punch to the gut. Yet there are also some wonderfully sly, funny moments to the movie.
It takes director Ang Lee (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Sense and Sensibility”) to use the silences between characters to tell as much of the story as the dialogue. Lee also takes advantage of the beautiful scenery and frames his shots with skill. It’s an absolutely gorgeous movie to watch.
Director Lee was fortunate in the casting of the movie. Heath Ledger, just recently seen as the flamboyant lover in “Casanova,” brings depth and heart to the role of Ennis. Ennis’ pain is our pain. Jake Gyllenhaal (“Jarhead”) plays the more outgoing Jack and is also wonderful. Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway as their respective wives also build interesting characters that add to this wonderful movie.
“Brokeback Mountain” is one of those films that you are so happy you took the time to see even if it does leave you weeping over the kitchen sink the following day. Not to be missed it’s a gorgeous movie that works on so many levels. It’s just so beautiful! Sniff. Oh shoot, where’s my hankie again?