Movie Review 2007 #54: Brokeback Mountain

The Oscar nominated movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, with the addition of Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway.

My good friend Deb urged me to see the movie and I did want to see what the fuss was all about. Was it in fact a good movie above and beyond the controversial subject matter–a forbidden, clandestine, tragic homosexual relationship between two men in the West who meet one year while sheepherding.
It is.
Brokeback Mountain charts the tragic story of Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist. Both of them not in the best shape, financially, leads them to together take a relatively low job herding sheep on Brokeback Mountain one summer. Being all alone with just each other, sheep, and a weekly delivery of goods leads to the development of a relationship between the two men that eventually turns into an affair.
The rest of the movie unspools the consequences and aftereffects of that one summer on Brokeback. The men marry, try to make lives for themselves, but are constantly drawn back to each other. They fight, argue, play, enjoy their brief moments of happiness together, and most importantly hide their ongoing affair from their respective families as best they can. The sheer intensity of the emotional aspects of the relationships of the film, I think, is one of strong aspects of the movie and a reason why it was nominated for Best Picture. The tragedy of the inevitable ending that the story has to have, given its times and place, will make any but the most flinty hearted of people wince.
I think overall its a stronger movie than the Oscar winner for that year, Crash, and one well worth watching. The performances make the movie and sell it.