Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Directed by Ang Lee
Written by Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana

Ang Lee has a quiet touch. He is a romantic filmmaker from my experiences with him. He makes beautiful films both in the way they look and the way the story is told. I have seen Taking Woodstock and would admit this is an exception, but when I get into something like Brokeback Mountain, I am reminded of the ability of Lee and his spectacular touch from the director’s chair. This film is something that has been something of a struggle for me personally. I didn’t see it when it first came out, but have always wanted to see it. It came highly recommended from my mother, who generally has good taste in movies. So one day I saw it in a used DVD store for cheap and I picked it up, hoping one day to get to it. However, living with roommates who were overly outward in their hatred of homosexuals was somewhat of a turn off in attempting to watch the film. I didn’t want an argument or to hear their ridiculous bickering about how it is somehow their business and affects their lives personally how someone else decides to love the people in their lives. What a ridiculous situation.

But anyway, I finally did sit down and watch it tonight, and under interesting pretext. I often go through bouts of lovesickness of sorts, feeling lonely and as though I need romance in my life, which I do by the way, probably brought on by watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s earlier today and wanting to marry Audrey Hepburn but realizing I couldn’t. So in order to remedy that, what better way to battle lovesickness than by watching a romance film? So far this review is very personal, and that is not without cause. Not only is Ang Lee’s film extremely personal, but it made an extremely personal affect on me. It doesn’t matter to me whether you like guys or girls, what matters to me is that you love and be loved and that is exactly what happens in this film. Ennis (Heath Ledger) and Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) fall in love without even realizing they liked guys. Love is so natural it knows no boundaries and is such a beautiful thing. Seeing these two men struggle to come to the reality of the situation, one more than the other, is the struggle of life, no matter your sexual orientation.

What Ang Lee accomplishes with Brokeback Mountain is the ultimate film based on mood. The beautiful landscapes of the country and the stark realities of marriages that are loveless combined with fine performances all around provide a quiet, reflective film. Heath Ledger is the powerhouse of emotion here and his opposite, Michelle Williams is equally brilliant. Jake Gyllenhaal is quite good here, even better when he turns into older Jack. Anne Hathaway serves her purpose just fine as well. This film takes its time, which I love so much. There is no rush to get to the plot because what we are witnessing is the plot. Their every little action, head turn and eye blink; the countryside and girls on the swing or in the supermarket. It all matters to Ang Lee, to Larry McMurtry, who wrote the film with Diana Ossana, it even matters to Gustavo Santaolalla, who scored the film so beautifully. This is a perfect example of a film coming together to make a little bit of cinematic magic. And hell yes my personal feelings took part in how much I enjoyed this film by the wonderful Ang Lee.

Adam Kuhn

Adam Kuhn was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he attended Saint Charles Preparatory School. He studied History at the University of Cincinnati, where he was a contributor of The News Record, the twice-weekly, independent student news organization. He has been writing film reviews and blogging since 2009.

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