Alas, eight years after its release, I finally saw Brokeback Mountain. Why so late? Simply put, sometimes I see a new movie on the circuit within a few months and other times, life just marches on and suddenly years pass before I see it and it either impacts my life (or not). I knew Brokeback Mountain would be one of them (one that impacted my life), and not just because it shed light and drew attention to “gay relationships” which I am a huge supporter of (we SO need to change global thinking, dogma and stigma) but because I knew the film would also be about humanity at its deepest level, gay relationship, straight or anything in between.
The movie brings you 360 degrees and as much as you’re drawn to the injustice of two men not being able to embrace each other in public – in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Texas or anywhere else for that matter, the story line is about so much more. Two men fall, in love….really fall in love. It’s a love story, a beautiful love story, apparently ranked in the top 11 high grossing romance films of all times.
So, as I sat there one late evening, waiting for my new Mac to build in the backroom of my house, I watched Brokeback Mountain, when there were numerous opportunities to watch it over the years. Alas, I viewed two ranching cowboys fall for each other in the wilderness, depicting the deepest part of humanity month after month, year after year.
While I may be VERY late to the review process, I’m not too late to comment on the human side we all feel every day, which was depicted so well in this timeless film.
The film, as many know who saw it when it first released, presents us with two polar opposite characters, not unlike every love story – one withdrawn, one not, the former taking on as much pain as the latter, but never for a moment, letting it release or present itself publicly. Enter Ennis Del Mar played by Heath Ledger and Jack Twist played by Jake Gyllenhaa who are hired by Joe Aguirre to herd his sheep during a long Wyoming summer on Brokeback Mountain.
The Official Storyline:
After a night of heavy drinking, Jack makes a sexual pass at Ennis, who is initially apprehensive but eventually falls to Jack’s advances. Though he informs Jack that it was a one-time incident, they develop a sexual and emotional relationship. Shortly after learning their summer together is being cut short, they briefly fight, and each is bloodied.
After Jack and Ennis part ways, Ennis marries his longtime fiancée Alma Beers (Michelle Williams) and fathers two children. Jack returns the next summer, but Aguirre, who witnessed Jack and Ennis on the mountain, does not re-hire him. Jack meets, marries, and starts a family with rodeo rider Lureen Newsome (Anne Hathaway). After four years, Jack visits Ennis. Upon meeting the two kiss passionately, which Alma accidentally witnesses. Jack broaches the subject of creating a life together on a small ranch, but Ennis, haunted by a childhood memory of the torture and murder of a man suspected of homosexual behavior, refuses. He is also unwilling to abandon his family. Ennis and Jack continue to meet for infrequent fishing trips.
Three days later, I couldn’t help it, but the character of Ennis Del Mar constantly played on my mind. Of course, there’s always an Ennis and there’s always a Jack. The detached and the attached, Jack being the latter. I realized that I was Ennis more often than not in my life and I gathered over the course of several hours, all the ingredients that it takes to be an Ennis, like a complex cake, rather than an oatmeal blend of oats, sugar, eggs and a l’il cinnamon and baking soda.
When he refuses his daughter when she wants to live with him at 17, it isn’t because he doesn’t love her or care for her, but he doesn’t feel worthy or even capable, when he’s got everything it takes to give the love she needs. It’s just that no one ever told him so…….
When he can’t say yes to Jack when he admits his commitment and his love to him, it’s not because Ennis didn’t want him back. It’s just that no one ever told him it could be possible or that….such a life could SO be possible….
When he nearly says he can’t make his daughter’s wedding, he does so, because no man can ever say no to his daughter or her needs regardless of what any man says to him.
Imagine that every possible accomplishment or “say so” should be based on something so basic, so loving and so real? Forward wine the clock or rewind, whichever one makes sense or both, what decisions would you change?