I consider myself a serious moviegoer and when a movie gets a lot of critical attention I want to see it. So all the hype about Brokeback Mountain had me thinking I should see it, except I couldn’t. I am pretty open-minded about people and their sexuality, but I still get kind of queasy at the notion of watching two guys make out. Gay cowboys scared me more than Hostel and Saw II combined. The movie came out at the local theater here this weekend and the only other new film was Big Mama’s House 2. So the gay cowboys won out. I even convinced a few friends to go with me.
The controversy surrounding the film has given it a sort of stigma. If I didn’t like the film, would that make me a bigot? Sure enough I caught myself groaning at certain points in the movie when the two characters get back together for their trips. There it is, I hate gay people. I realized later that’s not true. What really bothered me was that they were lying to their wives and themselves. I feel the same way when watching any other movie about a destructive relationship.
Still my feelings about the film are mixed. Some of the more intimate moments between the characters had me a bit antsy. That’s probably not fair though, because I don’t have a problem when a film shows gratuitous amounts of female flesh. I think a fairer criticism of the film would be it seemed to meander for too long. This is a good story, but it is slowed down with a lot of empty subplots that seemed unnecessary. The cinematography and music were beautiful though. The actors also did a fine job, especially Heath Ledger‘s with his performance as the quiet and lonely Ennis Del Mar.
The movie does a nice job of breaking down a lot of the stereotypes people apply to homosexuals, proving you do not have to be effeminate to be gay. I will admit that there were moments when I could really feel for these guys. That’s because the feelings of regret and unrequited love are pretty universal. After all, the concept of lovers separated by physical space or social norms is not really all that groundbreaking.
Seeing Brokeback Mountain was an interesting experience and I am happy I saw the movie. It broadened my horizons a bit and proved that I am mature enough to handle guys kissing on screen. If you are interested in the movie, I recommend checking it out. If you don’t want to see the movie though, that doesn’t make you any worse a person than someone who doesn’t want to see Pride & Prejudice. You probably shouldn’t be critiquing the movie though.
Update: Just for kicks, here’s Larry David’s column on why he won’t see the movie and the straight dude’s guide.
Update #2: I read the original short story that inspired the movie and I liked that better. It’s more consise and to the point.