Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Brokeback Mountain:hip or hype?

So,Little Sister and I went to see our last movie of the year,Brokeback Mountain. I feel slightly redundant in summerizing the plot,given that it's mostly known as the
"gay cowboy movie" but there is more to it than that so here goes:the story begins
in 1963 when two down on their luck western working stiffs,Jack Twist(Jake Gyllenhaal)
and Ennis Delmar(Heath Ledger)are teamed up to do some sheepheading on Brokeback Mountain in the wilds of Wyoming. Jack is loud and humorous while Ennis is your
typical closemouthed type of fella. The men eventually form a friendship which turns
into passionate lovemaking one cold night that leads to denial the next morning.

Nevertheless,Jack and Ennis keep in touch with each other over the years despite
their marriages and living conditions(Jack marries the boss' daughter and does
well for himself in Texas while Ennis barely scrapes by with ranch work). Their
love for each other is only safe to give into on their"fishing trips" and even
tho Jack wishes to make a more permanant arrangement,Ennis resists due to fears
of violent retaliation from the local community and his own struggle with his

This is a quiet film,one that slowly unwinds and grows with emotional strength. Ang
Lee excells at capturing hidden struggles with love and following your own desires
which made him the best director for this story. I haven't read the Anne Proulx short
story but I have no doubt that Larry McMurtry and Diane Ossana translated it well.

As to the performances,many will agree with Little Sister when she says that Jake
Gyllenhaal plays the same type of guy in every film(different degrees of Donnie
Darko,if you will)but I do think that he portrays emotional neediness rather well.
Heath Ledger gives one of the best performances of his career to date,showing the
stoic heartbreak of a man wanting to do right by everyone he loves and yet winds
up with the short end of the stick. Michelle Williams as Alma,Ennis' wife who
gets a whiff of his other life,is hauntingly real and deserves an Oscar nom right
along with Ledger(she's taking some very good indie film roles and I hope she keeps
it up).

So,will Brokeback Mountain win lots of awards and be forgotten,as many other films
have before it?Well,it should do well at awardtime but BBM should and will be remem-
bered as the film which gave Heath Ledger his first shot at showing us what he really
can do. No more Knight's Tale type of goofiness,serious actorville next stop! Don't
get too highfalutin' now-another Brothers Grimm movie would be pretty welcome at my

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