****MOVIE RECOMMENDATION****"Brokeback Mountain"
A love story. Fine. But why a slow love story. Boy meets boy on a sheepherder gig in the mountains. On a cold night, they soon turn their backs on the sheep, their salaried objects of attention, and carnally find each other. Being 1963, and in the rural West, the relationjship is illicit, and thus doomed to pain, failutre and tragedy. (Thank God the cowboys are gay, otherwise these characters have very little interesting going on for them. They mumble alot. I know: Cowboys are taciturn. And have jaws glued together with chewing tobacco. Still...)
Given the bigoted times (the story is set in 1963) they are forced (or so we are led dramatically to believe) to split up. Then, over the years, they get together again, split up again, get married and have kids, vacation together (alone), split up...It's Same Time, Next Year only among gay cowboys.
I personally love impossible love-stories; I always cry the last fifteen minutes of The King and I. I love Romeo and Juliet. And the The Defiant Ones...now there's an impossible male love story...two men, escaping prisoners, not only handcuffed (sexual inuendo?) but also black/white!!! (No overt sex there, however. Modern viewers who may want to see it all will have to be content with Brokeback Mountain where the sex is plentiful.)
Finally, my (and legions of other peoples') favorite film of all time, Casablanca...What is the essence of that film but an impossible love story; an illicit but impossible affair de coeur set in the midst of the obstacles of war, ideals, marriage and honor? In that great film, Rick's and Ilsa's love (certainly the carnal side) ultimately remains unrequited. But "they always have Paris".
Brokeback Mountain is about two guys who can't resign themselves to "always having Brokeback Mountain." They refuse to accept their epoch's obstacles (anti-gay bias), which is their story's dramatic equivalent of Nazi-war-time constraints or Capulets' versus Montagues' bigotry. Like most people (today), they want it all. I can appreciate that, but unfortunately, they don't seem to try very hard to get it; they just pout and suffer. They are miserable to their wives and kids. (True, their wives are unhappy and the the kids cry alot! But... still, given that set of unhappy fathers/husbands, wouldn't you?.)
So when our cowboys ultimately fail, I feel less sorry for them. I am unmoved by their destiny. I guess I'm old fashioned: but, to get my dramatic sympatico, you must either fight your demons (internal and external), or indulge them with grace, forebearance and dignity. Which means: either stay with your wife and kids and be nicer to them, or have the courage to leave--gracefully-- and, bearing the cost, follow your gay destiny. I know mid-twentieth century bigotry made gay love difficult, but love is difficult in any epoch: Shakespearean, nineteenth century Siam, or 1940's war-time Paris and Morocco. In the above cited film stories that elicit my sympathy, Romeo, Rick and the King of Siam handled their situations much more appealingly than 'Brokeback Mountain''s cowboys. Love is never having to say your sorry...to yourself...bacause you lack the dignity to make the best of your unfair world--maturity being the ability to live contentedly within limitations, or summoning the courage to rebel. And prosper or be traqgically destroyed.
Ang Lee is a great visual director. There is scenic splendor galore in the film. Great pictorial composition. The music in the film is good. Heath Ledger is very good. Jake Gyllenhaal is...Jake Gyllehhaal. But the picture is:
And (this is from my wife): "sappy". The film's rating: PC 101. "For immature audiences only. Adults should be admitted only with their kids."