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Overall Rating
4.19

Awesome61.9%
Worth A Look: 13.42%
Average: 12.99%
Pretty Bad: 5.19%
Total Crap: 6.49%

17 reviews, 129 user ratings


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Brokeback Mountain
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"What Did R. Lee Ermey Say Comes From Texas Again?"
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2005 TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Shall we dispense of the pudding jokes right off the top? Or is it overly insensitive to poke fun…er…rib the cowpokes….er….giggle about gay cowboys? Maybe its just in our crude nature to snicker a little bit at an assumption which has been around long before Bonanza was on the air. What do they say about Texas? Steers and queers? It’s precisely the kind of stereotype that the filmmakers behind Brokeback Mountain hope to bring some sensitivity to and wind up doing it quite successfully. One can’t help but think though when it’s all over if the film is as groundbreaking as it is being touted. By excessively compensating with how molds are being shattered, many viewers may overlook the fact that the same material could have made using heterosexual protagonists.

In 1963, Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) meet while taking a job for rancher Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid) herding sheep up through the titular location. Looking like a pair of Marlboro Men standing outside Joe’s camper, the manly-man connection with their rugged good looks, smoking with a brooding confidence is about to be torn down once tedium begins taking over their trek. Boys will be boys drinking whiskey, letting testosterone boil over into brawls and wrastling horseplay (the latter which Joe witnesses with a suspicious eye.) Then an invitation into the tent for warmth turns into an animalistic release of sexual frustration that ends the following morning a bit more subtly then Steve Martin and John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles with Jack and Ennis insisting that neither is queer. I guess sense memory of Marilyn Monroe and self-stimulation was out of the question. Not hear of The Stranger, boys?

Of course, we know that both men play for the White Sox…er…the other team and when they go their separate ways we can sense, even if they don’t, that a mutual connection will stay with them forever. In all seriousness, this first 40 minutes are the film’s best. The building bond between Jack and Ennis is unrepentantly established and should dispel any inherent snickering to go for an easy joke. When it moves to the next level, it feels less like a shock than just a natural progression in their evolution of a complacent loneliness they’ve probably felt for some time in a period and locale not known for embracing open closets. Once they get off the mountain, that’s when the film begins losing its emotional stability.

Both men later take wives; Ennis takes Alma (Michelle Williams), a shy girl whom he prefers on her stomach and Jack takes Lureen (Anne Hathaway), a rodeo gal with uptight parents who doesn’t mind riding him in the back of a car. Time passes and then they reconnect when Jack visits Ennis at his home. Foolishly they can’t resist themselves instantly, allowing an instant of rapture to be seen in plain view by an even more confused and horrified Alma who knows the sad truth of the “fishing trips” her husband makes a habit of. The film takes on a repetitive quality here like the contented sex of a marriage with the adulterous trips and the hopes of a future together masked with Alma’s hurt and an emotional fortitude that never reaches an apex.

We know nothing of Ennis & Alma’s relationship until we meet them standing together in front of a priest so whatever exists between them already feels distant, leading to no great jumps in their stability since Ennis already looks unhappy on their wedding day. Jack & Lureen’s coupling is provided even less shrift. Most of it is seen through the constant battling of Jack and his disrespecting father-in-law (Graham Beckel), leaving little to remember except another look at the Princess Diaries’ breasts. And when coming to the drawn-out climax of the film, a key development is botched giving the audience little time to process the impact that it has on Jack and Ennis, let alone becoming just a “oh yeah, by the way…” after we’ve invested two hours in the fate of these characters.

What guides us through the less than stellar patches of Brokeback Mountain are a collection of award-worthy performances from those we never thought we’d ever see on a ballot. The latter of that statement doesn’t apply to Gyllenhaal who became a symbol for Generation Y uncertainty in Donnie Darko, continued that streak with Proof and Jarhead right up to this film as the taker (in all definitions of the word) who has found something with Ennis and continues to want no matter what the consequences may be. Michelle Williams, still known all too well from TV’s Dawson’s Creek, does her best dramatic work as the young mother struggling to keep a shield up between her and the love that is being given elsewhere.

But Heath Ledger, seriously, who knew? After his comically applicable turn as Val Kilmer in Lords of Dogtown, the low-key brain of The Brothers Grimm and the title role in the upcoming Casanova, 2005 is literally and professionally, Ledger’s coming out party. After years of being just another pretty boy on the market for casting directors to ignore better actors with, Ledger currently has an apology on record from this critic. Soft-spoken and wounded as Ennis, Ledger has allowed the less-is-more approach to say everything that this character is about and invites us into an understanding not of gay-vs.-straight but loved-vs.-lonely, which is a more powerful statement anyone can attach than to say how “brave” his performance is or the assertion that this film will change the way Hollywood and the general public think.

Ang Lee has done wonders in the past with all of the issues presented in Brokeback Mountain; unrequited love (Sense & Sensibility, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon), infidelity (The Ice Storm) and the duality of man (Hulk). His Wedding Banquet comically explored a marriage of convenience between a gay man and a woman seeking a green card; which works better as a comedy of errors if you consider that as drama, the deception and sadness of the situation could inevitably lead to a major dislike of one or both of the characters. We’ve seen love stories between men that were entirely platonic (Brian’s Song, The Shawshank Redemption) and nobody felt the need to attack them for not unleashing their true feelings, even if one was set in a prison. DVD companies like TLA, Wolfe and Strand have specialized in bringing the somehow still taboo subject to the market, but like Jonathan Demme’s Philadelphia it may get credit for being the first major studio to put the subject matter to the forefront except its mostly hype that’s going to sell tickets based off a “courageous” greenlight. Make it hetero and the same material would be dismissed as soap operary. All Ang Lee has really done with his superbly-acted, beautiful looking drama is bring life to Eric Cartman’s assertion that all arthouse films are nothing but gay cowboys sitting around eating pudding. I guess equality does come when not just the stronger aspects of film can be shared by all sexes, race and orientation but also the weaker ones.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12764&reviewer=198
originally posted: 12/09/05 16:18:16
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/06/17 Barbara Leaf Very good movie and well acted. Not wordy but emotional. I would see it again. 5 stars
9/13/17 morris campbell good film told with class a good gay film 4 stars
11/15/16 Heather Ackland What a load of crap. Unrealistic and bad gay film in every way. YUK. O/10 1 stars
12/29/11 David Hollingsworth More than just a "gay cowboy" movie. 5 stars
7/26/10 JustMe my favorite movie,it's just amazing,i cry every single time i watch it 5 stars
6/08/10 User Name A daring, and successful, film from Ang Lee. 4 stars
5/16/10 Linda Thank you. I thought I was the only one who felt this way! Cinematography 10; chemistry 2. 2 stars
1/25/10 babette REAL gays: See Irreversible's Le Rectum club scenes 1 stars
8/06/09 Tim Can't even hear the music without the welling of tears. Perfection. 5 stars
6/19/09 steven One of the most amazing films ever... only redneck men don't like it,Wonder why! 5 stars
4/11/09 K. Sear A choppy flow and unrealized plot make a disappointing film. 2 stars
4/05/09 Alfonso Turnage Awesome 5 stars
1/31/09 hardfact gay story about a predator praying on a confused minor 1 stars
1/15/09 FrankNFurter Homophobic twats, perch and rotate...this film is absolutely brilliant! 5 stars
1/08/09 =] i don't support homosexuality, but i still loved this film. 5 stars
11/27/08 little Red Heath Ledger is smoken in this movie 5 stars
11/11/08 L.Padilla They should of titled the movie,"Booty call in Brokeback Mountain" 2 stars
10/30/08 Wendell O. Maness As a former California resident, I loved this gay awareness show 5 stars
8/30/08 PAUL SHORTT LUSH SCENERY ENCIRCLES TWO LACONIC CHARACTERS IN THIS STATIC AND REPUGNANT FILM 1 stars
7/19/08 yes Gayest movie I never saw... I'm certain it sucked major balls... Quite literally. 1 stars
6/29/08 Chris Yeah, bad "aging" make-up. But that's it's only flaw - a beautiful, poignant, moving film. 5 stars
5/14/08 Ros So perfect...so real....so tragic...so unforgettable...so haunting 5 stars
4/28/08 Totir Alexandru I recently saw this movie and after Heath passed away it was very hard to watch it. (RIP) 5 stars
4/03/08 Mr Honest God help our country when this crap is "art"! 1 stars
3/08/08 David Cohen Poignant without being exploitative, a first class love story 5 stars
1/11/08 misty overly vomit producing 1 stars
12/08/07 Sam Eli It's not just the "gay cowboy movie" It's excellently acted, haunting and it resonates 5 stars
11/22/07 Kevin A mountain-top experience! 5 stars
10/24/07 Wendell O. Maness I loved it, its sensitive, manly and loving to gays 5 stars
8/05/07 ravenmad it surprised me~beautiful and sad. It's not about sex. 4 stars
7/16/07 Hello Stranger incredibly depressing film. the love between them is so intense and beautiful 5 stars
6/28/07 gr117 Depressing yet beautiful 5 stars
6/18/07 Danielle Ophelia This film will gut you. And you'll be glad it did. 5 stars
5/24/07 Josh Bergin TThis movie was great for the gay community. 5 stars
5/07/07 David Pollastrini didn't think much of it. 3 stars
3/01/07 THE REAL DEAL Cornelius did all his own stunts 2 stars
2/19/07 Nick Maday I thought it was over-praised, but still decent, if not completely depressing. 3 stars
1/29/07 Lisa Craven OMG. talk about rough sex. But seriously, a touching movie, kind of depressing, but try it. 4 stars
1/23/07 del i love it as much as starwars,especially the men 5 stars
1/18/07 Becca Only people too stupid to get it don't like this film- and that is the truth. 5 stars
11/14/06 Ernest Alba Well, its three Oscars didn't convince me. The movie did. This is an amazing film. 5 stars
11/14/06 Mark A little slow, but a great film 5 stars
10/01/06 tips if it was about man/woman relationship it would have gotten no attention because it sucks 1 stars
9/16/06 rwelsh Gay just a straw man, the offense-A guy who threatens a pregnant girl to live a lie 1 stars
9/07/06 Albert unless you are a woman, I would pass on this one... 1 stars
8/19/06 Verrine Excellent, but not worthy of awards. Gorgeous scenery. 4 stars
8/19/06 Cosmic Conundrum Apart from the direction, acts etc., the background Score and locales took my breath away. 5 stars
8/10/06 Dragon The Artist "Its probably not too bad",says my gut, but I'm sick of hearing about the stupid sex scene! 3 stars
8/05/06 CTT Overpraised; "Same Time Next Year" with the spouses played by actresses 4 stars
7/23/06 chris f this is the most romantic and best film ever 5 stars
6/30/06 Jerry Great movie, unless you have no taste. 5 stars
6/27/06 Kimberly Not a good movie in the least. 1 stars
6/18/06 Dave the truth is out,Film critics were sent big checks along with their invitation to see this 1 stars
6/14/06 Lisa Same as most 'gay' flicks - a complete let down 1 stars
6/12/06 Alex H. Who reads Filmview, anyway? 5 stars
6/09/06 Mitch This is the movie that Filmview magazine calls "awful" and "the worst film of 2005" 1 stars
6/09/06 dani Undeserved praise? Yeah, okay. Fantastic movie. 5 stars
5/29/06 jeanne Profoundly sad, gorgeous, hearbreaking - Bravo, everybody! 5 stars
5/28/06 Jethro This is so awful it makes plan 9 from outer space look like oscar material! 1 stars
5/23/06 Agent Sands A painfully heartfelt film. One of my top favorite love stories ever. 5 stars
5/13/06 Indrid Cold Aside from the undeserved praise just for tackling the subject, it's still pretty good. 4 stars
5/08/06 Diane Perkins excellent both in story and cinematography. Leaves you thinking for days. 5 stars
4/28/06 Annie G I thought I would love this movie, but the casting and editing werejust awful! 3 stars
4/22/06 Phil M. Aficionado brilliantly written and executed in all respects, starting with the casting 5 stars
4/22/06 Pat Frederick Really loved this movie. The storyline, the actors. Tremendous movie! 5 stars
4/17/06 millersxing Made with such dignity from all involved, Brokeback is a difficult film to dislike. 3 stars
4/13/06 San Lamar Good 4 stars
4/11/06 Frank Gavin Not just a "gay cowboy movie," but in fact an "epic gay cowboy movie." 5 stars
4/10/06 the untrained eye Bad aging make-up Mountain 3 stars
4/07/06 malcolm great film. girlfriend made me watch it. glad she did. 5 stars
4/06/06 Troy M. Grzych The film is well crafted and acted, but not Oscar worthy. 4 stars
3/23/06 Saif Khan A beautifully crafted, supremely acted piece of cinema 5 stars
3/15/06 Shannon Robles i could watch this movie again and again, this deserved the oscar! 5 stars
3/13/06 Hydrogen Very nice. Maybe a tad over-rated, but still very touching. 5 stars
3/10/06 Nicole Overrated. I think that explains it all. 2 stars
3/08/06 Piz great filmaking but wayyy overated. Left a lot to be desired 3 stars
3/04/06 Green Gremlin Ang Lee more than atones for his "Hulk" fiasco !!! 5 stars
3/02/06 tillerman this was the best movie i have seen in a long long time 5 stars
3/02/06 chris f biker bob is a fool this movie is great 5 stars
2/27/06 Monday Morning Reviewer Cornelius doesn't get "understated"; he needs car chases.This film was outstanding 5 stars
2/22/06 Danny If this doesn't win the Oscar, something's wrong. Awsome in every way. 5 stars
2/20/06 Max Gay people CAN love, why is gay sex still portayed as 'violent' and 'messy' ?? 5 stars
2/14/06 ana very good film, explains a lot about them (homosexsuals) 5 stars
2/10/06 Shelly Breekinan My heart ached with this film.........a real "ground breaker" Loved it twice! 5 stars
2/06/06 Deanna save "disgrace" for your hero Pat Robertson. This is a love of a movie 5 stars
2/05/06 Richard Watts A subtle masterpiece of visual narrative 5 stars
2/05/06 Shawn Gadberry Too much hype can ruin your viewing-Great movie but very subtle in its powerfulness 5 stars
2/04/06 Lewis Rappaport A superb hearbraking film that accurately portrays its time and place. 5 stars
1/31/06 Agent Sands Perfect. An important contribution to cinema. 5 stars
1/30/06 Caiphn I guess I don't get it. 2 stars
1/29/06 Sam It is better to have loved and lost... 5 stars
1/27/06 D.Lara Awesome film, tear jerker, its a must see! 5 stars
1/25/06 Mel in NY Amazing and quite sad. I loved it! 5 stars
1/22/06 CJ Peace The movie was very good but it lacked a little "something", not sure what. Ledger was great 4 stars
1/22/06 Anita I thought the movie was over-rated. It needed a good editing. 3 stars
1/22/06 Molly I loved it! 5 stars
1/21/06 orpament just not that great 3 stars
1/20/06 paul movie stayed with me for days 5 stars
1/20/06 Howard Maki great story line 5 stars
1/19/06 phillip Wright Brokeback Mountain deserves all of the praises it receives. best film I have ever seen 5 stars
1/18/06 Deanna Heartbreaking Beautiful 5 stars
1/18/06 Nicky LOVE! 5 stars
1/17/06 Agent Sands Ang Lee doesn't let one frame seem dull. This is a true masterwork. 5 stars
1/17/06 Rob Quite simply the most beautiful film to come out of the US in years 5 stars
1/15/06 chris f a great and touching movie 5 stars
1/14/06 Mario Izigson a masterpiece 5 stars
1/14/06 anonymous The reviewer respectfully doesnt get it, but was respectful at least. Wish comment room 5 stars
1/12/06 jcjs beautiful, real, great acting, wow photography, not for the homophobes, fine masterpiece 5 stars
1/12/06 Jim The Movie Freak One of the most overrated films of the past few years. It's just another love story. 3 stars
1/11/06 H.S. not as daring as made out to be, but great 5 stars
1/11/06 Denis Breathtaking, extremely moving 5 stars
1/09/06 Deanna from Indiana touching beautiful, if you cannot relate, you have no heart 5 stars
1/09/06 Florence Awsome, wonderful love story. It stayed with me for days. I will have to see it again. 5 stars
1/08/06 Elizabeth Pretty, poignant. . .unattainable love is relatable to all. 4 stars
1/08/06 Marilyn Loved the movie. We needed a movie like this 5 stars
1/06/06 sc The best movie I've seen this year. Beautiful, moving. 5 stars
1/05/06 Gayle James agree with David Cornelius movie did not have enough 'romance' between the men so who cares 3 stars
1/05/06 Denis How can anyone trust a review that can't even get its own facts right? Alberta, not Wyomin 5 stars
1/01/06 BrianWilly Beautiful movie about a beautiful thing. 5 stars
12/30/05 TheOthersFan heartbreaking, not so terribly different from the tragic starcrossed-lovers romance 5 stars
12/27/05 Daniel Camacho The film speaks for its self, a classic 5 stars
12/25/05 Hoof Hearted Heath's acting, Ang's direction make for the movie of a lifetime 5 stars
12/25/05 Frédéric Jake and Ennis play great roles, just change the names and genders for your own story 5 stars
12/22/05 BoyInTheDesignerBubble Cool flick. Not everyone is in PFLAG. 5 stars
12/21/05 Jonathan emotionally stirring....an amazing film 5 stars
12/20/05 Paterfam001@yahoo.ca How come they couldn't get a little fishing in as well? 3 stars
10/01/05 sbcspin Took the top prize at Venice for a reason. It's amazing. 5 stars
9/20/05 Don Halbert One of the best movies I've seen in years. Genuine characters evoke strong feelings. 4 stars
9/16/05 Skptc2 Tad lengthy 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  09-Dec-2005 (R)
  DVD: 23-Jan-2007

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-Jan-2006




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