More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
4.2

Awesome62.28%
Worth A Look: 13.16%
Average: 13.16%
Pretty Bad: 5.26%
Total Crap: 6.14%

17 reviews, 126 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Fury (2014) by Jay Seaver

Book of Life, The (2014) by Jay Seaver

Golden Era, The by Jay Seaver

Maze Runner, The by Daniel Kelly

Art and Craft by Jay Seaver

One Chance by Jay Seaver

St. Vincent by Peter Sobczynski

Wyrmwood by Jay Seaver

Judge, The by Peter Sobczynski

Over Your Dead Body by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


Brokeback Mountain
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by David Cornelius

"A boring mess, and one of the year's biggest disappointments."
2 stars

Maybe it’s just a reaction to all the hype, but I find myself curiously underwhelmed by “Brokeback Mountain.” What was supposed to be a Love Story For the Ages as presented by master director Ang Lee turned out instead to be a sluggish, unconvincing mess. Its forced drama, rickety character development, and lethargic pacing make it a chore to watch, while several plot turns, which border on the melodramatic, brought back memories of a certain beloved-by-many-yet-unwatchable-by-me Cary Grant feature; yes, my friends, “Brokeback Mountain” is, at its very core, nothing more than this generation’s “An Affair To Remember.”

That feature (which gets more heat from my direction than the movie it remade, 1939’s “Love Story,” simply because the later film is far more well known and far more unwatchable) dragged its characters through the most ridiculous of situations, all in order to keep them apart for dramatic purposes (can’t have unrequited love if they’re easily together and, well, requiting everything). “Brokeback” does the same thing - albeit more convincingly, considering the two leads are gay men who first meet in Wyoming in the early 1960s, not exactly the best time and place for gay men to be. But as the story rolls on (ever so slowly, making the 144-minute running time feel twice as long), progressing us through the decades, we discover that it is not the era nor the locale that’s keeping them apart, but their own decisions. We’re told at first that they hide their relationship to avoid violence from neighbors, yet by the closing credits, we’re certain that it’s more a matter of one character refusing himself his own joy, unable to show emotion toward anyone, not just the man he loves.

In another film, this might work wonders, an examination of why a man would deny his own heart. But here, everything’s so unconvincing. We never quite believe that Ennis (Heath Ledger) and Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) actually have the feelings for one another that the movie keeps telling us they have. I blame this not on the performances - although the casting is a major problem (more on that in a bit) - but on the story itself. The screenplay, by Larry McMurtry and frequent McMurtry collaborator Diana Ossana (and adapting the short story by Annie Proulx), never lets us see the relationship develop to the point of true romance. It’s more physical. All the times over the years that Ennis sneaks out to be with Jack, the feeling is that of a booty call. Sure, they like hanging out, fishing, camping, etc., but their encounters come across entirely of “Hey! I’ve finally found a gay man in 1963 Wyoming! Just so I won’t have to go through the pain of trying to find someone else, I suppose you’ll do!” Their longings for each other seem less of the heart and more of the genitals. And it’s hard to make a Love Story For the Ages about a couple of fuck buddies.

And when you’re not that interested in the heart of the story, it’s easier to spot its problems. Consider the simplistic nature of the screenplay. The plot, which covers approximately two decades of these men’s lives, has both men getting married in attempts to “normalize” their lives by hiding their homosexuality. The story paints in too-broad strokes. Ennis winds up married to a frumpy housewife (literally colorless - the costumer dresses her in drab browns and greys to punctuate the point), and in several scenes, we see Ennis overwhelmed with two screaming infants. Jack, meanwhile, marries the rich daughter of a farm equipment magnate, a soulless relationship on the other end of the spectrum. So one becomes super poor, the other super rich. It’s a strained plot point that’s grasping at meaningfulness, but keeps falling short. To make up for the gaps, the movie continues to poke us in the ribs, shouting, “Get it?! They’re unhappy!! Get it now??!!”

Playing the roles of the wives are Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway. Both characters are driven into the background - Hathaway especially, as the only character development we get from her is her ever-changing wig, which exists to show the passage of time. Don’t know what kind of woman Jack wound up marrying, but I do know she liked the beehive as a hair statement. Williams is given more to do (she’s the frumpy one who discovers Ennis’ secret and must live with it), and to her credit, she pulls off a wonderful performance despite the lack of decent material with which to work. But despite the fine acting, her character remains a one-noter, a cheap outline of repressed emotion.

You may have noticed that all four of these stars are quite young - the oldest is Ledger, at 26. Which is fine when we first meet their characters, but at things progress, and the story keeps jumping ahead in the years, we get stuck watching the indie film equivalent of a high school play: slap on a fake moustache, spray a little fake grey on the temples, and presto! Jake Gyllenhaal is now all old and stuff! Hathaway, with her single-digit character, is the worst here, perpetually looking 23, no matter how high her wigs dare to go. (Worse, the timeline reveals the film ends when the characters are in their late thirties, yet the cheap makeup is done to suggest they’re in their fifties.)

That’s a major misstep, and a major distraction. How can we become involved in this romance when we’re too busy laughing at Gyllenhaal’s moustache?

It’s all too much. There’s a lot to want to like about this movie - Lee’s visuals (especially shots of the mammoth Wyoming frontier) are quite stunning; fine performances from the supporting players, such as Randy Quaid and Linda Cardellini, make the story a bit more bearable; Gustavo Santaolalla’s musical score is achingly beautiful - but there’s a lot more to dislike. It’s a hackneyed, underdeveloped melodrama disguised as serious art house fare. I can’t even commend it on the daringness of its subject matter; yes, a gay romance is risky for mainstream America, but Lee mostly plays it all too safely (right down to the double standard of nudity, which here offers female breasts aplenty, but nary a male member in sight).

The purpose of a romance is to get the audience to care about its characters. “Brokeback Mountain” fails at this, content with having one-dimensional people inhabit a soap opera world. It might look pretty, but that’s all surface stuff. Lee’s film is too empty, too uninvolving, and just plain too dull.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12764&reviewer=392
originally posted: 01/05/06 08:24:13
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

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!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  09-Dec-2005 (R)
  DVD: 23-Jan-2007

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-Jan-2006




Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
eFilmCritic.com: Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2014, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast