A Movie Review
Brokeback Mountain is a love story and more. It is a modern epic, a gripping commentary of life, a major work of art. Yes, I am gushing here and please forgive my unabashed admiration of the film. Very few films have affected me the way this movie has. Come Oscars time, I would be terribly disappointed if it loses in the best picture race.
What I truly like about this movie is its honesty. It tells a heartbreaking story of two people - and the fact that they are both men (cowboys at that) is forgotten halfway through the movie. Of course, the fact that they are men (and I must stress that word strongly because the two characters break all stereotypes about gay men) is central to the story. If there is something that the movie succeeds in presenting, it is this: a relationship is a complicated thing - we can romanticize it, we can sugar coat it, we can even make fun of it - but it is never as simple and as predictable as we would want it to be. And this movie does a good job of presenting the complications - psychological, social, political - without the hysterics and the contrived dialogues.
The characters in this movie do not resemble any cardboard creation. For once, here is a movie which enables the audience to see the actual characters - not the actors playing them, not the people that anyone would want them to be - what we see are people so real we do not have a hard time empathizing with their conflicts and their points of view.
The wife (played superbly by Michelle Williams of Dawson's Creek fame) breaks all expectations of how "wives" caught in that situation are supposed to react - her pain and confusion are so real we can't help but feel for her, yet not sympathize nor hate her. Even the parents towards the end of the movie blew me away - you can't put a finger to what they must be feeling- yet the pain, understanding, affection, regret, loss, perhaps even shame - all these are so palpable the air hung heavy with unspoken emotion.
It is a sad movie, but one that is surprisingly liberating as well. You don't know exactly why the "unfulfilled" union of two hearts, while admittedly heartbreaking, is not as painful at the end. Perhaps because the characters have been written and portrayed with such stark honesty making judgments about them becomes difficult and irrelevant.