Saw Brokeback Mountain with Dean tonight. What a terrific movie. Really sad, in a happy way, if that makes sense, the story of these star-crossed cowboy lovers. I like what the screenwriters added to the original short story, to flesh out the characters more. And I think the movie serves the original story well. It works on so many levels: as historical drama, as rural gay cautionary tale, as anti-hate documentary, as gay love story, as bi-straight love story, as human love story. (And the music is terrific. Willie Nelson's "He Was a Friend of Mine" playing as the credits rolled almost had me in tears all over again.)
But ultimately Brokeback is Ennis Del Mar's story. Heath Ledger plays him with great subtlety: he is a character whose emotional life is so internal, so inward, that every little twitch of a facial muscle, or wink of an eye, or silence, speaks volumes. He is, on the surface, so withdrawn not because he is without feelings, but because he is so full of feeling, and so easily overwhelmed by them. And it is only in the secluded, safe environment of Brokeback, or on the several times a year "fishing trips," that he can let down enough to be with Jack. It's sad, and tragic, but by the end of the movie I think Ennis has evolved, and learned to love more openly. (The scene with his daughter, where he agrees to go to her wedding, is totally key to this).
There were a few annoying people giggling at inappropriate times in the audience, and an older woman sitting behind us who kept saying "this is disgusting" (I finally turned around and said "Shh!" and she shut up for the rest of the movie). Otherwise the audience seemed rapt, and there was a round of applause at the end.
I recommend Brokeback Mountain. I *heart* Heath Ledger. I think he deserves an Oscar or Golden Globe or whatever. But go and see it and decide for yourself. I dare you not to be moved.
If Two Men Make Love in the Woods, Does Anybody Care?