Sunday, December 18, 2005

Brokeback Ennis

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 He is, on the surface, so withdrawn not because he is without feelings, but because he is so full of feeling, and so easily overwhelmed by them.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?


Pamela said...

This movie will not be shown at the multiplex in my area--MANY people here have asked, but it's not going to happen. I am so upset about that. The local art house theatre here is going to try to obtain it, but we're not sure.

I'm really glad you liked the movie. We'll have to wait for the DVD or go to Nashville to see the movie.

I loved the language in the original story, especially the dialogue.

Peter said...

Pamela: I hope you don't have to wait for the DVD. Maybe if Brokeback does well the first few weeks, it will make it in to more theaters.

I liked the dialogue (what there was of it), too. Some people have said the dialogue was wooden and flat, even cliche. I think it was just very accurate to the time and the culture. Dean came of age in rural Utah in the 50's-60's, and was the same age as these characters (even knew guys who worked as sheepherders). He thought it was spot on for the times.

A. D. said...

Come down to Nashville when it opens here (Jan. 6). :-)

Charles said...

I totally agree with your summation here, Peter.

Justin Evans said...


What part of Utah did Dean grow up? I am from Springville, Utah. I would love to know if that sort of thing is not too personal.

Peter said...

Hey Justin:
Dean was born in Springville! Then grew up in Fountain Green, before moving to Salt Lake City as an adult.

And his mother's family name is Evans! So who knows, maybe you two are related! (Her family was from Spanish Fork; her maiden name was Madge Evans).

Anonymous said...

maybe we can have a Nashville party Jan 6. You know, cowboys and stuff. :)

A. D. said...

Oooh that could be fun.

Justin Evans said...


I am going to be home and I will ask my grandmother about Madge Evans. I have a lot of family in Spanish Fork---Shepherd's, Cox's, White's, and Evans's.

I love, absolutely love Fountain Green. I have been there several times.

What I want to do: I want to send you two a copy of my chapbook, Four Way Stop, which is about Springville. I am sending a bunch out to fellow bloggers, so don't even worry about postage. My editor is supposedly sending me more copies as I type this. If they ever arrive, I will e-mail you for a snail mail, and then send you one.

Springville is small, but Fountain Green is tiny!

Peter said...

Justin: Small world. Would love to see the chapbook. I think it would give Dean a smile, too. Back channel for address.

Ivy said...

A friend of mine apparently played pool with Heath Ledger out in Perth, Western Australia.

Unfortunately, she had been too intoxicated to recognise him at the time. Hee! Cracks me up!

Collin said...

We've got tickets for Christmas Eve to see this. Can't wait. Thanks for the review, Peter.

Peter said...

Ivy: that is too funny!
Collin: Bring tissues.

Collin said...

Saw it...didn't love it. Where do I hand in my gay card? lol I wrote a review at my blog with the reasons.