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Film: Brokeback Mountain Forum

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Welcome! Ang Lee continues to surprise with this c ritically acclaimed and sensitive Western romance. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal give outstanding performances as two cowboys who fall in love in 1960's Wyoming. This provocative film is sure to arouse lively debate and discussion. Please join in!

Comments are posted in the order in which they are received, with earlier postings appearing first below on this page. To see the latest postings, click on "Go to last comment" below.

Go to last comment

Name: Andrew
Date: 2005-12-21 13:26:31
Link to this Comment: 17457

Greetings one and all and welcome to the Bryn Mawr Film Institute's online discussion of Brokeback Mountain on Serendip. It is our hope that this forum will allow people to share their insights and questions about a film that has already generated a tremendous amount of interest in its limited release.

Starting on Friday, December 23, Brokeback Mountain will be playing at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute. You can find out more about the film at the BMFI website.

See the film and then come back here to ask questions, provide answers, and stoke the conversation.

Is this film a western?
Name: Andrew
Date: 2005-12-21 13:36:27
Link to this Comment: 17459

Is any film that has horses, cowboy hats, and is set in a state like Wyoming automatically a western? Was Dances with Wolves a western? Sure, it was set in the Great Plains in the Civil War era and it has horses, bison, and Native Americans. But wasn't it more of a (male) melodrama than a western?

I guess the question is: Is iconography everything? By this I mean: are the visual elements (props, character types, locations, etc.) the only, or even dominant, elements that define a genre? Don't issues of subject matter, theme, narrative and more enter into the discussion? If we agree that they do, then to what extent?

Aren't westerns as much if not more about struggles like order vs. chaos, civilization vs. wilderness, law vs. justice, and man vs. nature than they are about the type of hats the characters wear and the animals they ride while wearing them?

Are any of these issues raised in this film?

is it a western?
Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2005-12-21 14:18:25
Link to this Comment: 17460

Good point(s), Andrew. But BROKEBACK is precisely about "struggles like order vs. chaos, civilization vs. wilderness, law vs. justice, and man vs. nature" as well as about being - and I realize you're being provocatively facetious here - "about the type of hats the characters wear and the animals they ride while wearing them." The western is also about a particular landscape or set of landscapes, which BROKEBACK features prominently in the form of the mountains of Wyoming.

I don't want to spoil anything for people who haven't seen the film yet, so I'll cut this commentary short and hopefully pick it up once everyone else has had a chance to see it. The extent of my critique right now is...

"Not enough skin, too many sheep."

The Landscape
Name: Andrew
Date: 2005-12-22 09:21:52
Link to this Comment: 17461

I know that landscape is an important component of the western, and I meant to allude to that when I mentioned locations. But even though that's the case, is Brokeback really concerned with the landscape?

I know it's beautifully shot, and more importantly that one could argue the landscape is the impetus (or rather, the climate is) for the two men initially getting together, but does it really figure into the thematic or narrative struggle?

True, you could say that the "cultural landscape" of red-state Wyoming figures into these questions, but wouldn't these guys have been inclined (or pressured) to keep their secret in most locales in the U.S. in the 1960s?

I'm just not sure that the landscape is as relevant to this film as it typically is to other westerns.

Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2005-12-22 11:24:16
Link to this Comment: 17462

BROKEBACK could have been shot a lot less gorgeously and still been just as much about the Western landscape. These men find themselves and each other both literally and figuratively on a mountain, not in a town. If anything, Lee is overly entranced by the landscape and the livestock; see my earlier comment about "too many sheep," by which I mean that the movie is too doggone perty for my taste. As for these guys being inclined to keep their secret "in most locales in the '60s," do you mean these particular characters or do you mean gay men in general? If the former, I think not. If the latter, definitely not. There were openly gay men in my small town in the early 1960s, just as there were gay men everywhere before Stonewall.

Characters' Secret
Name: Andrew
Date: 2005-12-22 11:50:49
Link to this Comment: 17463

I did mean these particular characters. And while I recognize that there were openly gay men across the country in the 1960s, the men in this film either wanted or felt compelled to have relationships/marriages with women, which I think speaks to their particular reluctance to be open about their personal lives.

But I will also say that I am not familiar enough with this facet of the era's cultural history to speak authoritatively, so you very well may be right about what these men would have or would not have been likely to do.

Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2005-12-25 19:23:16
Link to this Comment: 17466

I love debating with Andrew, but let's get some other folks involved!

As George Raft's lug-faced goon says in SOME LIKE IT HOT when he invites Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis to come out from behind the car after rubbing out Toothpick Charlie and his gang in the St. Valentine's Day massacre:

"Come join us!"

Name: Dawn
Date: 2005-12-27 09:05:56
Link to this Comment: 17467

Well...hello gentlemen. I have been waiting for this movie for over a year, since I found out it was in pre-production I guess. (Yes...I'll admit that it caught my attention becuase Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal star in it) My sister and I saw it last week in Philadelphia (a 2 hour drive for us) and now we are on our way to Bryn Mawr today to see it again.

I didn't think it would be possible for me to be disapointed but I was. The beginning of the movie was spectacular but it went down hill after their reunion after four years. I think the problem is mine and not the movie. I am determined to like it so I am going to see it again.

I am curious as to your first impressions?

Date: 2005-12-27 16:56:30
Link to this Comment: 17469

I loved the movie. I hated the movie.
Maybe it had to tail off so abruptly, the fall out of Garden, the drudgery and frustration of playing it straight intended? Until the crushing end.
This movie has split me apart, shattered a life of defenses. I sat frozen in the theater and am scared to write even this. Too personal, emotional, uncool.
How can this be a love story? All dead, destroyed in the end...

Exteriors and Interiors
Name: Pat
Date: 2005-12-28 10:27:37
Link to this Comment: 17472

The beauty of the landscape contrasted so starkly with the rundown, messy, chaotic interiors (apartments and trailers), especially those where Ennis lived. No wonder he loved to be outdoors.

I agree with the poster who said that she was disappointed in the movie. Although I understood that there was supposed to be longing between the two men, I just didn't feel it. Ennis seemed so passive and depressed that it didn't seem like he even knew what he wanted.

Name: Steve
Date: 2005-12-28 10:45:23
Link to this Comment: 17473

I had travelled 41 some miles from the culturally backward area of the Lehigh Valley twice in one weekend to see this film at the County Theater. Rarely does a film grab you and stay inside for days on end. Brokeback Mountain is a monumental achievement and a watershed for how gay stories are told on film. I fell in love with this film. So many of the characters will stay in my heart for a long time: Ennis, Jack, Jack's parents and Ennis' wife. Wonderful and overwhelming.

The devil speaks
Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2005-12-28 17:40:02
Link to this Comment: 17474

I liked the movie well enough, but I have an insatiable need to play devil's advocate, so let me ask the following questions:

1. Given that afternoon dramas on network TV are essentially soft core skin shows that are accepted as mainstream entertainment all across the country, and given that Jack and Ennis are supposed to have a lifelong and eminently sexual passion for each other, why do we see so little skin in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN? Isn't this just a calculating attempt on Ang Lee's part to have it both ways - to make a gay-themed movie without showing much of that icky gay sex thing guys do with each other?

2. Why did both stars, Jake and Heath, seem to go out of their way in the press to distance themselves from the gay desire at the heart of their own performances? In other words, when playing, say, a vampire, does an actor feel the need to explain to the world that, no, he's not a vampire himself, and in fact he finds the whole thing rather yucky - drinking blood is just not my thing, see? - but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, so I gritted my teeth and kissed him, foul as it was....?

3. Finally: why the sheep? Why so damn many sheep?!Long, lingering shots of sheep. Sheep on the mountain. Sheep in the valley. Sheep sheep sheep! Enough already with the sheep!

Attack at will.

In response...
Name: Jill
Date: 2005-12-28 18:23:56
Link to this Comment: 17475

I totally agree with Pat, that was so well said, Ennis really did seem so depressed that it was hard to believe he had so much love for Jack.

After seeing it the second time I feel better about it. There were little things I caught the second time that helped me to understand Ennis's love for Jack. But overall, I have to say that although I knew it was SUPPOSED to be heartbreaking, I didn't feel it as I thought I would. Definitely a haunting really sticks with you after seeing it.

As for the devil's advocate, I am not great with explaining myself but here goes...

1- I think they did a good job with the love scenes. Although there should have been another one closer to the end of the movie. I think if they had added a lot more it would have appeared as though they were trying to prove they weren't afraid to show skin.

2- I have read A LOT of interviews with both Heath and Jake regarding the movie and I have never heard them defend themselves as not being gay. I have heard them say repeated that the scenes were uncomfortable and they tried to do their best, but they were asked about it so I guess they were just being honest.
I really liked the way you compared it to an actor playing a vampire though, nicely done!

3- Sheep! Well, their job was to take care of the sheep....

the largeness within
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: 2005-12-29 11:56:25
Link to this Comment: 17477

My son and I went to see this movie last night (I didn't want to see it alone), and we left the theater feeling sad. This was a hard one, as a friend had warned me it would be: about finding the love you need, not being able to let yourself have it, and destroying yourself and your lover in the process.

So: being sheep, following the pack, being eviscerated by the wolves--that all seemed to me to work as part of this story line. As did the western setting...

ten years ago, Jane Tompkins wrote a book called West of Everything: The Inner life of Westerns, which looks @ how popular novels and films of the American west have shaped our emotional lives--in particular how they have taught men how to behave. Tompkins says that westerns countered the inwardness, spirituality and domesticity being celebrated by female sentimental writers with a violent, hard-bitten code of behavior, one that valorized controlling the wildness of the emotional self--in an incontrollably wild landscape. So...

(pretty clear where this is going) I saw Brokeback Mountain as a contribution to (and alteration of, and intervention in) the genre made up of films like Red River and Lonely are the Brave: it uses the astonishing beauty of the West, the sense of the overwhelming largeness and uncontrollability of that landscape, as the site for exploring the largeness of the self, those huge inward emotional needs Westerns traditionally haven't been willing to look @ ('this thing got a-holt of us again') --

and which this movie does: awkwardly, fitfully, painfully.

Date: 2005-12-29 16:31:03
Link to this Comment: 17478

I noticed that the Film Institute ia holding 2 discussions abou the movie. I've never been to a film discussion and was wondering if anyone has been to one before or is planning to go to either of the discussions about "Brokeback"?

Name: Andrew
Date: 2005-12-29 17:14:23
Link to this Comment: 17479

I've been to a discussion at the BMFI, but as the Director of Education there, I'm perhaps not exactly and unbiased observer, either. The PCP group is more focused on character motivation and behavior and the ways those are represented on screen. The Monday night group is more focused on the film in general, and how the film uses and approaches different aspects of cinema. Both can be quite lively and attract diverse audiences, depending on the film. I suspect that, if the online discussion thus far is any indication, the discussions for this film will be quite spirited.

cain't keep his mouth shut
Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2005-12-29 17:33:53
Link to this Comment: 17480

Thanks to the new responders! Welcome aboard!

Just a few comments, 'cause unlike the classic Marlboro Man western hero, this feller cain't keep his durn mouth shut:

Who said this film was "supposed to be heartbreaking?" Supposed by whom? Never listen to critics! If your heart wasn't broken by it, maybe you and the filmmaker are more on the same wavelength than the critics were with him. Personally, I think Ang Lee films this story in a fairly distanced way - one that invites introspection and contemplation rather than melodramatic weeping.

Anne: Can any genre, the western included, really teach men - or women - how to behave? Isn't it more the other way around? In other words, don't real men and women define the behaviors represented in art? I'm just skeptical of theories of culture that encourage us to think that human beings learn more from the screen or the book than from the real people - families, friends, enemies - that surround us in our daily lives from the moment we were born. I mean, I love John Wayne, but he didn't teach me how to be a man.

Name: Juliet
Date: 2005-12-29 18:46:05
Link to this Comment: 17481

I love this discussion and it is illuminating my own appreciation of this movie. I have found myself haunted by the movie and can't wait to see it another few times. The landscape shrinks in this movie as the life options for the two men just a glimpse out the trailer window. So I do feel the landscape works. It is a place to explode and explore, yet when one cannot do that, when one lives a false life and all fails, that same landscape becomes only a postcard from a life not lived.

As for the sheep... they were told they would "sleep with sheep" before going up the mountain. Does that refer to their sexual style? To their fear of sleeping with each other? To their containing a violence hidden beneath their outer "fur" (as in sheep's clothing)? I go too far, perhaps.

And as for skin, I think Ang Le showed just enough and not too much. It made his point more clearly because it did not offend those in the audience who harbor homophobia or who are just reserved. This, the making of the theme accessible to a wide audience, is one of the great contributions of the film. And one that would not have happened if he had shown alot more skin....More after I see it again

great ideas...
Name: Jill
Date: 2005-12-29 20:13:36
Link to this Comment: 17482

Wow! I really enjoy reading the comments on this board. Everyone has such great things to contribute.

I had not noticed the shrinking of the landscape throughout the movie, but it is absolutely the case. What a great observation.

I also agree that the movie was shot in a way that encourages viewers to really think about it rather than cry about it. I hope I interpreted your post correctly and that is what you meant.

What an incredible movie this is to spark such great discussions! I will need to see it again (hopefully soon)!

Lack of sex?
Name: Sam
Date: 2005-12-29 23:40:57
Link to this Comment: 17483

I think it's interesting with the amount of skin/sex shown in the movie. While watching it, I first felt that the relationship between Jack and Ennis was purely lustful and physical, but then as the movie progressed, they did truly love each other. I think that's what Ang Lee wanted to show in the movie. Their first encounter is the most graphic, and their relationship gets less physical (at least what we see) as the movie progresses (they passionately make out when they first see each other again, then towards the end they rarely touch each other). This shows the characters changing their relationship from being physical to emotional, and I think Lee did a great job showing that.

My 2.5
Name: Lise
Date: 2005-12-30 01:13:09
Link to this Comment: 17484

Just saw the film tonight in Ambler (thank you, Ambler Theater, for bringing a fresh breath of air to the oft stagnant commercial fare).

I agree with previous posters, that it is refreshing to see so many thoughtful responses posted here on an (unmoderated?) site.

Anne – well stated. Although my take on the film was perhaps less connected with the affect of films on culture, I agree that the landscape represented “uncharted territory” from several angles – the discovery of sexuality to discovery of self. It also represents a purity - a brutal honesty that cannot be denied.

Ed – I infer that from you comment re: “supposed to be heartbreaking” that Lee did not mean for it to be so; and, one can perhaps glean optimism from the end of the movie and Ennis’ growing (i.e., non-laconic) relationship with his daughter. However, is Lee’s take the same as Proulx?

Heartbreaking? I think the scene at Jack’s parent’s house was very palpably so; so much spoken with nothing being said. It was, for me, the best scene in the film.

Also, I disagree that films and television do not teach “us” to behave, or even, how to think. Although such a discussion is too lengthy and perhaps not appropriate for this site, there are so many examples of how people are influenced to think based simply on what they are told others do or think or how they behave.

SPOILER AHEAD – Please do not read if you have not seen the movie:

Question: When Ennis finds his shirt in Jack’s closet, was that Jack’s or Ennis’ jean jacket on top of it? I noted at the end of the film the shirt was on top of the jacket, and found this to be quite symbolic of Ennis’ final acceptance of/love for Jack. Am I reading into this too far?

My 2.5
Name: Lise
Date: 2005-12-30 01:17:27
Link to this Comment: 17485

Sorry - that should have been: "Although my take on the film was perhaps less connected with the effect of films on culture...." - darn spellcheck! :)

Recognizing Love
Name: Kathy
Date: 2005-12-30 09:53:41
Link to this Comment: 17487

Brokeback Mountain had more of an impact on me than just about any film I can remember. I am possessed, and wanted to respond to some of the comments here on this bulletin board.

Did Ennis love Jack and express his love? Absolutely. Ennis is a character who expresses little if any emotion other than anger, which explodes in violence when the pressure gets too great on him. He is visibly devastated when a storm cuts short his summer with Jack, and sits alone, dejected in a field of tall, golden grass. When Jack lassoes him, trying to initiate a goodbye roll in the grass, he lashes out, punching Jack, knocking him down and casting a pall on their ride back to town.

He is able to leave Jack in town, but he can’t avoid breaking down, retching in an alley, and punching a wall in desperate frustration.

When Jack, raging ice blue spring river roaring behind him, gets upset at Ennis’ decision to postpone their next meeting by three months, Ennis breaks down, sinking to the ground in utter dejection and tears. He’s frustrated at his poverty and broken life, but he’s also a man very much in love during a time when homosexuality was considered a deviant behavior, rather than one kind of human identity.

Is Ennis depressed the whole film? Hardly. Think of the joy on his face and in his demeanor when Jack comes to town four years after their summer together. In that scene, he is the man he would be, could he live with his lover. Other scenes, all of them in the mountains, show Ennis playfully jibing Jack’s harmonica playing, smiling at his partner, or coming up behind him and hugging him.

The saddest moments in the film, for me, come when Ennis and Jack speak of their relationship. They never say “I love you,” referring instead to “this thing” that so consumes them.

“I never thought I’d be back in this thing,” Jack says when he reunites with Ennis for the first time.

“Ain’t no reins on this thing,” Ennis says sitting with Jack by the river and talking about why they can’t live together.

Ennis seems to recognize love only after it is gone. He mourns Jack’s death and creates a little shrine to his lover, ironically, in the closet.

If love comes again to Ennis, will he accept it? Hard to say. He chooses to live as he always has, alone, isolated, in a sparsely furnished place. He does agree, yet again, to quit his job in order to attend an important event, this time, the wedding of his daughter.

The film is heartrending, not just because the characters and their story are so deeply compelling, but because the reality for gays and lesbians today hasn’t changed enough from the crushing, suffocating reality portrayed in Brokeback Mountain.

The movie may teach filmgoers of many stripes that homosexuality isn’t just about sex—it’s also about love—but this doesn’t change the fact that gay men and lesbians still can’t live together openly in many communities in our country. Too many are rejected by their families, have to be circumspect at their jobs and can lose custody of their children.

I have too many gay friends who have died young, after abusing their bodies with drug and alcohol addiction or contracting AIDS. Backward, ignorant attitudes in our society keep the rate of depression and suicide in the gay community unacceptably high.

What’s wrong with our culture that we have such a hard time with sexual diversity?

I hope many curious people go to see Brokeback Mountain, and then see it again.

I hope it has the ability to change attitudes, at least among those with open minds.

I hope, most of all, that allies of the gay community grow much more forceful in their support, and far less tolerant of the discrimination that is so cynically exploited by many in government and organized religion.

If the overwhelming sadness that Brokeback Mountain engenders galvanizes this kind of action, it is the most important film to come along in a very long time.

To Lise...
Date: 2005-12-30 11:38:54
Link to this Comment: 17488

The shirts in that scene are the ones they were wearing on Brokeback mountain when Jack playfully lassoing Ennis turned into the two of them fighting and eventually led to Ennis bleeding. That is why the dried blood is on the sleeve when Ennis first finds the shirts in Jack's room. When they are standing at Jack's truck, ready to leave Brokeback, Ennis also refers to the shirt when he says "I can't believe I left my shirt up there" and Jack shrugs it off.

When I read the story, that was the part that I felt was most powerful and felt the same way when I saw the movie. Jack kept Ennis's shirt inside his own all those years the way he kept him inside his heart and mind. I thought it really said a lot when the shirts were switched at the end. At that point it is Ennis who is holding onto Jack. Thus the last line, "Jack, I swear". I took that to be Ennis swearing to always love him and keep him close.

The last line of the story is, "If you can't fix it, you gotta stand it" how powerful is that!? Ennis's words coming back to him!

Ok...done for now!

Re: Recognizing Love
Name: Lise
Date: 2005-12-30 11:50:51
Link to this Comment: 17489

Kathy - Unlike others here, I was unaware of the movie until earlier this spring when I saw a trailer for it during a matinee for the movie "Crash" at a "mainstream" movie theater ("Crash" is another important film about social conditioning and (in)tolerances). I sensed within the first seconds what the story was to be about and tried to gauge audience (mostly 65+) reaction. Surprisingly, no one flinched, squirmed or "whispered" negatively (as I have seen in the not so distant past).

Of course, as with any important social movement, it requires great patience and perserverance. One step forward; two back and all that.

However, the fact that this movie is recently reported to have had the highest per-screen average over the holiday weekend speaks volumes.

Maybe the "mountain" can be moved after all.

The shirts
Name: Lise
Date: 2005-12-30 11:54:08
Link to this Comment: 17490

Thanks for confirming my thoughts "Anonymous!" Yes, very powerful indeed. Do you wonder what happens to Ennis? I do. Guess that remarks strongly on the film, n'est-ce pas? : )

Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2005-12-30 17:25:19
Link to this Comment: 17494

" Ed – I infer that from you comment re: “supposed to be heartbreaking” that Lee did not mean for it to be so; and, one can perhaps glean optimism from the end of the movie and Ennis’ growing (i.e., non-laconic) relationship with his daughter. However, is Lee’s take the same as Proulx?"

No - I actually don't care what the director means! (Well, sometimes I do. In this case, maybe - maybe not!) What I mean to say is just that people shouldn't burden themselves with other people's expectations about what they are "supposed" to feel with movies. Some people may find BROKEBACK heartbreaking, but that doesn't mean that you do, or should.

And now that you bring it up, I hate that scene between Ennis and his daughter precisely because it injects what is to me an unnecessary element of optimism in a tragic story. There is, if I'm not misremembering, a suggestion *at the beginning* of Proulx's story that Ennis is about to move in with his daughter, but she ends the story with him alone with his memories - and intertwined shirts!

Date: 2005-12-31 00:43:02
Link to this Comment: 17495


Name: Twins
Date: 2005-12-31 08:45:01
Link to this Comment: 17496

To Lise, the anonymous thing was me...sorry I always forget to fill in the name space.

Hi Ed...I can't say that I think the last scene injects uneccessary optimism. In the short story the author ends with the line "if you can't fix it, you gotta stand it." I think that the whole last scene, from him putting the numbers on the mailbox, to the conversation with his daughter, and then the shirts, was all meant to show the audience what the rest of Ennis' life would be like. He had created the situation he was in, and those final events were to show how he was going to "stand it" for the long haul.

Please...feel free to disagree...

Name: Joy Fogel
Date: 2005-12-31 13:23:21
Link to this Comment: 17497

First of all let me say that without reservation, this is the greatest film of the year. I couldn't be more impressed with it., just little question?? Why emphasis on Shirts?? Daughter., sweater., lover shirt smell?? Did the editing cut out smell of shirt shown in previews??

A second appreciation
Name: Juliet
Date: 2005-12-31 14:39:55
Link to this Comment: 17498

I have now seen the movie a second time and think it is a bit more sentimental and manipulative than I previously thought. Jack Twist is not a lovable character (the director even gives him the black hat to wear.) His marrying Lenore for money is perhaps his worst trait. He and Ennis may have initiated their romance because of circumstances (who/what else was there?), but the main reason they continue it seems to be because they know each other's secret craving, not because they have constructed a real love relationship. Jack's failings make Ennis' love for him somewhat implausible. On second viewing I found it a bit slow at times, a pace much slower than the original short story, by the way.

Notwithstanding, I still find the movie haunting, magnificently acted and photographed with splendid scenic symbolism and imagery....and a vivid treatment of the plight of homosexuals in that time and place.

the way you look at it
Name: Susan
Date: 2005-12-31 17:59:31
Link to this Comment: 17499

Being new to the BMFI and certainly this chat, I read through all the postings a few times to get a gauge of where people were. Whether favorable or critical "reviews," it seems clear that the film accomplished what art is supposed to do: express the vision of the artist, and spark the imagination of the viewer. In particular, I agree with Ed's comment that Brokeback "invites introspection and contemplation." What more could Lee have asked? So we each bring and take away something different from the experience because of our uniqueness.
As for me: I too became intrigued on seeing a trailer months ago; sought out the Proulx story; and greatly anticipated the film. My opinion only: if there were a dozen bad frames in the entire film, it was a lot. The long shot of the pickup against the mountain-such isolation; the blonding of Anne Hathaway's character-increasing phoniness, of her life and Jack's; yes,the shirts--how many of us haven't held a memento and recalled the depth of its meaning. Heartbreaking? Depends on what kind of heart you have.
Fascinating to me also is how specifically the posters are dissecting nuances in this film, from Juliet's "black hat" to "all the sheep." You have individually approached it in terms of its sociological import, filmmaking qualities, human relations (no, Kathy, I don't think films change attitudes), and academic underpinings. Ultimately, I find myself agreeing most with Juliet and others who called Brokeback "haunting," and a film that won't leave you. Last point: how soon will the DVD be out?

Name: Twins
Date: 2005-12-31 19:56:57
Link to this Comment: 17500

Wow! I feel like I have to reply to Juliet's post, even though I do not totally disagree with your second impressions.

I too noticed the hats when watching the film and wondered if there was symbolism to Jack's black hat and Ennis's white hat.

I agree that Jack had shortcomings, he was far from a flawless character.

The statement was made that "the main reason they continue [the relationshiop] seems to be because they know each other's secret craving, not because they have constructed a real love relationship". In a previous post someone said that it started out very physical and then changed as they got older. By the end of the movie they barely touch each other. I think it is very clear that there are deep feelings on the part of both men. They both made self-destructive descions and tried to pull away from their feelings because it was the only way they knew to deal with them.

I can not believe how thought provoking this movie is. I have seen it twice (Monday will be the third time)and can not stop thinking about it...haunting is such a great word to describe it! Keep posting people! I love the comments and opinions.

Name: K
Date: 2006-01-01 18:36:41
Link to this Comment: 17503

I saw the movie last night and thought it was OK.

I also thought it started out great and kind of fizzled out.

However, as the day passed I found myself thinking about the movie. Maybe it was the photography... which was breathtaking, the story.. I was a little disappointed. (I have been to the Tetons and the movie captures beautifully)

Boys Don't Cry left a profound impact on me, the story and acting were great, but this movie, I am not so sure

Name: PFM
Date: 2006-01-01 20:04:46
Link to this Comment: 17504

The cruelty of the "western culture" that would not allow two men to express their true feelings for each other is also exemplified by the cruelty of the rodeo where man shows his "dominance" over a supposedly wild horse or bull, in actuality an animal reacting to the pain of the bucking strap near his groin. (In a rodeo one can see the horse stop bucking as soon as the strap is loosened.) Both men apparently fail to grasp this cruelty in their common "macho" background.

Not sure yet
Name: C
Date: 2006-01-01 23:50:13
Link to this Comment: 17506

I wanted to love this film but I am just not there yet. I need to see it again. Noticing the black and white hats I was set up to expect Jack as the “bad guy” and in many ways he did not disappoint. I felt he was opportunistic in all aspects of his life from finding men to satiate his desire to marrying a woman for money.

The thing that bothered me the most was that I felt the initial sex scene came out of nowhere and that Ennis went along far too easily. I just don’t believe that Jack could break this bronco that easily.

Jack keeping the shirt did indicate some sort of attachment and perhaps love for Ennis. However, we see him pursue other men throughout the entire film and in the end learn that he was regularly seeing another man besides Ennis who he was about to move to the family farm.

I think Jack was trying to find that one man that he could settle down with, but it was quite difficult in a time when very few were openly gay. He relied on trysts and clandestine trips to another country. Ennis satisfied his need for a relationship until someone better came along. In the end we find out that Jack perhaps found what he was looking for in a relationship and it was not with Ennis. That was the most heartbreaking aspect of the film for me.

As for their physical relationship lessening, I don’t think it did, we just did not see it on film. Jack indicated this when he tried to explain to Ennis why he went to Mexico for male prostitutes. They only see each other about twice a year and Jack needs it much more often. So I think we can assume that when they did meet they were physically intimate.

Name: Lise
Date: 2006-01-02 01:21:09
Link to this Comment: 17507

I find it interesting that some here find that the symbolism conveyed by the black/white hats is necessarily "good" vs. "bad." Having not read the Proulx story, I do not know if this detail was conveyed therein but, if not, perhaps we should view any symbolism that may reside in these details from Mr. Lee's Taiwanese heritage/perspective. Irrespective of from where this feature arose, I tend to look at it with more of the Eastern "eye" - i.e., more of a "yin"/"yang" concept, particularly since neither character was unflawed (but then, who is?) and both complimented (even, completed) each other.

Name: Twins
Date: 2006-01-02 08:16:39
Link to this Comment: 17508

To C...your statement, "I wanted to love this film but I am just not there yet. I need to see it again." is exactly how I felt when I left the theater the first time. I wasn't sure that I actally bought the relationship between the two of them. I would recommend going to see it again.

After I saw it the second time I saw so many things that really showed the characters' love for each other. I personally think the last scene between Jack and Ennis really showed the love between the two of them and what their relationship had come to. I have to agree that Jack was opportunistic and made bad choices, I beleive he did it because his life was just out of control. Does that make it As someone said in an earlier post, Jack really is not a lovable character, but I found myself feeling sorry for him anyway.

As for the first sex scene, I kinda thought the same thing, "where the heck did that come from" all I can say is to remember they were VERY drunk and Ennis was half a sleep. You can tell that Ennis wakes up the next morning wondering what the heck he did. There was a bond developing between them, you could see that in the comment, "...that's the most I said in a year", made by Ennis.

I don't think Jack was only with Ennis "till something better came along". I think Ennis was the love of his life but Jack was very frustrated because he wanted to be with him and Ennis wouldn't have it. I think the whole second half of the movie shows how the relationship destroyed both of their lives. Jack used Mexico and the other rancher as a substitute for Ennis. Those trysts are a large contributor to why it is hard to believe in the charcters' love for each other.

To Lise...I like what you said about the hats representing the differences in the characters...more of a ying/yang kind of thing. I absolutely agree. I thought it was funny when I read that because Jake Gyllenhaal said the same thing: "The characters were more of a ying and a yang and they fit together."

Ok I'm done! One last question for everyone...what made you originally go to see the movie? For me, I am a fan of both Heath and Jake and heard about the movie a year ago. I decided I had to see it.

another dimension
Name: Susan
Date: 2006-01-02 10:08:24
Link to this Comment: 17511

How I love the passion this film has generated. I have one other wrinkle to add. A week before I saw it, I bought the soundtrack. The instrumental music by Gustavo Santaolalla (really) is both as stripped down and complex as the characters and setting. It is amazing listening to the songs in the context of the specific theme. Willie Nelson does Bob Dylan's "He was a Friend of Mine." Emmy Lou Harris sings a song by Santaolalla and Bernie Taupin (Elton John's writing partner) called "A Love that Will Never Grow Old." There are Santaolalla songs called "I Don't Want to Say Goodbye," "I Will Never Let You Go," and "No One's Gonna Love You Like Me" that apparently were scored for the movie. If you have any question about the love of the characters for each other, listen to the words and music. For those who know Rufus Wainwright, his "The Maker Makes" played over the closing credits, is nearly the perfect haunting tone.
Not since the new Beatles albums came out (I've dated myself) have I played music over and over and OVER. CDs don't wear out like vinyl though.

Name: Shane
Date: 2006-01-02 17:11:57
Link to this Comment: 17512

Hi everyone. My name is Shane. I'm a Libra and like pierogies.

I love the languid pace of Brokeback. I can't remember a recent movie with less dialogue. I am typically drawn to movies with interesting, witty dialogue, but I really appreciated the long pauses and silences. Ironically, I think this is maybe the most "manly" film I've seen in a long time, with the cigarettes, repression, and, you know, sheep.

Some of my co-workers have felt like there was no real chemistry between Ennis and Jack, but I think, to Ang Lee's credit, he keeps it subtle. Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss this isn't. My favorite scene is Ennis just completely losing it when Jack leaves for the first time, thinking he'll never see him again.

Unfortunately, I think all this praise being lavished upon Brokeback will promptly start a backlash in 3...2...1...

Jack's death
Name: David
Date: 2006-01-02 19:57:58
Link to this Comment: 17513

Just curious if anyone thinks Jack's father-in-law might have had something to do with his death.

Jack's father
Name: David
Date: 2006-01-02 20:34:39
Link to this Comment: 17514

Jack's father certainly was a bitter man and obviously disliked gay people. The mother, though, knew the story or she wouldn't have asked Ennis to return. I needed to see the movie twice and I must say I learned a lot the second time. What a powerful story of love that will never be.

My 3 Cents
Date: 2006-01-02 20:54:07
Link to this Comment: 17516

This forum's comments are one really good example of the extrodinary journey this film takes you on. How many movies have we all seen that we can barely remember anything worth talking about, even immediately after seeing it? This film (like it or hate it, gay or straight) has substance to cause talk and debate long after the credits roll. All should see this movie that slowly simmers to a boil and not necessarily during the 2 hour movie timeframe.

What happened to Jack...
Name: chuck hamm
Date: 2006-01-03 00:46:46
Link to this Comment: 17517

A friend and I disagree about what exactly happens to Jack. Here's my take. I'd love to hear what other folks think. (This is based on the short story, not the film.)

Ultimately, we don't know what happened to Jack. Ennis' is not the authorial voice. Despite the fact that he says he knows Jack was murdered, in truth whatever happened happened outside his experience and he doesn't really know.

It's important to remember when Ennis makes his claim to knowledge. He's with Jack's parents; Jack's father has just told Ennis that Jack planned to leave his wife and move back to the family ranch with a friend to help manage it. Earlier in the text Ennis says what he and Jack get up to isn't "queer," but it would be with anyone else. Now he understands that Jack was involved in a "queer" relationship, and what happens in Ennis' experience to "queers?" They get killed, like the man his father took him to see when he was a child. These are local leaps, but leaps nonetheless: Ennis' conjectures aren't facts.

Finally, there's no textual reason to doubt the testimony of Jack's wife. She's depicted as cold, as well she might be to her husband's lover, but there's nothing to suggest that she's lying.

Well, what do you think? I suppose the next logical question would be why it was important for Ennis to believe Jack was murdered.

Jack's death
Name: David
Date: 2006-01-03 07:56:37
Link to this Comment: 17520

Jack's father tells Ennis that Jack planned to leave his wife and move back to the family ranch with a friend to help manage it. Jack has probably announced this plan to his wife and her family as well, and Jack is out of the closet now, so to speak. Jack's relationship with his father-in-law was poor from the start. The father-in-law is arrogant and likes to assert his authority, like the scene at the dinner table when there is a power struggle between the two men. I believe the father-in-law is full of hatred and capable of murder, which is what makes me think Jack's father-in-law may have had a hand in arranging Jack's 'accident.' Jack's wife is cold but she is more than merely cold to Jack on the phone. She actually hangs up on Jack without saying goodbye as if she knows Ennis was Jack's lover.

Jack's death
Name: David
Date: 2006-01-03 11:34:28
Link to this Comment: 17521

It's important for Ennis to beleive that Jack is murdered because it confirms the fate he believes to be inevitable for same sex relationships, based on his social conditioning and early experience as a boy when his father took him to see the murdered and sexually mutilated body of the dead man. Ennis would not allow his relationship with Jack to be known publicly because he believed it would be so socially unacceptable that it/they would suffer the same fate. Jack's death confirms Ennis' belief and the impossibility of taking their relationship to the next level and living and loving openly together, which was Jack's wish--and ultimately his death wish.

classic American struggle
Name: Ann
Date: 2006-01-03 14:09:01
Link to this Comment: 17522

I thought this film depicted a classic American struggle between individuality/being true to oneself and the responsiblities/confinement of society and social constructs. While the two men were "outsiders" to society and had to actually be "outside" in the huge natural world of possibilities to be themselves, Jack envisioned a world where society's expectations and tolerance was large enough to accept their relationship and individuality. The tragedy of the film is the inability of one of the men to overcome his internalized homophobia and the tragic end of the other before he has the opportunity to create that world.

(If you're interested in an important academic paper from an anthropological perspective which addresses this topic, see Culture as Disability.)

My reaction to the film surprised me, because I expected to feel like I was on the side of the men, that they should be true to themselves, move in together and live happily ever after. While I felt some of that, my stronger reaction was that of a mom: what are they thinking, dumping their kids and running away for a tryst in the mountains? So perhaps all of our reactions to the film are more informed by our own experiences and stories than we may think.

interviews with Annie Proulx
Date: 2006-01-03 15:31:03
Link to this Comment: 17523 and

Jack's Death
Name: Twins
Date: 2006-01-03 16:14:00
Link to this Comment: 17524

Well...first of all, I don't think Jack would have ever moved up to his parents' ranch with the other man. When his father mentioned this to Ennis, the point was that this was just one more thing that Jack said was going to happen and it never did. I doubt that he would have told his wife and her family about this plan. I see it as being a lot like the situation with Ennis...Jack thought and hoped it would happen but it never did.

I do not think that Jack's father in-law had a hand in his death. He disliked him but I don't believe he hated him enough to kill him. He simply thought he wasn't good enough for his daughter. From the reaction of Lorene on the phone, I think she knew there was something more to Jack and Ennis's relationship.

I think we were supposed to wonder whether the story about the accident is true or if Ennis is right about Jack being murdered. We aren't actually told in the movie or in the story. I agree with the person who said that Ennis believed that he was murdered because, in his experience, that's what happens to "boys like [Jack]". I personally think that Jack was murdered and the story about the accident was invented. Notice when Ennis calls Lorene and asks what happend, she pauses and tears up before she answers the question. Maybe I'm just reading too much into that.

Name: Shane
Date: 2006-01-03 17:38:51
Link to this Comment: 17525

Ann, I kind of felt the same way about them. I pretty much always dislike adulterous characters, and that their affairs are with members of the same sex does not make more acceptable, though possibly more tragic. We see too much of the pain Ennis's wife is enduring for us to unequivicolly want to see the men get together. The film wants them to be together at the beginning; I'm not sure it still wants that later on.

I think it's a cautionary tale about trying to be someone you are not. Ennis and Jack were not meant to have wives, or perhaps children (though Ennis seems like an okay kind of dad), and the ripples from these mistakes are far-reaching. I think there were/are a lot of gay people married to someone of the opposite sex for reasons of fear, unacceptance, and self-loathing. Given our current political climate, I take the message to be one of anti-conservatism. Things were not better or simpler 30 or 40 years ago, though it may appear that way on the surface. Those that wish to return us to a more "innocent" time would do well to remember that.

adults and adultery
Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2006-01-03 17:59:20
Link to this Comment: 17526

"While I felt some of that, my stronger reaction was that of a mom: what are they thinking, dumping their kids and running away for a tryst in the mountains? So perhaps all of our reactions to the film are more informed by our own experiences and stories than we may think."

I see where you're coming from, Ann, but neither man dumped anybody. They'd have been better off if they had. They cheated on their wives - and by cheating, I don't mean that they simply had sex with someone other than the person to whom they were married, but rather that they did it behind those women's backs. (Unrelated observation: does nobody else but me think that Hillary Clinton, a brilliant woman, obviously knew that her husband fooled around and may have even agreed to it, however tacitly? Why nobody even considers that possibility is a measure of our Puritanical culture.)

My point is: nobody got dumped. Not the wives, not the kids. Ennis's wife leaves him, after all. Jack's wife doesn't seem especially phased by Jack's nature, either. Nobody gets dumped but Jack, that is. He got dumped by Ennis, who couldn't bring himself to do what Jack was at least considering, namely: being the man he was and living the life he wanted to live with the man he loved.

By the way, I like pierogies too. And kielbasa. In fact, I'm going to snack on some now, so when my partner gets home I'll be able to greet him with kielbasa breath. That Ennis denied Jack that particular pleasure is, to my mind, unforgiveable.

Jack's Death
Name: wes horner
Date: 2006-01-03 18:10:45
Link to this Comment: 17527

For me, Jack must have been tire ironed. Blasted away by changing a flat? That doesn't make sense or do justice. There are too many hints, from the all too real dead old guy to the scene in the bar where Jack tries to pick up the clown who walks over to the pooltable where some tire iron things are getting said to the Employment Boss and his trailer sign "Trespassers will be shot...Survivors shot again." No question about it. For me (the uncool guy that lost it early on above), the tire iron was inevitable. At that final climatic scene where the two of them part after Ennis folds up, pleading to be freed of Jack and Jack watches the trailer slowing dissolve away, his face is final, resigned. I think he realizes their love must end, must die. In my mind, he goes out, goes too far and certainly not by accident, and brings the tire iron on himself. As Lureen postures on the phone, the falseness of it all, of the so-called accident, of their lives together is given away by the tears that well up. Astounding scene after astounding scene.
I am still doubled over from this movie. I can't let it go. I can't let Jack go (though my story is that of Ennis) and I can't let harsh words be spoken about Jack. He is so caring, early on tending to Ennis' lacerations, so sharing and so loving, to the very end when he takes Ennis in his arms. And I think Gyllenhaals work here, in its own way, is as overwhelming as Ledger's. I need to talk more.

Name: Lois
Date: 2006-01-03 21:57:28
Link to this Comment: 17528

I first read "Brokeback Mountain" when it was initially published in the New Yorker. I was so moved by the story that I pulled out the pages and saved them for years, eventually replacing them with a copy of Close Range: Wyoming Stories.

I was absolutely thrilled when I saw the preview for the movie, first because my favorite story was made into a movie, and second because it featured relatively popular mainstream actors. Wow.

I need to see it again to really measure how I feel about it. If a movie ends movingly for me, as this one did, I can feel a rush of love for it. Afterwards I analyze my response to it, and am left unsure. A second viewing will help me decide. I agree that it has left me thinking, and I certainly want to love it.

The movie Jack did not match my vision of Jack from the story. It felt like the movie went out of its way to almost sissify Jack – the dinner scene with his father-in-law, the comments questioning whether or not that whelp (I don’t think that was the exact word, but the feeling is true) really used to ride the bulls (“well, he used to try”), his inability to shoot the coyote, etc. The Jack of the story seemed as tough and “manly” as Ennis to me, and I don’t understand why the movie made him softer. Read Annie Proulx’s comments in the first link posted by anonymous, and you will she that she also had a different Jack in mind (although was not unhappy with the revised one).

The other difference between story and movie for me is seeing the impact these men have on the lives of others. After seeing the movie, I said, “Oh, Alma wasn’t all upset like she was in the movie. She made the comment about the fishing line, but …” So I reread the story, and I was wrong. It’s all there (the impact, minus the details), but took the big screen to really bring that to life for me. She suffered.

Regarding why Ennis needed to believe that Jack was killed. In junior high or early high school, I remember that we read a short story called “The Lady, or the Tiger?” by Frank Stockton. The entire class, including those who hated reading, was energized by a similar question: “did she choose the lady or the tiger for her lover?” I don’t per se think Annie Proulx wrote the death ambiguously with intent to stir discussion, but I think her point in the second anonymous link is very interesting: “How different readers take the story is a reflection of their own personal values, attitudes, hang-ups. It is my feeling that a story is not finished until it is read, and that the reader finishes it through his or her life experience, prejudices, world view and thoughts.” So I do think she wrote it to spur thought, and that Ennis’ life, with its particular framing, would make him assume the tire iron (whereas Lureen would want to keep up the front regardless of what she believed – and I do agree twins() and West that she “knew” at least on some level about Jack and Ennis).

I am puzzled by the negative comments about Jack, since I find him to be the more sympathetic character (my world view at play??) Jack was the one who took all of the risks with Ennis (from the initial intimacy, to his suggestions that they get a place together, to driving 1300 miles when he read about Ennis’ divorce, to his pleas for more time together, etc.) Recall that he went to Mexico in the movie after Ennis sent him away when he showed up post-divorce (I think both movie and short story are ambiguous on whether he went there regularly). I agree with Wes about his tenderness also.

Ennis, on the other hand, was driven by fear / societal constraints, and struggled to express himself without using violence. I found Ennis to be a sympathetic character, torn by desire, external expectations, and his responsibilities, but I found Jack to be even more so, since he was so willing to give and take risks, and seemed the more heart-broken of the two on a day-to-day basis.

A friend said that if the movie had been done with more melodrama, it might have been a 5 to 10 tissue movie. I read with interest Annie Proulx’s comment of “My writing is not sentimental and neither is Ang Lee's film”. I’m left wondering what a sentimental rendering would look like, and if we’d still be talking about it as much! ;-) The feeling of unfulfilled longing / pain is at least part of what sticks with me from the story and the film.

thanks for thinking
Name: Susan
Date: 2006-01-03 22:14:45
Link to this Comment: 17530

Thanks to whomever posted the links to the interviews with Annie Proulx. They further informed the conversation and insights. In one, she underscores what many have mentioned....that response to the story and film is in large part a function of experience.
As a writer, I was particularly struck by her comments about how the characters were as real to her as "oxygen-breathing" people. I know that feeling all too well.
Recently I talked to well-respected friends who DID NOT like Brokeback for its lack of "character development." The less we are told about Ennis and Jack, the more we are forced to make our own assessment, and that is yet another power of this movie.
It seems that many of us are like Wes who said he needed to talk more. I haven't experienced a movie that has taken hold of me like this in a very long time. Thanks, too, to all the opinions on Jack's death, which is elusive in its truth. Will this go on forever?

dumping the kids
Name: Ann
Date: 2006-01-03 22:22:27
Link to this Comment: 17531

In my previous post, I wrote about how the men dumping their kids to go off together was a barrier to me, and I couldn't be totally on their side. Ed, while it's true that Alma got custody in their divorce, we see a couple of scenes where Ennis stuffs clothes in his bag to leave with Jack for a weekend or a week at a time. We also see Ennis bring his two very young kids to the grocery where Alma is working and say he has to leave for a job. This is what I meant about dumping the kids, not taking responsibility for their care. Alma had a tough life.

Jack also left his son to go on these "fishing trips," but we don't see the effects of his leaving the way we see life in Ennis's family. We can guess that the effects were mitigated by the higher class of Jack's family, but we don't know first-hand.

Name: Scott
Date: 2006-01-03 23:01:15
Link to this Comment: 17532

there are alot of posts here. Ive enjoyed reading some but not near all of them. So if Ive missed something Ill stand corrected in advance. However I havent heard many coments on the women of Brokeback mountain. They suffered greatly as the result of Jack and Ennis' affair, relationship, traggic self discovery, call it what you will. Its understandable but not to be justified in the name of love. It destroyed them and the people around them. By real world standards I just dont know if that would be called a "healthy relationship."
I agree with the comments that wanted more character building. If we dont know who these people are it just becomes more of a fable than a real human drama. I loved Crouching Tiger HIdden dragon ( by Ang Lee ) for that fable qaulity. That same ellement in a more modern era setting is harder for me to digest. . I suppose he is using the Cowboy himself as that fable but it just doesnt work for me this time around.It made the story less real. All emotional appeal no intellectual appeal.
I was saddened by Ennis and Jack's story. In some ways it seemed that the sexual ellement destroyed what could have been a great friendship with out the destruction that came to them and others as a result. I guess there is good passion and bad passion. Looks like they had some of both.
While it made me empathetic for guys that struggle with there sexual identity at a young age, Ironicaly films like this could cause more homophobia amoung heterosexual men than ever. It seems to equate a desire for intimacy or strong connection with a sexual relationship. Ladies this might not be the flick to bring your boyfriend to as sensitivity training. It could have the reverse affect.

Alma's life
Name: Scott
Date: 2006-01-03 23:04:55
Link to this Comment: 17533

I like your post Anne. I agree with you. thanks.

Discussion groups
Name: Lise
Date: 2006-01-03 23:14:16
Link to this Comment: 17534

So, after all this here on-line talkin', are any of you all goin' to any of those there in-person discussion groups? (<---sorry, just trying to keep with the flavor of the movie! : ))

After ward
Name: Hanna
Date: 2006-01-04 00:07:45
Link to this Comment: 17536

After I saw the movie, I felt so vulnerable with raw feeling. I felt so sad because their feeling was so pure but unfulfilled. I felt guilty, because they cannot complete their relationship due to societal burden. I cried because this is a wonderful love story that ended tragically. I felt it!

Jack's Death
Name: zinc
Date: 2006-01-04 09:12:47
Link to this Comment: 17537

Non of the posts I read mentioned Ennis's fingering of the jean jacket at Jack's parents' house , the jacket in which we are led to believe Jack died in. The punctures and blood around the wrist don't foot with Lorene's description that the wheel exploded in his face. Do you think these are defensive wounds of someone trying to protect themselves?

Also, motive. Jack reveals somewhere to Ennis that he is having an affair with Lorene's sorioity sister. Is that posturing or do you think it kind of true?. The father in law's esteem for Jack as a stud service only to his daughter makes him completely beliveable to organize this murder, but do we think it was hetrosexual cheating on his daughter with her good friend and bringing dishonor to the family name or, discovering Jack's secret side from his wanderings?

the ambiguity is just as confusing to us as the ambiguity of what these guys are going through.

Name: wes horner
Date: 2006-01-04 10:55:48
Link to this Comment: 17538

And it’s odd that of all the words from all of us, there hasn’t been very much, if anything at all, about the very few memorable scenes of the sex. Especially given what so many think the film is all about. At first, it struck me, with me doubled over for so much of the movie, that there wasn’t enough physical stuff, that maybe it just was too difficult for these young straight actors to do. But I was missing it, missing perhaps the most remarkable specific scenes of the movie. After the second viewing, it was the grasping at each other that struck me – the intense and passionate hard stroking of each other, clutching at each other’s faces, as though they had this intense need to bond together. All the sex stuff is so much about the faces, the 4-year reunion kiss as though they each were trying to become a part of the other and then later that night together in bed, faces joined. There is not a trace of needless oral this and anal that. This intense need to merge together, come together. As though there was no question that they would come together the way they did from the very start – the two of them, their first time. No playing around - they had to come together as they did (I really hope this doesn’t put anyone off – for me it seems as far away from X as you can get). Ennis with no fathering, Jack with anti-fathering. If I’ve come to any understanding so far in my life, I would argue strongly for the nature end of the nature/nurture explanation of things. But seeing this makes me ask these questions again. This desperate need to love and connect with the Man/Father that had been stolen away from both of them?
For me, incredibly predisposed me, these are perhaps the most moving and beautiful scenes I’ve ever experienced in a film. Perhaps even beyond a film. I feel like I owe this huge debt of gratitude to Proulx and Lee and Gyllenhaal and Ledger. That quiet intimate whisper of Jack’s to Ennis when Ennis returns to the love tent that night with his hat covering his crotch “it’s ok…” surely must become the symbol for so many aching repressed gay hearts.
I want to try to come to the discussion groups – perhaps the Sunday one with the psych focus would be best.

Date: 2006-01-04 12:05:32
Link to this Comment: 17539

zinc, it's not a jeans jacket. It was the shirt that Jack was wearing on the last day on the mountain, with Ennis' shirt nestled inside. The blood is from their fight on the mountain, where Jack staunched the blood on his shirt sleeve (and Ennis had it on his shirt as well). Remember, Ennis moaned about having left his shirt up there, and Jack just smiled. He took it and kept it for 20 years.

Is this really a new film?
Name: Jeff
Date: 2006-01-04 12:56:07
Link to this Comment: 17540

Saw this last night in Doylestown.

I'm surprised by the comments.

This film just didn't feel new to me. Haven't we all seen the movie tragedy where true love just doesn't come to fruition through circumstances in the world we live in??

Whether it be class, rich/poor, race, whatever.

And the people build their own lives, but the longing remains, and they either sacrifice their love and commit to their new lives, or they choose true love and take the consequences

If the separating circumstance in this film had been class or race (which are not so controversial now) this film would probably have been panned as the clumsy tale I thought it was.

The key elements Ang needed to add to try to have a commercial success here was to shoot as controversial a tale as possible in a visually striking location-- and in a backwater of intolerance

It all felt very manipulative to me--

from the stupid plotline "it's cold out there you better come in the tent" (isn't that how they end up in the bed in every National lampoon summer film?) to the oddly violent first sexual encounter which didn't ring true even a little bit. All the way through to Enid's unwillingness to really love anyone at all, the waitress or his cowboy boyfriend. These characters were thinly developed with a wandering plot that in the end left you not caring very much about either of them.

The fact that the love was gay or not doesn't make the love any truer-- and I'm sure I would have been similarly unmoved by a hetero couple in the same film.

They didn't seem to deserve the love they had, they didn't seem to be motivated (as characters) to go through this 20 years of meetings-- I mean, you have to walk away thinking-- why did they bother?

3* out of 10

Brokeback Mountain
Date: 2006-01-04 14:15:33
Link to this Comment: 17541

The scenery was breathtaking. The subject matter, I am sure, was meant to be a "shocker" and a way to see how the public would accept homosexual liaisons on the "big screen" to eventually, I am sure, move to television. I was really "bummed out" to think that "cowboys" would have been gay because I have in my mind that a cowboy should be tough and rugged and macho. I believe that for the most part people went to see the movie to see what the big gay scene is all about since for most part straight people have formed in their minds what a gay relationship consists of concerning their sexual relationships and most straight people don't ever consider the emotional part of the relationship as I believe they think a gay relationship is strictly sexual. Anyway, I saw it and I guess it was as discrete as it could have been, it did show that there is both an emotional and sexual involvement in a gay relationship, and that all cowboys were not macho, but I dont' know that I would ever go to see another movie on this topic.

Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2006-01-04 17:16:15
Link to this Comment: 17543

"This is what I meant about dumping the kids, not taking responsibility for their care. Alma had a tough life."

Point well taken! I'm not sure her life was any more difficult than the men's lives were, but then I relate more to the men in this film than I do to the women. And that's not always the case - far from it!

Steve M
Name: Steve M
Date: 2006-01-04 18:22:31
Link to this Comment: 17545

I think your right in your thoughts. I dont think we would even be discussing this movie at all if it wasnt about homosexuality. I dont think it would be gettin the critical acclaim that it is. Weve seen all these themes before. There is not alot original here except two A-list hollywood actors as one another's love interests and gay love scenes in the local cineplex being presented for popular acceptance to the general population. The more I think about it the more of a cheap stunt it all seems like. Great Sound Track though

Name: Shane
Date: 2006-01-04 21:36:48
Link to this Comment: 17546

"Enid's unwillingness to really love anyone at all"

Hey Jeff, are you sure you didn't see Ghost World instead?

Ha ha! Just kidding.

Hey Wes
Name: Scott
Date: 2006-01-04 23:28:32
Link to this Comment: 17547

I thought your observations about the sex scenes leading to the nature/ nuture comment were realy sharp. Any gay men or women who have shared there stories with me have always led me to believe more in nuture rather than nature. That "grasping" and intense desire to connect always seemed present. Anyway, I appreciated your comments.

landscape, sheep, sex and love
Name: Vivian Ros
Date: 2006-01-05 15:36:05
Link to this Comment: 17548

The landscape: Awesome, yes, but so cold. Even in the sunshine, the men shiver. Nature is presented as inhuman, and it is! Yes, it's gorgeous, but what is pictured here is not a Marlboro Man with a "home on the range." Who would want a home like Brokeback? Notice the name! (Perhaps too obvious?) The mountains are high, aloof, and guess what? Nature doesn't care about people. (Read "The Open Boat") The menacing bear, the sudden snow---as in all life (and as 2005 made so clear), nature can turn on us in a moment.

The Sheep: They could have been pictured as furry and warm and cuddly. But these are not child-friendly Ba Ba Black Sheep, waiting to provide a soft sweater for the little boy who lives down the lane. They are shown only as herds of filthy, dumb beasts, and the work required to care for them provides few, or maybe no, satisfactions.

The sex and love: Of course the men turned toward each other! In this case, their needs are fueled by the fact that one was fatherless, the other had a cruel father, and life and work are tough, very tough, for both of them. However, if this had been a man & woman, I suspect that in that cold and lonely place, they would have paired off too. There is not only sexual need that draws them, but also tenderness. However, Ennis seems to have loved, tenderly loved, his wife and his children, but we see how hard it is to sustain love when work is grueling and there is not enough money or help at home. Off in the countryside, the love affair is like many love affairs---an escape for a limited time from the harsh realities of everyday life. How could they resist? And like most love affairs, the fact that they rarely see each other maintains the intensity and keeps the pleasures fresh and new. Still, Ennis loses a wife and children he once cared about. Of course money is not enough--as we see in Jack's case; if society had been more accepting, perhaps life without a traditional marriage would have been a better life for Jack. But Ennis seemed different. Had life been easier for him. he might not have risked losing his wife and children.

The film is sentimental in its suggestion that, under other social conditions, Jack & Ennis might have found lifelong true love. They never had a chance to test a life together. Ennis, hugging Jack's shirt, might convince himself that he really loved Jack, and that that love, in a more tolerant world, would have lasted. A lot of people, in movies, in songs, and in real life feel they made the wrong choices and missed the love of their lives. Well, even if a marriage with the love of their lives would have turned out better, they still would have had to grow up--i.e. give up the fantasy and adjust to the ups and downs of day to day life.

Did I like the movie? Yes. I found it absorbing and visually compelling. The acting is incredible; the Hopper like scenes in town, with the cold sun and deep shadows, set a tone of loneliness and despair. Certainly the film makes a case for tolerance and kindness. The very fact that such a film can draw an audience suggests positive changes in our society. But the film also makes a case for understanding what rotten work people are compelled to do just to get by. Why are the rich getting richer in this county while others have no work or do backbreaking or soul crushing work without making enough money to live decent lives when work is over? This was a topic I didn't find addressed in the critical commentary which is fixated on the homosexual theme.

Reminds me of...
Name: Chuck Hamm
Date: 2006-01-05 23:24:07
Link to this Comment: 17549

I've been trying to figure out why the movie (and the short story) has stuck with me so, and what it brings to mind. Finally today it struck me that there are strong parallels between BM and Wuthering Heights.

Caveat: AP, bless her, is no Emily Bronte. And I'm not pretending to suggest that BM approaches WH as a staple of the Western canon. Yet what stays with me from BM and what stays with me from WH is the terrible violence and the total amorality -- in the most literal sense of the word -- of the passion. I can no more think of Ennis and Jack as "cheating" than I can Heathcliff and Cathy. They all tend to exist (and certainly the latter two) outside of conventional morality; and to judge them using the moral lexicon of the middle-class gets one nowhere except frustrated.

Heathcliff and Cathy, like Ennis and Jack to a lesser degree, have a blindness to everything but their love which results in almost unspeakable acts of cruelty to nearly everyone around them, including their children. It's a delicate balancing act between dramatizing this and maintaing some semblence of empathy. On the one hand, the reader needs to feel the full force of Heathcliff's obsessive passion (viz. digging up her grave to look at her one last time); on the other, the story degrades into something unedifyingly macbre unless the reader identifies to some small extent with him.

Finally, both stories are simply sad. Heathcliff and Cathy only find happiness, we imagine, after they're dead. The same is probably true for Ennis and Jack. (In yet another parallel, though, there is partial redemption through the healthy and conventional relationships of the next generation: Cathy's daughter and Hareton and Ennis' daughter.)

character development
Name: Beth Kamin
Date: 2006-01-05 23:45:06
Link to this Comment: 17550

I think that the film showed an enormous amount of character development, albeit the film was at times painfully slow in doing so. At first, I thought the movie was portrayed through a man's eye in the way the women were pathologized and hystericized. However, on further reflection, the two wives showed both passion and strength. The wife of one showed great strength and determination, and did what it took to take care of her children. The other wife was too self involved to even care about her husband, or at least show it. In some ways, the opposite portrayal were very similar in the tremendous pain caused by an almost blinding love which veered on fantasy and escapism. It is easy to see how Jake Gylenthal ended up searching for love - his home was stark and puritanical. His father showed a surprising amount of knowledge about his son, as well as a coldness. His mother showed wisdom, strength and compassion. I agree with the comments of the person who said that thier love was blind to the devastation it caused their loved ones, if you can call it that. The themes raised about the origins of homosexuality, social norms, happiness, and responsibility, as well as the profound impact of early nurturing make this film worthy of many different areas of discussion.

not meaning to be hostile or anything, but
Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2006-01-06 14:36:16
Link to this Comment: 17551

" I dont think we would even be discussing this movie at all if it wasnt about homosexuality."

We wouldn't have had to discuss women's right to vote if they'd had it from the start. We wouldn't still be discussing civil rights if there hadn't been centuries of slavery.

Most genres share the same themes. Individual films vary those themes and play with the genre's conventions. The teensy tiny little difference in theme that BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN presents is major precisely because it hasn't been done before.

Then again, in a world of absolute silence even a whisper is deafening.

I agree
Date: 2006-01-06 16:02:18
Link to this Comment: 17552

"Most genres share the same themes. Individual films vary those themes and play with the genre's conventions. The teensy tiny little difference in theme that BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN presents is major precisely because it hasn't been done before."

I agree!

Not done before?
Name: Steve
Date: 2006-01-06 20:14:28
Link to this Comment: 17553

What hasnt been done before? THere have been very well crafted male love stories. No dought Ang Lee's is one of them now. Lee is a acadamy award winning director and the two leads are popular heterosex symbols. That is the only difference. High profile people and marketing putting this more into the public spectrum than other "art house films" have in the past. In this sense it is a first. However it is not a first in terms of story content or what is seen on screen.

Not Impressed
Date: 2006-01-07 02:02:18
Link to this Comment: 17554

I'm in agreement with Jeff. I thought this film was little more than a retread of the "married people having secret adulterous affair" plot that has been explored for decades. Granted, it's rare for homosexuality to be treated in a mature, sensitive nature, but beyond that, I found nothing unique in this film.

Passion lives its own life
Name: Eric
Date: 2006-01-07 09:41:30
Link to this Comment: 17555

I have seen the movie twice. To me it is about passion and love, and
that it is about two men is insignificant. It reflects classical passions
both in reality and in fiction. It is a blessing for anyone to experiance passion, and in so many cases it does not fit the real world.
Go see Senso by Visconti, for example, or just refer to Romeo and Juliet.
How many passions do not fall ouside our set standards we have for relationships. Arranged marriages, or marriages by convinience creates conflicting passions outside wedlock. We marry socially, not for passion, that is very rare. This is what the movie describes, the joy and pain passsion comes with. If you have experianced it you know what I mean.
It is painfully described in this movie, both the beauty of it and sadly also the ugly. I think we focus too much on the same sex relationship in the discussions, and less of the eternal, mysterious force passion brings into two persons life. Personally I think that the impossibility of this relationship made it sustainable, what would really have happened if they actually had started to live together. I am sure that there would not have been a story about it! If you have any comments to this, please post your comment on the web site, do not email me, as I have very limited access.

Name: Scott
Date: 2006-01-07 10:48:13
Link to this Comment: 17556

Your right there wouldnt have been a story about it. It would have been the day to day stuff. Passion isnt always present. It comes and goes. I think real love lies in the day to day stuff and deciding to love in the midst of it, day in day out. The dramatic distractions are what movies are made of. Who'de go see a movie about setting the table and washing the dishes? Or in Jack and Ennis' case, mucking stalls and shovelling sheep shoop, growing old and prune faced together. Thats not the stuff movies are made of. Once again,I think it is the stuff real life and love are made of though. Is this movie ground breaking. No. just more of the same hollywood stuff on one level.

Villifying Jack Twist
Name: Eric
Date: 2006-01-07 17:13:27
Link to this Comment: 17557

Thanks Scott for your comment, I totally agree.
Reading the input from many discussers, I sense some villifying of Jack.
Like he is the culprit of it all. And Ennis, perhaps named so to associate him with "innocent". Remember, it takes two to tango, and if you really observe, Ennis is squinting at Jack many times, pondering and maybe feeling something he cannot understand, before "it" happens. What I am trying to say is that, yes, Jack was after him from the very first beginning, starting with shaving himself to look good. He also tried to lure him into something when satisfying himself with the back to Ennis, and tapping his buckle on the belt with the remarks about sinning from Ennis. Ennis is maybe the active partner in their relationship, but is passively gliding into the situation, maybe to save his male, straight acting pride. But he wants it too. There is none guilty or innocent here, both are just as responsible for their actions. We as a society have a tendence to blaim the one who incites the situation, man or woman. Like, "that woman/man took my husband/wife from me!" Well the husband/wife did go along did he not? Same thing here, Ennis went along with it all, and I think he really wanted to.
Please post your comment on the web, do not email as my access to my mail is limited.

Engaging story about passsion
Name: Eric
Date: 2006-01-07 17:24:36
Link to this Comment: 17558

Just one post script note:
I think it is a very moving and beautiful description of passion and love.
Ang Lee did a fantastic job, and the courage and talent of all four major actors are remarkable! A film that just "hangs over" you for days after you've seen it.
Please comment on the web as my email is limited

Name: Richard
Date: 2006-01-08 12:13:55
Link to this Comment: 17561

I have read the comments and agree and disagree with many of them. However, one thing I am sure of is that Jack and Ennis' relationship (or affair if thats what you want to call it) would have carried on if Jack hadnt died. It might have been to a lesser degree but you cant just suddenly end 20 years of love and passion. They loved eachother. The fact they never said it arguably makes the love more powerful as neither character feels the need to confirm it, they know that the love is there.

In the last major scene we see of them together I also feel it is wrong to assume that each wants to be free of the other altoether. I feel that Ennis and Jack just want to be rid of the gnawing and frustrating feelings attached to that love and so be left with what, I believe they both ultimately want. I feel Ennis does want a life with Jack and to live with him but just knows that, for now atleast, it isnt worth attempting due to the risk. Ironically I feel it is this dissappointment of reality that plays a major part in Ennis' troubled character. He just cant be rid of the childhood memeroy that has haunted him for so long nor can he be free of the constant worry of how society will react. The fact neither of them get this life together that they desperately want is the sadest part for me.

Just an unrelated question, does anyone feel that Ennis' daughter knew about him and Jack? We never see wether she is told or if she sees anything she shouldn't. Maybe she works it out for herself and yet isn't particularly bothered by it. Just a thought, it is undoubtedly arguable.

Finally I would like to say how blown away I was by the movie. It really does stay with you and I feel that most people will be moved by it to some extent atleast. Though important I dont see why the homosexality has to be so discussed. It is part of everyday life. Why should it cast a shadow over the true point of the At the end of the day someones sexuality shouldn't be a problem or an issue. As far as I am concerned any two people, two men, two women or a man and women should be able to love eachother and express that love freely if they wish. As Jack says, "its nobody's business but theirs."

Why Homosexuality Has to be Discussed
Name: Lise
Date: 2006-01-08 13:02:20
Link to this Comment: 17562

I agree with Steve that this is not thematically "ground-breaking" (as might be understood from the television ads), but rather novel in the fact that it is being (somewhat) mass-marketed. Although I throughly enjoyed the film, I was not as enveloped as much as others here precisely because it had a Hollywood feel. However, would this film have "flown" outside of the art houses even 5 years ago? I doubt it.

The idea espoused by some here that we would not be discussing this movie were the theme of homosexuality not involved is somewhat akin to saying we would not discuss "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" but for the interacial aspect. If this movie were a "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" remake where the characters happened to be gay, I'd agree; but here the entire story flows from the homosexual nature of this bittersweet love affair and therefore cannot be cleanly dissected from it.

Richard, while I agree that, in an ideal world, we should be able to view this on a more all-encompassing level (and I do view the film this way), homosexuality is still a taboo for so many today, and so perhaps needs to be the focus. The fact that it was reported in the news today that the Utah Jazz' owner decided to reneg on showing the movie in his Utah theater attests to this fact.

Name: wes horner
Date: 2006-01-08 14:27:51
Link to this Comment: 17563

Because this story has cut me open and I relate to it now almost desperately, I am compelled to say something about this issue of the gay theme.
On the one hand, it's great to have so many talking about the eternal themes of love and lost love and so forth manifested in this movie. That's great. But for me, at least, there is much more.
To know Ennis is to understand not only what it means to cope with lost love and keep it from grabbing on to you, but to hate it - hate yourself - find this love and even yourself loathsome. He spends his life beating on himself, keeping it under control. Young Ennis carries that reality of his father "who might have done the deed himself" and the dead mutiliated old queer cowboy with him, down deep. No, this is no ordinary love story. This is no mere "better to have loved and lost" tale. The anguish is much more total.
More positively, it strikes me that Ennis does in fact change in the film, moving from the "I ain't no damn queer" Ennis with his sullen staring down, unable to acknowledge this Jack love that had to be destroyed - that deserved to be destroyed. To the "Jack... I swear" Ennis at the end with his eyes lifting up, with at least his altar to Jack assembled carefully like blessed vestments, post card displayed. Love finally acknowledged, commitment finally made. And with him commiting to his daughter, to risk his job/life for this daughter. Inside, this is something new. So tragic that it could happen only after Jack had been destroyed (and I have to believe the tire irons). In the book, she devotes time to the notion of Ennis (for ever and ever) living with Jack in his dreams, "...wet pillows and wet sheets..." with a kind of deeply sad and austere beauty.
Apologies for being so personal - just can't help it.

Name: Susan
Date: 2006-01-08 16:52:06
Link to this Comment: 17564

I've just seen this for the second time and, of course, have taken a step back and different view. Some of the questions which continue to be posted on this site trouble me, only because, in many cases, there are no answers outside of interpretation. What Jack thinks, Alma feels, Ennis experiences, etc. etc. is so much a what we bring to this as an individual- gay, straight, man, woman, young, old(er), in love, saddened by loss. To dictate for others what goes on in each of these souls is presumptuous. But I defend your right to do it anyway, as the discussion is likely more important than the conclusion.
Lastly, to the comments "this is not a new story"---try and come up with one. If we were forced to write something that had never been told, as opposed to a new telling of an basic emotion, we could have quit with Shakespeare. See you at the movies? See you at the 1/16 chat?

Name: chuck hamm
Date: 2006-01-08 21:53:27
Link to this Comment: 17566

Did anyone happen to catch Brian Whitman on WABC tonight (Sunday)? The segment started off innoculously enough with an inane discussion about whether or not two straight men could go see the movie. (Answer: emphatically not!!!) But then it degenerated -- as discussions often do on conservative radio -- into vicious, sanctimonious ravings about morality. Significantly, the people who "hated" BM hadn't seen it. Why doesn't that surprise me? In any event, it was a good wake-up call to me that people like that are still out there, and most likely are in the majority.

By the way, what do people make of Ennis' "promise" at the end of the story/movie? What, exactly, is he swearing? Love? Fidelity?

subject of movie?
Name: Beth
Date: 2006-01-08 23:34:51
Link to this Comment: 17567

Is thie movie about social propriety versus individual desire? Is it about love versus lust? Is it about the responsibility to your loved ones, even in the midst of passion? How important is it to pursue your dreams of love and passion - or live a banal married life with the typical things "life" has to offer. I believe the film raises all of these questions and more, can be analyzed from many different psychoanlytical perspectvies regarding the roots of homosexuality. The starkness of Ennis's life, his room, his puritanical parents, his grim surroundings cry out for love. Were the women strong role models, doiong what they had to do, or were they pathologized as either weak, silly, or martrys. These questions have no answers, but raise issues - which any good film does. Compare the impact of powerful symbolism and the "laconic" speak with the new woody allen film.

How did Jack actually die?
Date: 2006-01-09 02:30:33
Link to this Comment: 17569

I loved this movie, and I agree with many of you who say that it is such a haunting story.

However, I'm not clear on how Jack died. Even though his wife told Ennis that he died in a tractor accident, but there was a flashback of Jack being beaten by a group of people. Was this ordered by his father in law to get even with him after what happened at Thanksgiving dinner or was this a hate crime due to his secret being found out?

Another thing is, did Jack actually go up to stay in a cabin up the mountain with the bearded guy (husband of his wife's friend), and was this how people who beat him up found out about the secret?

I've never read the short story before, so I am confused. Help!

Confused and Haunted

Significance of the last line
Name: Richard
Date: 2006-01-09 07:39:28
Link to this Comment: 17570

For those who wonder about the last line my personal view is that there can be more than one meaning. I must admit, when I saw it, I was waiting for something more to be said but there wasn't. You are left to your own opinion of how to interpret what Ennis is swearing to Jack.

However I do believe that at the the point when Jack says this line, a considerable weight is lifting from his shoulders. I believe he is acknowledging and accpeting his love to Jack, which he couldn't do while he was still alive. He may also be attempting to try and convey his real feelings here. We see him with this memeroy postcard and the shirt and I belive he has these to keep Jack close to him so he feels comforted and that Jack is always there with him, which I believe is what he wanted. He is making a promise to Jack not to let him go and that is quite satisfying for me. The sad thing is that he is still living alone and has to deal with his grief.

the last scene
Name: Will
Date: 2006-01-09 08:05:56
Link to this Comment: 17571

The movie was extraordinary on so many levels. Each time I read another post I get a new insight into the emotions and sensibilities of the Jack and Ennis, the two shirts intertwined and kept by Jack for twenty years, the full import of Ennis' "I swear, Jack" pronouncement, that causes me to need to see it again - soon. But it was the casualness of the impending marriage of Ennis's daughter regarding her upcoming marriage that remains with me. She loves her fiance, no doubt, but she has known him for only a year, coming on the heels of a previous teen relationship,and now she has the ability, the inherint right to assume that she can marry. It is all so easy to do. A nineteen year old straight kid can formalize and have society recognize what Jack and Ennis have longed for for over twenty years.

Cinematically speaking
Date: 2006-01-09 11:11:41
Link to this Comment: 17573

However provocative and controversial (especially under the social and political context of 2005 United States) the movie is in its subject matter and its curious social effects and psychology, I must admit I fail to see the cinematic greatness in the movie itself. It is almost a word-for-word adaptation of the short story, and the screenwriters and the director added little more to what's on the pages. Because the short story's own sparseness, the movie does not add much and feels stretched out. Only the 2 young actors gave some substance and richness to the words on pages, even though both are way too pretty to be faithful to the original story. This may be controversial, but if you just look at the movie itself, it's not that great.

Just my 2 cents.


Name: Aude
Date: 2006-01-09 11:12:00
Link to this Comment: 17574

I have seen the movie twice and was much affected the second time. That is when the movie really stuck with me, and I found myself going over different scenes at different times of the day. So, 2 days ago, it was the scene in Jack's parents' house. There was an etheral feeling to it, with the white light behind Ennis, and then the camera would focus on the father, full of hatred. It seemed as if the world had slowed down in this scene, the setting so plain and quiet, so few words, so much sadness. I think many of us relate to Ennis and his struggle. Many of us have lived tragic moments of our own, and it is not easy to suffer; to witness this man's overwhelming yet bottled feelings is heart-wrenching. After all, we are all the same, and we understand what he goes through even if we don't understand how this passion could develop. Regardless, it's about the love two people felt, and I wish we could see more of that in this world.

Interestingly enough, I just talked to a friend of mine who is of the highly sensitive and emotional type, cries at just about any movie, and she commented that BBM did nothing to her, that the characters failed to convince her of their love (for they were never very loving towards one another), that the only scenes that did anything for her were the sex and kissing scenes, and that she didn't shed a tear!! I was astounded, but then, if we are all the same, we are also different!

Personally, I still feel that pit in my chest, a feeling of sadness has been lingering on for days, and I'll just sit with it until it subsides.

Jack's death and after
Name: Susan
Date: 2006-01-09 15:11:58
Link to this Comment: 17575

Over the weekend, and after the second viewing, I had a lucky chance to reread the story as a friend had gotten the "Complete New Yorker." The story was originally published Oct. 13 (don't hold me to the date) 1997. Proulx used the phrase "he thought" when describing what we see of the tire iron beating rather than Lureen's description of Jack's death. Later, Proulx hedges a little, leading to the conclusion Ennis'idea was more than one he formed from the past experience he describes to Jack earlier. I'm still not sure, although my friend, as are many, was firm on the idea Jack was murdered.
The guy with the beard--hmmm?--clearly Jack's father alludes to it when he says some other guy is coming up to straighten out his "ranch" after Jack has mentioned Ennis so often to his parents (and aren't they a pair?).
But finally, there are about two lovely paragraphs at the end of the story that clearly indicate Ennis carries Jack's memory and his love (no question in my mind) in waking and sleeping moments for a very long time.
It is almost impossible to be impartial about this film, and I'm still recommending the soundtrack.

Name: joseph
Date: 2006-01-09 22:32:40
Link to this Comment: 17580

Hello! This is a great way to vent our feelings for this film. Mine run
quite deep. It is so nice to finally see characters to which I can truly
relate. I have not taken the time to read every post on this site, for
there are SO MANY so, forgive me if this topic has already been hashed-out.
I am hearing the word BISEXUAL used to describe both Ennis and Jack and I
feel it is inaccurate. I do not believe that having societal pressures
placed upon homosexual men to marry women and have children
bisexual. I speak from experience.

For over 25 years of my life, I "dated" women, brought women friends home,
hung-out with them. Most gay men go through this to some extent but I don't consider that to be bisexual. Bisexuality to me is an attraction to both sexes. I have never had a sexual attraction to women. When I see Jack and Ennis on the screen, I see myself when I used to pretend to be attracted to the girl with whom I was dancing or dating because I was taught that there was no alternative- just like Jack and Ennis.

I have read both the original short story and the screenplay and have seen
the film twice and I do not believe bisexuality is how the author
of Brokeback Mountain- E. Annie Proulx- wanted the characters to be
interpreted. It just seems to me that people who do not understand the
true nature of these guys and their love for each other are placing the
bisexual label on them. Or, maybe I am WAY off! I would love to see what you all think about this. This is a truly amazing film and I am looking forward to seeing it for a third time.

Also, I would like to recommend the book “Brokeback Mountain Story to Screenplay”. It contains the original short story, the screenplay and essays by the authors - everything in one book including lovely black and white photos!

bisexuality it isn't
Name: Will
Date: 2006-01-10 09:05:45
Link to this Comment: 17582

Joseph. I couldn't agree more with you comments on the misuse of the term bisexual when speaking of two gay men.

Name: Aude
Date: 2006-01-10 14:51:10
Link to this Comment: 17584

Joseph, I find your comment thought-provoking. You are probably right, Ennis and Jake are likely to be gay, period, not bisexual. I hadn't thought of that aspect and I wonder if to some people it's not reassuring to see a man as bisexual. By that I mean that some people might find a 100% gay man disturbing if he only is attracted to men, but if some of that attraction goes towards women too, they may think of the man as "more normal". Personally, I'm a woman, and I could care less what anyone prefers!
Annie Proulx gave birth to characters of great authenticity (I also live in Wyoming), and now that you have mentioned this detail, I feel even more the societal pressure on them.
My husband felt that Jack was the villain - as someone posted about previously - and that he dragged Ennis into this, who wouldn't have become gay if it hadn't been for Jack. I disagreed and said it takes 2 to dance, and Ennis obviously had a gay trend in him, and it became clear later.

Great to find something I can so relate to.
Name: Eve
Date: 2006-01-10 16:08:22
Link to this Comment: 17586

I am responding to Wes Horner's response to this film. I am so grateful for how you so perfectly described how I reacted to this film and thought about it. I was so affected by the level of passion and emotion expressed , and not expressed by these two men. I totally agree with your interpretation of how Innis transformed from not being able to deal with his feelings in the beginning , mostly because of society, and then to in the end openly and out loud professing his love to Jack. Thank you for helping me to see it all more clearly.
My reactions to this film were much more experiential than intellectual. I felt like I really wanted to be with someone after it, and not waste any time in my life. Even though these two had so little time together, sad to say, but they expressed more passion and love than I think alot of people will ever allow themselves to feel. To me the film was quite inspirational, for that reason.

not boundbreaking film
Name: beth
Date: 2006-01-10 23:24:21
Link to this Comment: 17590

i agree with Ed who said that the film would not even being getting all of this hollywood press if it were not about homosexuality . the vilm is about passion, but that has been done before. so has destroyed families and repression . character development is a hallmark of a good film, but not groundbreaking. the themes were expressed laconically and symbolically - they were well done. this film is also about also an excursion into voyeurisnm.

love is all there is
Name: Will
Date: 2006-01-11 08:37:42
Link to this Comment: 17591

there is a great difference between gender identity and sexuality. Ennis and Jack both identify themselves as male who happen to fall in love with each other because there was so much that attracted them to each other besides sex. If it was just sex, the relationship would have been over after that first night in the tent. Society likes to have individuals conform to certain cultural mores BUT the human psyche isn't built that way. We like and love, and want to be with people for a multitude of reasons. Ennis fell in love with Jack, who, with apologies to a very homophobic and misinformed review by Gene Shallit on the Today Show,was not a "sexual predator" but someone who was falling in love and was full of the thought of Ennis. If you have ever been in love you know how all-encompassing it is, except perhaps, Mr. Shallit.

More than Sex..
Name: wes horner
Date: 2006-01-11 09:56:46
Link to this Comment: 17592

I just can't let go of this.
In the short story, Proulx gives us a bit more of JackEnnis, yingyang, in that crushing last scene of their last time together, as Jack thinks back:
"What Jack remembered and craved in a way he could neither help nor understand was the time that distant summer on Brokeback when Ennis had come up behind him and pulled him close, the silent embrace satisfying some shared and sexless hunger....They had stood that way for a long time in front of the fire...the shadow of their bodies a single column against the rock...Ennis's breath came slow and quiet, he hummed, rocked a little in the sparklight and Jack leaned against the steady heartbeat...drowsy and tranced...the single moment of artless, charmed happiness in their separate and difficult lives...."
My take: with barriers broken down, liberated in Eden amidst the flowing waters, these "ain't no queer" guys were allowed - and allowed themselves to love and that love changed them, moved them to a higher place.
OK, maybe I'm getting that irritating "love is a force of nature" banner.
Thanks, Eve.

Name: Confused a
Date: 2006-01-12 02:24:39
Link to this Comment: 17598

Thank you for clarifying how Jack died. I have seen the movie only once and never read the story. So, I think I might buy the DVD once it becomes available and try to understand the story more. When I watched the movie, I was just too overwhelmed with characters' emotions (everyone's, not just Jack's and Ennis's, especially Ennis's wife). So, I must have missed out a whole lot of other important minor things.

Thanks again for the clarification!

Can't let go
Name: Deb
Date: 2006-01-12 09:48:52
Link to this Comment: 17599

Words can't really express the emotion I feel after seeing Brokeback for the second time. It's inside of me and won't let go. I still want to cry. Must read the story. Thanks Wes and Joe for your comments--exactly how I feel. A relationship based solely on sex doesn't last for 20 years, and putting a bisexual label somehow makes some people feel more comfortable about seeing two men together. (I won't even touch on why is society so much more accepting of two women.) Why can't we just let people love who they love regardless of sex. Back to the move: It was much more clear to me that their love was deep and real. Societal pressures and Ennis's experience as a child kept him from living his life with Jack. When Ennis looks at Jack with such anguish the last time they are together, I completely lost it. So few words, amazing body language, looks, touches--Ennis and Jack's love and passion is so palpable. Thanks to all for sharing your feelings and thoughts.

Name: wes horner
Date: 2006-01-12 11:07:36
Link to this Comment: 17600

Some comments on religion here. Christian/Church themes pop up frequently in the film. But the barren plains seem to be so painfully bereft of Grace. Like that Big Brother billboard along the Long Island highway that haunts the Great Gatsby and sticks in my mind. Religion as social control, keeping it all within carefully prescribed limits. Jack’s Pentecostal mother and the Jesus picture posted high at the center of the decrepit house, an opiate promise of something better? Even straight-jacketed Ennis at the altar, with the minister’s direction “and if you don’t kiss the bride, I will…” You better do it, Ennis, better not stray. Ennis in the living room not wanting to attend the fire and brimstone social with Alma. The shepherds and the flock, Brokeback as the Garden (though even the Garden is policed by harsh Enforcer Aguirre who sees all and ultimately casts them out), the Life Giving Waters that so often bathe Ennis and Jack in different ways, away from the plain of sin. Jack, the angel, coming to tend to Ennis wounds, embracing him as Ennis breaks down in their final scene together. Harsh words acknowledging their tragic plight notwithstanding, there is forgiveness here. From Garden of Eden to Gethsemane? My mind wanders even farther. Jack as the sacrificial lamb that must be destroyed for life to continue – maybe even more? Anybody else?
I’m not sure what it all means. Except that it is such a barren plain, so totally lacking in anything close to Grace. And seems to be a powerful part of the story.

Name: Sikov
Date: 2006-01-12 12:55:05
Link to this Comment: 17601

I grew up in a small town in the 1950s and the early Sixties. I'm not aware of any male (or female) who was "openly" gay, although were males who had gay "mannerisms." However, they did not identify themselves as gay. In my small town, being openly gay was, as far as I could tell, unthinkable.

Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2006-01-12 17:16:14
Link to this Comment: 17602

Unless I had some sort of alcoholic or drug-related blackout and can't remember what I did during the last 24 hours, I did not post the comment above today - the one from someone who signed my last name.

in fact...
Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2006-01-12 17:17:15
Link to this Comment: 17603

What I wrote in an earlier post was:

"There were openly gay men in my small town in the early 1960s, just as there were gay men everywhere before Stonewall."

is this the next pick of oprah's short story picks
Date: 2006-01-12 22:55:04
Link to this Comment: 17604

i am fascinated by the media frenzy and questions raised by the film. it seem to identify a certain type of person who would go and see the film - someone "artsy", open minded, counter cultuish - but what is the counter culture? the counter culture should not be able to be identified as anything.

A dagger threw the heart
Name: Mark
Date: 2006-01-12 23:05:51
Link to this Comment: 17605

When you spend an entire life socially isolated with love and desire that offers you dizzying heights and suicidal lows, you begin to understand the life of many anonymous gay men. When the very best you have to offer another human being must be kept secret to preserve your dignity and at times your life, the psychological pressure can be overwhelming. That's why I believe this film will be a deeply emotional experience for gay men in particular. I've read a number of comments on various forums about the film and they seem to be very positive or very negative with almost nothing in between. The hatred in the negative remarks underscores the deep ignorance that a few self described straight men have about gay men. The courage that it takes to live as a gay man in the Midwest as Ennis and Jack did completely escapes those who negatively speak about the film. They are offended by Ang Lee's portrayal of "masculine" gay men as if this is an impossibility. The deep irony is that many of these hateful comments come from men that could never handle the psychological pressure. I'm not saying that gay men are more able than straight men; not at all. In fact enough suicides happen every year among gay men for this very reason. My hope is that Brokeback will be seen by many men, in particular, and that they will be educated by this film to have greater empathy toward anyone that doesn't meet their standards for respect when it comes to sexual preference. This movie is an important film because it generates discussion and thought in an area once forbidden to even speak about. The needless pain and misery brought to so many lives was made brutally stark in this tale of love, deceit and sorrow. It's unfortunate that we are still a deeply insecure and fearful culture when it comes to same sex relationships. Life is short and whenever the opportunity for joy between yourself and another exists, you should take it with deep gratitude because it may never come again. I was deeply moved by this film and quite depressed as it mirrored my own life as a Forest Service Range Technician who once worked the rangelands of western Wyoming. I spent many days and nights in the wilderness with my coworker. After many months a deep friendship developed between us that went beyond simple friendship. I will cherish it for the rest of my days. I regret that we simply drifted apart after a short 2 years partly out of guilt and fear but more out of self preservation. A couple years later, I looked him up and had a painful short visit with him, his wife and daughter. I left his house with a lump in my throat and after many miles of driving I finally pulled off the road out in the middle of nowhere and lost it because I knew he wasn't happy, but I also knew he couldn't stand the pressure. That was almost 30 years ago now. The point is we were both expert outdoorsmen, firefighters; we both rode horses and dealt with livestock on a regular basis. We never would have fit into the big city gay culture. All of that had absolutely nothing to do with the simple love that existed between us. We existed, we were real and we were some of the best, well liked workers on staff. Don't let anybody tell you, like what I saw in one post, that Brokeback could never happen because cowboys can't be gay. I'm here to tell you, that's a bunch of crap. Anything is possible between human beings and it can transcend all characterizations. Brokeback Mountain was the first film on this subject that I could really relate to. Silly sitcoms, porn movies, or gay culture don't even come close to realistically defining the challenging life and emotion portrayed by Heath and Jake in this outstanding and unforgettable film that I never thought I'd live to see. Mr. Lee: you hit the bull's eye! Many thanks to you, the actors and the producers. My only regret in seeing the film, is that it felt like a dagger had been run through my heart.

Thanks, Mark
Name: Mushirah
Date: 2006-01-13 08:19:23
Link to this Comment: 17607

Thank you, Mark. Your comments are generous and heartfelt.

I am so glad someone of the intelligence and sensitivity of Ang Lee took on the film Brokeback Mountain. Ang Lee manages to take the magnificent visual sweep of the landscape and make it a universal metaphor for vast longing over time. His film is a real gift to our world--one that remains homophobic. The film is deeply empathetic to its main characters. It humanizes Ennis and Jack by letting us see so many sides of them. It doesn't skirt the pain they cause others, nor the profound suffering they experience because of the hatred that thwarts their dreams of love together. I found it a tremendously moving film, but I was surprised how slowly and quietly it came up on me. There is so little that is Hollywood in the movie. The threat of violence is ever-present, but the movie doesn't exploit that threat at all. There is nothing gratuitous about the violence that is expressed. It's all so underplayed yet terribly volatile--just like Ennis.

Mark's eloquence
Name: Susan
Date: 2006-01-13 09:42:49
Link to this Comment: 17609

Holy sheep herder. Mark! Of the thousands of words posted on this forum, the endless analysis, most (including mine) seem empty compared to your story. No matter how deeply I thought I was affected by Brokeback, the emotion is pale in comparison to what is felt by gay men whose lives the film mirrors.
As I read in, around and between the lines of various posters, I feel as if those of a certain generation have greater insights into this story. Partly because we were there in 1963. But mostly because we look back on more than half of our lives and see right turns, wrong turns, bonds we made and missed opportunities. The film takes us back, and maybe the longing for chances to make other decisions is too painful.
And if we think we are unique in our 21st century angst, how about going back 150 years or so to Thoreau: "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."
Please don't be desparate. And don't be quiet. We care about you.

sorry, Ed
Name: bozo
Date: 2006-01-13 15:43:22
Link to this Comment: 17610

I'm new here. I didn't mean to attribute my comment to you.

I understood what you said and just wanted to reply that my small-town early 60s experience was a different one. No one was openly gay where I grew up, although I have no doubt that there were gay people living in town and throughout the US.

Mushirah & Susan
Name: Mark
Date: 2006-01-13 17:03:09
Link to this Comment: 17611

Thank you Mushirah and Susan for both of your sincere and intelligent comments to my post. Though I was fixated on the story and the characters, I completely agree with and love your characterization of the film, Mushirah. The minimalist approach of Lee, the simple guitar score and the scenery came together with the story as a single immersive experience for me. And Susan, your wise advice was sweet, comforting and couldn’t have been better said. It was quite arbitrary that I decided to come to this blog and make this post. I didn’t know how I would say it, but I just knew I needed to say something about this film. Respectfully, Mark

Brokrback Mountain :::En Espa
Name: sergio ran
Date: 2006-01-13 17:36:32
Link to this Comment: 17612

Haz clic aquí para suscribirte a brokebackmountainenespanol
Haz clic para suscribirte a brokebackmountainenespanol

Much love
Date: 2006-01-13 18:19:20
Link to this Comment: 17613

Much love to you, Mark.

I didn't think I would live to see a movie like Brokeback Mountain in my lifetime either. The fact that it was done by Ang Lee, and done so well, is some kind of blessing. The movie--along with so many other small, important bits of social change--will move people of good will who have been previously closed and ignorant. My father (anti-racist, socially conservative military officer) was once a homophobe. He is coming around on this issue. Year by year. I see it in his eyes. And when he sees Brokeback Mountain, which I've told him he has to do, something more will shift in him. He just represents what's going on nationally--a thawing of the homophobic heart. It can't happen fast enough. And we will die before it happens fully. But there is joy in seeing some empathy grow where once there was none.

all that
Name: movie love
Date: 2006-01-14 00:58:03
Link to this Comment: 17615

I saw BBM at BMFI last week. I felt it was a quiet film that grew volume in my mind and heart on it's own in the following days.
I appreciate and respect all of the well considered comments posted, and I agree with many.

Why did I go see the film? Cowboys, hats, boots, horses, sheep....duh.
Also, although I didn't read this one, I have read and been moved by Annie Proulx in the past.

I don't want to be redundant and repeat those positions I agree with.
I did have some differing feelings when I saw it though, that I have not seen represented in this forum.

Feel free to disagree.

A few thoughts:
First, gay, straight, bisexual, who cares? People are human, they love, they hate, they do a million things. Sometimes they love based on gender. I think sometimes not. Sometimes a person can just fall deeply in love with somebody based on who that person is, or based on a common bond, not based on what thier gender is. But that's just my opinion. Who cares?

Of course this was love, not just sex. 'Just sex' doesn't keep going, at great risk for 20+ years.

I felt that the two emotions that controlled Ennis' life were love and fear.
Isn't it possible that Ennis would have left BBM after his summer of sheep herding and married Alma without ever seeking out a male lover if he had not fallen in love with Jack? I think so.
His fear of what happens to 'queers' as was so graphically demonstrated to him as a child - (Thanks, Dad) - would have kept him away from sex with men, even if he had not been totally satisfied with the life he chose.
After all, he seemed a loving and devoted husband and father until Jack resurfaced. (except for not ever being able to satisfy any of Alma's well intended ambitions)
I felt, when I saw it, that he was a man who wanted to be true and devoted to his responsibilities, Yes! All those sheep! He felt so guilty when the one was killed on his watch while he was with Jack in the tent.
And Alma and the kids, he couldn't stray too far for too long from them - he was just virtually tied to them.
It was that, as much as fear that kept him from making a life with Jack.
But he just could never really commit to those responsibilities, because he was consumed by his his unsatified love for Jack. He could never give Alma all that she wanted, because his heart was also with Jack.

I felt that when he had that meltdown after leaving Jack that first summer he was feeling like 'how can I leave him?! and also shit! my life is terribly altered! now it will be nothing like I envisioned it!!
So he took what he could get, whenever he could, and hurtful as it was for everyone, that was all he could do, being driven by the opposing forces of love and fear.
He was just as opportunistic as Jack, who has been villified by some of the posters in this forum.
At least Jack was willing to make a full commitment to the love that controlled his life after that summer on the mountain.
Was Jack a villian? I don't see that. A predator? No way. A very young man trying to be honest about himself and his feelings, yes.
In that different time and place -we're not talking Bryn Mawr 2006 here, we have to take into consideration the pressure to conform, and above all, not to be 'queer'.
Did Jack die in a gay bashing? I think so. Because of his frustration with Ennis, he was forced to live a more promiscuously gay sexlife than he really wanted, and be it by his father-in-law, his bearded lover, or just people who talked, I think he was outed, and in his town, in his day and age, murdered for it.
I think Jack's wife grasped the situation fully, right up to knowing that she was lying to Jack's lover about his death, and knowing that this was the love of his life. Who can blame her for being cold? She was also grasping finally that she had chosen to marry Jack and live a life that wasn't even half of what it looked like it was 'supposed' to be.

I'm all into the symbolism, the shirts, and the sheep, but you've all said all that already.

I disagree that the plains and mountains are barren of grace. Isn't this the only grace they had? The open space was the only place they could be open with thier love, and with who they were.
The wild outdoors was home, and a cold one, but that part of it symbolizes the coldness and indiffernece of the world toward thier relationsip and ultimately their heartbreak.
Were they breaking up on that last visit? I think not, just airing differing, honest opinions about the reality they shared.

What a fun pair Jack's parents were! That scene with his hateful father, his regretful mother, the stifling and stark house, yikes, I wanted to run out of there. But yeah, that was when it was 'all brought home' - the wasted time, the second thoughts about the life choices, the total, total loss.
What a sad story.
Many of you feel deeply that this is relavent to our time and to your own experiences.
For that, Annie and Ang, Jake and Heath have my applause.

Name: Kathy
Date: 2006-01-15 14:32:00
Link to this Comment: 17625

It is three days since my second viewing of Brokeback, so I’m still caught in the vulnerable, pensive grip that takes over after seeing it. It is as if an emotionally protective skin has been gently torn away and takes a few days to grow back.

Before going to see Brokeback a second time, I read the Annie Proulx story. It fills in some of the blanks that the movie chooses to leave out, and enriches it.

The second time around, I saw much more clearly the development of Ennis’ and Jack’s relationship that first summer. Jack, who wears his heart on his sleeve and is less afraid of society’s strictures, completes Ennis, who is emotionally repressed and resigned to society’s rules.

Sexual tension is also a little more obvious the second time around. Both men glance shyly in the other’s direction while in the trailer, getting their work assignments. Later, Ennis looks on, a little abashed, as Jack, in a very virile, sexy scene, holds his own on a bucking mare. Jack sits on the mountain, bedded down with the sheep, and stares at the red glow of Ennis' camp fire across the ravine. (There's nothing predatory about Jack. He's in love).

I wondered why Ang Lee didn’t play up the sexual tension, just a little, during the scene when Ennis returns to camp wounded after an encounter with a bear. This is such a classic romantic movie device: One character gets hurt and the other, touching the love interest for the first time, tends to the wound. When Jack, clearly concerned about Ennis, takes his scarf off, dips it in hot water and bathes the cut, Ennis could have taken a little comfort from it, then, suddenly aware of how inappropriate it was to have a man touching him this way, could have caught himself and grabbed the scarf away.

I think the filmmakers chose not to play the scene this way in part because they weren’t making a romance. They were making a tragedy.

They were more interested in the conflict between nature and society, specifically, society’s strictures. They point up this conflict in so many ways. There’s the stark contrast between the grey, sterile scenes in town and the green, fertile scenes in the mountains. Then there’s the mournful, foreboding music that colors the day following Jack and Ennis’ first sexual encounter. Ennis knows he’s crossed a line, and his guilt and fear are reinforced when he returns to the sheep, finding one’s been killed and half eaten by a coyote.

Later, returning to Jack, he stands with rifle in hand while telling Jack, who is lying in the grass, that it’s a one shot thing between them. It is a stark, beautiful image that perfectly contrasts the two men.

Ennis’ tragic flaw is that, even as he grows during the film, acknowledging that he’s different, he can’t get himself to brush aside society’s rules and live with his love. Part of it is that he wants to remain part of his daughters’ lives. Most of it is fear of being maginalized, hated and perhaps even killed for who he is.

Toward the end of the short story, Jack mournfully recalls his favorite moment from his one summer on Brokeback with Ennis. It’s the moment (placed in the movie in the lovers’ last scene together) when Ennis hugs Jack from behind and comforts him with his father's old saying about cowboys sleeping standing up.

It is the comfort, the shelter of love that Jack is remembering and that he longs for, but can’t get, except in very small doses, from Ennis.

When Ennis tells Jack at the sad end of their last vacation that he has to postpone their next one until November instead of August, Jack becomes resigned to his fate. So much so that, we later find out, he talks to his parents about moving in with his ranch hand friend from Texas.

This, I believe, brought about Jack’s death, and the short story hints as much. Jack may have begun pressing his Texas friend/lover to come away with him. Friend/lover, afraid of being exposed and probably unready to consider any such move, may have precipitated Jack’s death by prompting the men who carried it out.

Ennis, by pushing Jack away, may even have driven Jack to his death and this is part of the tragedy, the crushing sadness at the film’s end.

What I love best about this wonderful film is what it makes me appreciate: the everyday warmth and shelter of my husband’s love. It’s been so easy for us, not like Jack and Ennis.

For my fellow incurable romantics, how’s this for a sequel: Ennis mourns Jack for two years. Then, at the wedding of his second daughter, he meets a handsome, thirty-something cowboy who’s just come to town because he’s inherited a spread about 20 miles away. A relationship develops, Ennis gradually convincing his new love it's okay and possible. They buy 357 Magnums to protect themselves against the idiots, settle down and live happily ever after.

Where is Brokeback Mountain?
Name: Eric
Date: 2006-01-15 16:48:55
Link to this Comment: 17628

Does Brokeback Mountain exist, and does anybody here know where it is located in Wyoming?

great idea, but...
Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2006-01-15 17:13:14
Link to this Comment: 17630

" Ennis gradually convincing his new love it's okay and possible. They buy 357 Magnums to protect themselves against the idiots, settle down and live happily ever after."

Can't they shoot somebody? Please?!

sequel idea
Name: movie love
Date: 2006-01-15 18:04:32
Link to this Comment: 17632

Love that idea. Ennis has proven himself to be a good shot.

RE: Where is Brokeback Mountain?
Name: Jennifer
Date: 2006-01-15 22:38:42
Link to this Comment: 17634

Hi, Eric,

According to an interview with Annie Proulx that I read recently, there isn't a real Brokeback Mountain. There's apparently a Break Back Mountain in Wyoming, though, and that's where she got the name. Here's a link to the interview:

Name: Chuck Hamm
Date: 2006-01-16 00:15:08
Link to this Comment: 17635

Let me second the recommendation for the soundtrack to BM. Listening to it has made me appreciate how thoughtful Ang Lee was in choosing the music for the film. Much of it, unfortunately, gets lost in the theater, though it adds so very greatly to the overall effect. Some great country tunes (even for those who don't like country) and, of course, that achingly innocent and -- yes -- sweet Copeland-esque theme (nine notes) that I think will forever immediately evoke Jack and Ennis and the days on Brokeback.

kathy's critique
Name: Will
Date: 2006-01-16 09:13:24
Link to this Comment: 17636

Kathy, I enjoyed reading your thoughtful comments and I agree with them but I would like to clarify one point. Even though Jack decided to have a relationship with the rancher friend from Texas and hoped for a move with him back to the parents ranch - yikes, what a thought - this was simply another attempt to find a fulfilling life and in no way would ever replace the love he had/has for Ennis. Ennis was the love of his life and he would have dropped anything - wife, son, career - to live together with Ennis.
I particularly noted your comment about the warmth and comfort of your husband and how easy it is for straight people to have such relationships. My partner and I have been together for thirty years this April and we celebrate our second wedding anniversary, married in Vancouver, Canada, of course, on January 27th.
Lets all watch the Golden Globes tonight and toast our humanity and similarities which BM is reinforcing in many people.

Name: Lise
Date: 2006-01-16 23:21:41
Link to this Comment: 17639

Two major Golden Globe awards for films way outside of the mainstream. Am cautiously singing "The Times They are a'Changin'"....Who'll sing with me?

Discussion time?
Name: Collin
Date: 2006-01-17 11:22:16
Link to this Comment: 17642

Forgive me, as I have not found when the discussion will be taking place for this film, unless i have already missed it.

I have not read the entire thread here (just found it today, and jeez there is a lot to read) but skimming over what I did read has been a wonderful discussion about whether or not Ang Lee was using the scenery to keep the "gay factor" to a minimum.

The time period and the circumstances of this film forced Ennis and Jack to be secretive (for the most part) of their true passion and love. Even today, in our "open-minded" society, a gay male relationship is much more taboo than female homosexuality, and this was set 40 years ago in between the coasts!

As for the comment about 'too much sheep', If you have seen any of Ang Lee's films, he truly makes use of beautiful cinematography, I believe for himself as much as the viewer. He uses the medium of film the way it should be used, on a grand scale, taking chances you can't on the small screen. Ice Storm, Crouching Tiger...all beautiful for the sake of being beautiful. This is no different.

Ok, gotta go back to work, but had to plant some seeds of discussion myself. Wonderful film, loved it end to end.

Jack's death
Date: 2006-01-18 17:11:41
Link to this Comment: 17649

I seemed to miss the details of Ennis learning of Jack's death from his wife. As she is describing him dying in a roadside accident, Ennis envisions him being beaten to death. Explain?

Jack's Death
Name: Chuck Hamm
Date: 2006-01-18 23:33:11
Link to this Comment: 17665

See my post for 1/3 and subsequent.

Date: 2006-01-19 09:46:42
Link to this Comment: 17681

Jack's Death
Name: joseph
Date: 2006-01-19 10:01:07
Link to this Comment: 17682

OK. Here is my two cents regarding Jack’s death. What we see is how Ennis imagines Jack dying and I believe- based on what I have read in the short story and have seen in the film- that that is, indeed, how Jack died. The writers and Ang Lee have purposefully left a LOT of things up to us- the viewers/readers- to interpret and that is yet one more reason why this film is such a rare cinematic joy. How I see it is this: Lureen’s delivery to Ennis of the circumstances of Jack’s death is too rehearsed, like someone told her to say this when she is asked about how Jack died. Think about it. The father was not happy with Jack and probably had such prominence in the local community that he had a lot to lose if the truth about Jack’s death (a Gay bashing?) were to be known. It is a matter of protecting the remaining family- Lureen, her parents and her son, Bobby. The truth would have been too damaging and scandalous so, a story was fabricated to, as I said before, protect Lureen and her family. Plus, why would she care enough about Ennis to tell him the truth?

How Jack came to this end, as I see it is this: He was getting too familiar and open with the other guy (Randall?) he was going to bring up to his parents ranch. Maybe the guys who did it were relatives or friends of Lashawn, Randall’s wife. OR, perhaps Jack did have truck trouble and got a bit too familiar with one of the mechanics that “heard about that Jack Twist fella”. In the credits to the film, there are three male actors credited to that scene, something like “assailant, killer mechanic and man with crowbar” (oh, it makes me sick just to think of it, poor Jack!) or something to that effect. I am leaning more towards the latter of my two interpretations. The way that scene is shot, albeit brief, it just looks like it was a spur of the moment attack as opposed to my former interpretation which would have been a more calculated attack, happening perhaps in the cover of darkness. (In the short story, the scene takes place at night, actually). We shall never know the truth behind these circumstances except the truths that we have come to believe through our own interpretations. Like I said before, it is one more reason why I love this film and why it is truly above and beyond any other movie that I have seen in recent memory.

the landscape in "Brokeback Mountain"
Name: Jerry
Date: 2006-01-19 14:53:59
Link to this Comment: 17689

The running commentary on the landscape in "Brokeback Mountain" has been very interesting, so here is a bit more. It seems to me that the significance of the landscape in Ang Lee's film is very similar to the importance of the landscape in Hemingway's work--especially with regard to the use of the higher and lower elevations. In Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises," for example, only the characters who understand and appreciate the "code" and all that it entails ever make it to Burguete and the Irati River, where nature is in its purest form; the others--Brett, Mike, and Robert--are left "below" in Pamplona. Now think Ennis and Jack on Brokeback Mountain--and the others in their respective places. Anyone out there with thoughts on this observation?

Name: Chuck Hamm
Date: 2006-01-20 00:54:22
Link to this Comment: 17694

I like the high/low analysis, but I think landscape operates in yet another, more rudimentary, way as well. Brokeback Mountain represents an Edenic state, a state of innocence and grace. After they are "expelled" by Aguierre Jack and Ennis can never return. (Interestingly, in the short story this is true, however in the movie their reunions take place -- or so it is intimated -- at Brokeback.) They try to recreate Brokeback in a variety of locales, but none, not surprisingly, are quite satisfying in the way the original was.

What about the name "Brokeback Mountain?" When you "break someone's back" or break the back of something, doesn't that mean you remove, usually forcefully, resistance or an objection?

pop-psyche flaw?
Date: 2006-01-21 16:31:14
Link to this Comment: 17719

The only thing that bothered me about the movie was what appeared to me a strange pop-psych assumption that two under-educated cowboys, faced with inarticulable emotions and an untenable situation, would resort to violence to express themselves. The whole, "I'm loving you, so I'm punching you" thing seemed a little trite and unexamined. I mean, is this really the way that a macho gay man would express his love physically? Would he really be torn between whether to kiss his lover or break his nose? Maybe so, in which case I'm happy to withdraw my criticism. But I felt like this bordered on insulting, almost like saying that men are such brutal, emotional cripples that this is probably the only way for them to communicate complex feeling and inner confusion. I guess this would be a screenplay issue, or is this part of the Annie Proulx story (which I haven't read)? In any event, this is a fairly minor flaw, I think, in an otherwise solid film.

screwball violence
Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2006-01-21 17:20:34
Link to this Comment: 17720

I see your point about the violence between Ennis and Jake at that key moment, but I'm not sure it has to do with class assumptions as much as it does about passion. These two guys are experiencing raw emotions, not dissimilar in nature (in my opinion) from the funny but no less brutal tensions expressed physically in any number of screwball comedies, in which the two people who love each other express that love by way of kicking, punching, tripping, and being otherwise physically violent with each other. Of course in those cases they're inevitably heterosexual men and women, and the women are often wealthy and educated. And I recognize that BROKEBACK's blood-inducing violence is scarcely played for laughs. But I think the same erotic impulse is at work. And anyway, haven't you ever wanted to throttle someone you love?!

Wifes inlaws
Name: Jez
Date: 2006-01-22 14:47:53
Link to this Comment: 17731

Just seen the film in the U.K. We really liked it. We had the assumption that 'Jacks death' was somehow related to the 'other bearded guy' who was meant to be setting up the ranch back home (near his folks) aside/after Ennis - failed to deliver. Maybe Jack had attempted to regain control of his destiny via a new relationship. I mean who could blame him! Maybe it was the bearded guys wifes inlaws who took revenge. Things are left open for you to ponder - set over such a long period of time. This seems a common suspicion from the posts listed here.

Jack's death
Name: Madonna
Date: 2006-01-22 17:47:03
Link to this Comment: 17734

At first I thought that Jack's death was due to an unfortunate accident as described by his wife to Ennis on the phone, and that the flash of the beating was only in Ennis's mind, a flash back to the reference of the gay man who was perhaps murdered by his father. But after discussing the movie with my sister, she says that it was a veiled message that Jack's wife was telling to Jack's other gay friend over the phone. That the story would be adhered to to protect her and her son's name, but that murder and mayhem were the cause. I did not read the book, and am not sure that the flash of beating was only in his mind or was it there for the auidence to uncover, a peak into the real cause of Jack's death.>>>
I did at first question why Ennis' wife comfronted him about his "Fishing trips" after she was divorced and paired up with her new husband and supposedly more secure in herself, but everyone knows how volcanic holiday meals can become with emotional outbursts, and family arguments and such., just like the scene in Jack's house where he is not considered anything but a sperm donor for a controlling grandparent's need to topple his son-in-laws spirit. It makes no-never-mind that the knife they were fighting over was an electric carving untensil; it was a powerful manly tool to wield.

A Beautiful Story
Name: Ayesha
Date: 2006-01-22 18:02:32
Link to this Comment: 17735

I've seen this movie several times because I fell in love with their love story and wanted to experience all of the emotions these men were feeling again. Such a beautiful depiction of the short story by Annie Proulx- Ang Lee did an exeptional job of capturing the deep and difficult emotions they were experiencing throughout life, especially those of Ennis del Mar. Many of the scenes just took my breath away because they captured the feelings of these men so beautifully. He (Ang Lee)deserved the Best Director Golden Globe for sure and should capture the Oscar in March as well. Admittedly, I was disappointed that Heath Ledger did not pick up the Best Actor Globe, but...there is still a chance of the Oscar for him! (Phillip Seymour Hoffman was incredible in Capote, true, but Ledger portrayed Ennis del Mar; he WAS Ennis del Mar). And I must say that Jake Gyllenhal and Heath Ledger had incredible chemistry!!

Something very telling that I missed the first couple of times I saw the movie was at the beginning of the movie when Ennis had said, "I'll stick with beans", then Jack said, "Well, I won't". These are very telling comments about their future lives...Ennis will stick to what he knows and is used to, what society wants...and was willing to just "stand it". "If you can't fix it, you've gotta stand it", as he said. But Jack was willing to come out of the safety of what he knew for what he really wanted in life, which was to be with Ennis. I LOVED the contrast between these two men who were so devoted to each other.

I have enjoyed reading the comments about this beautiful, yet tragic, love story. Please continue!!


Name: Chuck Hamm
Date: 2006-01-22 21:49:19
Link to this Comment: 17739

Maybe the interesting question is not how Jack died, but whether or not it's important how he died. Didn't anyone feel that Ennis -- if he really believed Jack was murdered -- somehow let Jack down by not driving straight to Texas, finding out what happened and exacting some sort of revenge? One possible speculation is too disturbing to contemplate.

I thought the passion/violence aspect of their relationship -- or rather Ennis' relationship with Jack -- was completely consistent. The "fight" takes place just as they are leaving Brokeback, that is when Ennis, who has been happy, one imagines, for the first time in his life, is being uprooted and sent back to a life with Alma, who, sadly, has become symbolic of everything banal and second-rate to him. As the catalyst for all this emotion -- emotion which, incidentally, Ennis has no verbal skills to express or control -- Jack has become at once both the love and hate object. Ennis says it later on: "You're the reason I'm like this!" He's miserable and all he sees in front of him is misery. Who wouldn't lash out in a sort of impotent, inarticulate rage?

Have other people seen BM multiple times? I'm beginning to feel a bit freaky...

Name: David
Date: 2006-01-23 08:19:37
Link to this Comment: 17744

From the get-go, I found the acting and timing very forced. Ang Lee ain't American (it's like the British doing American accents...we can't do Shakespeare, they can't do Tennessee Williams) Ang Lee's take on this is like an Asian sensibility and filmstyle... a tea-house love story played out across 20 years(place women in the roles "love which cannot speak its name" and you get the idea) So much for the sensibility
The acting was very forced ("Look at me act") and their sudden turning on, with liquor is a bit cliche... from that point on, I liked the sheep shots more than them getting on or off horses at the camp site.
The remainder of the story was just, "and then, and then..." storytelling. You can say it was like real life, but I ain't paying good money to watch real life, I'm going to learn, to feel, to be taken somewhere by the art.
The love by the women... the rich cowgirl, the hard-scrabble wife, the later girlfriend, daughters and mother who knows why he kept the shirt... are one note and deny them any real complexity.
The ending where we are shown the beating with a tire iron, but not the lover, comes as cheap -- as though (oh you know that if a gay is caught in cowboy country, he will be murdered) -- but the real drama of never committing to the relationship... forcing the other guy to go off and practice the risky sex... is one helluva guilt and story point that would feed the "lost love...wasted life" theme of this story a lot more.
The audience was mostly women and they seemed to love it. To me, that feeds the ideas of how simple women think men are. There was a 20/20 or some such show on recently where this very butch lesbian, passed herself as a man, trying to pick up women and then going to one of those Mountain Men weekends. Her take on the situation was a lot more interesting on the complexity of men than Brokeback.

Multiple viewings
Name: joe
Date: 2006-01-23 08:45:55
Link to this Comment: 17746

Chuck, you are indeed not alone. I and I believe most people posting comments here and on other blogs/sites have seen Brokeback Mtn. more than two or three times. It is a film that requires you to do so to fully appreciate it. I for one will be seeing it for a fourth time this week and i am just as excited about that as i was when I saw it the second and third times. I have not heard much about this in terms of Brokeback Mtn. but I remember TITANIC had great staying-power throughout the Winter of '98 because of people, like myself, who felt a need to see the film more than once. I suspect it is the same for this film. Those of us who saw the film early on are now seeing it again and again with folks who, for whatever reason, are just now seeing Brokeback Mtn. for the first time. I like hearing them react to scenes that i almost have memorized. It makes each viewing seem like the first. Films like this- and I don't mean the homosexual context of the love story- only come around in a generation once or twice, where all of the elements come together like a planetary alignment- direction, casting, location, story, acting, on and on. We should definitely enjoy this ride multiple times!!!

These posts are so wonderful to read and be a part of!!!

In response to David O
Date: 2006-01-23 12:04:02
Link to this Comment: 17748

This is a comment directed to David O: What movie were you watching? I don't feel anything was forced, I feel the actors took on these characters 100%! Your comments were interesting to read...but, I find myself thinking that you were NOT into the movie at all. Ah well...everyone can't feel the same way; that's what makes the world interesting...

This is a comment directed to Chuck, I believe. The person who wrote about Ennis coming to seek revenge: I don't think revenge is beautiful, nor is it necessarily healing. It would NOT have been appropriate in this particular story for Ennis. I don't think he is one to seek out a revenge killing. He still loved Jack very much. And since the movie was being true to the story told by Annie Proulx...there was no room for that.

This has been interesting...


Sorry David!
Date: 2006-01-23 19:19:09
Link to this Comment: 17753

Sorry David! I thought it was David O, but apparently those are just (). Ah well...


Lee Ain't American
Name: Chuck Hamm
Date: 2006-01-24 00:14:46
Link to this Comment: 17762

Funny. Lee isn't British either, but he did a definitive Jane Austen.

Don't feel freaky...
Name: Mr Matt
Date: 2006-01-24 12:06:50
Link to this Comment: 17769

Chuck...This movie has a way of getting under one's skin...A testament to the project's success as a truly great film. I'm seeing it for a third time this week.

non-American directors
Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2006-01-24 17:17:58
Link to this Comment: 17775

And just to say, Ang Lee got the '70s in the suburbs pretty darn accurately in THE ICE STORM.

Other non-American-born directors who represented this country (in my opinion) accurately include Chaplin, Wilder, Wyler, Preminger, Lang, Hitchcock, Lubitsch, Ophuls, Ray, Sirk, Zinnemann, etc. etc. etc.

It's not where they come from or the language they spoke first. It's their talent.

Name: Chuck Hamm
Date: 2006-01-24 23:05:49
Link to this Comment: 17779

Thanks, guys. Stop me before I view again!!!!

viewer alert
Name: Susan
Date: 2006-01-26 13:30:06
Link to this Comment: 17811

I don't mean to lower the tone of this forum. But I believe the entire Brokeback team will appear on Oprah on Friday, 1/27 (4 p.m. for those of you who are more high brow). Check your local listings and set the VCR or TiVO if you remain as "involved" as I.

To Susan Viewer Alert
Date: 2006-01-27 19:19:32
Link to this Comment: 17825

Dear Susan,
Thank you so much for the information on Oprah! I would have hated to have missed it but because of YOU, I set up to tape it today :)
thank you!

Name: Chuck Hamm
Date: 2006-02-01 00:41:24
Link to this Comment: 17907

I am so delighted that Gyllenhaal was nominated. Now, if only the woman who played Mrs. Twist was up there too...

Missed the Oprah Show
Name: kudigit
Date: 2006-02-01 08:46:23
Link to this Comment: 17910

Is there any place on the internet to view it?

Very proud of the nominations.

Ennis and Jack
Name: sid
Date: 2006-02-02 16:05:11
Link to this Comment: 17939

I have seen the film three times and it gets better every time. I had read the short story and when I heard the film was being made it became my most anticipated event of the year. At the first screening I found myself squirming a little through the second half of the movie, mostly due to waiting for Jack and Ennis to get back together. In the words of so many I was haunted by the film. It crept up on me and I found myself staggered by the moments of anquish, Ennis' collapse in the alley, "Jack I swear" and everything in between. I could barely speak of the film without choking. A moment from the film would flash and I would well up. I couldn't shake it.

The subsequent viewings allowed me to emmerse myself more into the parts of the story where they are separated, which are greatly expanded upon from Proulx's story.

On this and other blogs a big deal has been made of the flaws of these characters and yes they are flawed, yet I am stunned by the sometimes virulent reaction to these flaws. Let those without sin cast the first stone. Should Ennis have been "honest" about his feelings, should he have been "brave" enough to accept Jack's proposal? Maybe they could have moved to San Fran, found an accepting community and opened a butcher shop, but that's not THIS story. This story is about the price paid for not being honest and brave (the price paid for being so can be equally tragic). It's about the choices we make in the circumstances we're in and how it will affect us and those around us. The particular story of Ennis and Jack plays out the only way it can given who they are.

The choices made in the film go beyond their characters as well. What if Alma had confronted Ennis about what she saw, what she knew to be happening on those trips?

I've read on one site where someone slammed the boys for shirking their duty on the mountain. This is obviously their boss' position but he is wrong. We are only aware of two times where one of them didn't sleep with the sheep, that first night and the night of the hail storm, despite the fact that it was against the law. We see Ennis wake up after the snow storm in the pup tent.

Comments about whether Jack died by tire iron are valid. Ennis believes this, we don't know if its true or not, it plays out that way in the short story as well. Nonetheless Lurene is quite brittle and cold with Ennis on the phone. She knows something.

Regarding comments on Heath and Jake and the "I'm not gay" issue, to me they are just actors, vessels. I don't care a whit, that's all just show business. That they realized these characters so truthfully is enough for me. It's Ennis and Jack I care so deeply about.

I think this is the truest piece of filmmaking I have ever seen. These characters are so real I believe I could find Ennis's trailer in Wyoming and I'm sorely tempted to try. I'm aware that this story has a particular resonance for me that may not be true of others but we all have a Brokeback, a time of that perfect happiness when the rest of the world didn't matter and the sun always shone (I play the soundtrack alot).

Whew! Lastly, on the ending, that scene with the daughter is not in the book. I think it is important for a couple of reasons, it shows that despite the regret Ennis feels there is something positive to show for his bad choices, a relationship with a loving daughter. A question he asks her also shows he has learned some self awareness and shows his love for her. He doesn't ask if she loves her fiance, he asks, "Does he love you?" Without this scene, this touch of hope, the ending would be horribly bleak. Perhaps making the film unwatchable a second time.

My favourite song from the soundtrack, "A love that will never grow old" and something from the book, that Jack comes to Ennis in his dreams sums up for me what this film is all about, the indestructable force of love, no matter what we or anyone or anything does to try to destroy it.

What Next?
Name: wes horner
Date: 2006-02-02 17:26:13
Link to this Comment: 17940

Life after Brokeback….Life has already changed for a lot of us as the result of Brokeback. Something has happened to us, as demonstrated by scanning of these many Brokeback forums that are proliferating. So many of us needing to talk, to share with each other, our words wanting to reach out. This film has ripped some of us open. And even more remarkable, we continue to go back for more.

We write about our intense reactions, so many of them so starkly similar. We can’t let go of Brokeback, and it won’t let go of us. Why do we feel the need to keep writing about it, talking about it? When has such a movie had this kind of impact?

You sit down in the theater and watch Ennis’ love rise to the surface, watch his story unfold, watch him double over as Jack drives off down the road after the first summer together, watch him struggle with this illicit love that would surely damn him and kill him as he had been taught over and over again. It takes no time to fit into Ennis’ all too familiar clothes. For some of us, it is our life, too, notwithstanding the differences in times and locations. The ever present fear of being discovered, stuffing our feelings until we choke, the weight on our backs. The constant self-loathing that drags us down. The inescapability of it all that haunts us. It’s embarrassing to admit it in 2006, so politically incorrect to be so closeted. But it’s still there for so many of us. We’re still scared (read the papers - it’s not total paranoia).

You sit down and suddenly here is your story. Here is your life, told in the most beautiful and passionate and loving ways. In its telling, Brokeback acknowledges you, opens you up, accepts you. “It’s alright….” As though loving hands have reached into your inner most depths and calmed the fears that have haunted you throughout your life. Like a powerful embrace, vastly transcending the highest moments of therapeutic insight that many of us have sought. Brokeback first understands you. And then there for the whole world to see, Brokeback accepts us and tells us “It’s alright…” There is something special, deeply personal here, rooted to our very core.

And so the extremely personal reactions continue and even grow. Where does it end? An “R” rating? For those of us so vulnerable, we just shouldn’t see it alone.

Name: Johann
Date: 2006-02-03 01:40:49
Link to this Comment: 17947

The only thing I can add to the many insightful and touching comments so far is my own experience of being profoundly moved by the film: My heart was broken not in memory of a lost love, but in sadness for what did not happen and what cannot. While love can be found at any age, youthful love of course cannot. The purity, passion, and merging of young love is powerful, and it is intensified if secret or forbidden. Ennis and Jack were engulfed in their love, in their agony, in their yearning, in their shame. As strange as it may seem, I think there is something beautiful in this guileless, fierce attachment, just as I find the movie beautiful although it is wrenching and heartbreaking. I also find it tremendously sad because I know I will never have the all-encompassing, naive love that they shared. I think we all grieve for Ennis who forfeited the more mature love he could have had; I grieve the loss of the young love that I have not.

Date: 2006-02-03 18:04:47
Link to this Comment: 17954


Name: sid
Date: 2006-02-04 11:53:47
Link to this Comment: 17959

Oh, Jim. I thought I was cynical...
no argument there
a little simplistic but okay...
Lion, witch and wardrobe?
Farming, manufacturing, medicine, virtually everything in our society is about making money
Cause they're Heath, Jake, Ang Lee and/or western fans? Because they're curious about the rapturous reviews? Certainly there are those intrigued by the subject matter, not necessarily in a voyeuristic way.
Films are made for a variety of reasons, some strictly for the money, but many are made because of a particular vision of the film makers. Efforts like Brokeback, Syriana, Good Night & Good Luck and Crash are made with no guarantees they'll connect with audiences and make money, even strictly commercial efforts like Deuce Bigelow can lose money. Ang Lee, like many of us, could not get the story out of his head after reading the script and felt he had to make this film. He probably didn't do it to promote understanding but nonetheless IT HAS. No gays were hurt in the making of this film. If seeing our stories on the big screen is exploitation than exploit away. Imagine if Van Gogh listened to those who said he'd never sell a painting (he never did) He never stopped painting.

Last Line?
Date: 2006-02-04 12:36:45
Link to this Comment: 17960

I have played the last scene over and over and still am not sure EXACTLY what Ennis says at the end. I'm sure he says something followed by "I Swear". Everyone seems to think it is "Jack, I swear" but I think it's something else. Any opinions? Enlighten me!

shouting and not listening
Name: movie love
Date: 2006-02-05 16:24:14
Link to this Comment: 17975

The two obviously anti BBM comments on this forum were both written in all caps, (commonly accepted to be taken as shouting), and they both had obviously not read the comments of the people who were enlightened, touched and healed by watching the film. What's with that?

"Jack, I swear..."
Name: Chuck Hamm
Date: 2006-02-05 23:10:28
Link to this Comment: 17980

Nope, that's it. Take a look at the story if you want to verify it. By the way, are folks going to the discussion tomorrow?

My view on BBM
Name: Coral
Date: 2006-02-07 00:16:03
Link to this Comment: 17997

I, myself, loved the movie. I've read many comments on this site and love seeing everyone's view on this movie. There's many issues discussed but here is my general view on BBM:

It is your basic love story but done with more class and prestige then most. I personally believe that they were two straight men who fell in love with someone of the same sex. They were not "gay" prior to their meeting on Brokeback. I do not think they're bisexual in any sense of the word. It's a movie that preaches about love and society's unwillingness to accept the concept of love no matter who it is between. Jack's death is left up to interpretation but I personally believe that his innocence about the cruelty of people led to his death. His willingness to be open about his homosexuality. That is what I personally think happened. I loved the scenery, the script is beautifully adapted from the short story, and the casting/directing was a great choice.

And on the subject of symbolism, the black hat on Jack and the white hat on Ennis means this. Jack is the protagonist of the story. He is the one that instigates the relationship. Ennis is a "homophobe" and is almost startled into it by Jack. But that's left up to you to decide.

Love of this movie..
Name: Jackie
Date: 2006-02-08 16:03:53
Link to this Comment: 18022

I could not stop thinking about the movie for days. I still can't see Heath or Jake on anything that I don't get a heaviness in my heart. I told my friends that I never in my life wanted so much to go see a movie again and hope that the ending had changed. The scenery was just gorgeous, which I really like in my movies and the acting was so incredible. As I type this I have a huge lump in my throat and feel like I could cry. (I never finished my cry at the daughter didn't like it and got right up and started to leave.) I am definitely going to see this movie again ..alone so that I can sob as long as I want to...and will surely buy it when it comes out. The scene with Ennis hugging the shirts is burned into my memory. Ang Lee has done it again.
I could go on and on but most of you have said it all.

Name: Chuck
Date: 2006-02-09 00:36:30
Link to this Comment: 18036

I guess this site will end today. Thanks to everyone for the insightful and heartfelt reflections on the film, which have added immeasurably to my appreciation of it.

Wonderful Reading
Name: Doreen
Date: 2006-02-09 12:28:38
Link to this Comment: 18042

Today's the last day at the County for BBM and I'm going to see it for the 2nd time. For a couple of weeks I kept returning to this site to read the posts. Have enjoyed reading them all, gained insights and perspectives as each of them expressed my thoughts about this film. I'm glad that I had read the short story before seeing BBM the first time. Annie's writing style is so rich and natural that I could see the words when looking at the cinematography. The screenwriters were true to her voice. I wish it success at the Academy Awards.

Brokeback Mountain discussion
Date: 2006-02-09 19:09:43
Link to this Comment: 18047

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the discussion this past week but would very much like to attend another discussion group. If anyone is aware of another group I would certainly like to know.

Brokeback Review etc.
Name: wes horner
Date: 2006-02-10 09:54:36
Link to this Comment: 18052

I don't think Ed Sikov would mind me relaying this contact to new New York review of books/Daniel Mendelsohn piece on Brokeback which, for me, is close to perfect and so important that he says what he says. For many of us here, I would think it would strike more than a chord.
A final thought....As much of a tragedy as Brokeback might be, of course it is about love. I think a lot about why these two guys fell so totally in love with one another and why their love seems so real and compelling for so many of us. The movie makes clear the physical attraction from the outset (not so perfect in the book), but then there's Jack quickly dipping his neckerchief to care for the injured Ennis, their banter and sharing of themselves in a world that had never been interested, them caring for the sheep, Ennis generous offer to let Jack stay back at camp - when had Jack ever been treated with such generosity with nothing expected - at least by another male (Mom obviously allowed him to be the loving guy he became). In this barren "life's tough" world of takings, they gave to each other, with no expectation of return.
During what turns out to be their last night together, Jack confesses that it gets so bad - his missing Ennis - he hardly can stand it. His love has not faded, even after Ennis' twisted testing of it so many times over the years. Then the wrenching scene at the farewell, the realization by Jack that it - they - must come to an end as Ennis falls into the dust. "I'm nothing-nobody." And Jack, so loving his friend, realizes that he must let go. Ennis, so twisted, is close to destroyed. For me, in this ultimate and final way, he tends to Ennis wounds once again. It has to be over. Off he goes by himself, careless actions, and then the tire iron end, though in a sense his life - so defined by this love - has already ended. The final sacrifice in this tragedy that Mendelsohn explores so beautifully.
God, I wish we could go on. Can we?

Still Feeling
Name: Deb
Date: 2006-02-10 17:28:28
Link to this Comment: 18055

Since the first time I saw BB, I have been what I now tell my friends a Brokeback junkie. Saw the movie for the third time and felt more than I thought possible after seeing it twice, reading the story and just about every article written to date. Last but not least, thank you to everyone here for their honest, heartfelt sharing of their emotions, reactions, thoughts, and intelligent insight into this amazing film. I will miss the connection. If only we could have more movies with such power--but then where would I find the time to work?

Name: Serp
Date: 2006-02-12 03:19:46
Link to this Comment: 18071

Hey, I have a question about the movie Brokeback Mountain: Did Ennis Delmar (Heath Ledger) have AIDS and did he imply that Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) infected him? My friends have been having this debate for a couple of days now. This is why some seem think that could be the case:

In the very last sequence of scenes where Ennis and Jack see each other for the last time, Ennis very strongly warns Jack that he would kill him if he ever found out about the things he'd done with other men on his escapades to Mexico. They both go through some very dramatic dialogue and then Ennis, in tears, says, "It's because of you that I'm like this!" He crumples to his knees and Jack rushes over and embraces him. Then there is a long close-up of Ennis' hand on Jack's back and it's covered with purple skin blotches. The first time time I saw the film, I never even noticed that but the second time I saw it, yes, they are most definetely there. In the very next scene, Ennis is sitting alone in a dinner and he has his hat pulled far down on his head. His ex-girfriend walks in and confronts him for his long abscence and when he looks up and she sees his face, tears began to run stream her face. His facial skin looks extremely unhealthy and blotchy. Remember, the movie begins in 1963 and ends in 1983 at which time AIDS was quite prevalent. What do you think? Do you think that director Ang Lee wanted to leave it open to interpretation?

Name: Jackie
Date: 2006-02-12 17:54:52
Link to this Comment: 18083

I never noticed anything like that, but next time around I will look. I just thought it was because Ennis loved Jack so much that he couldn't stand the thought of him with anyone else. And the girlfriend..just thought that he loved Jack too much for that also. That's my take anyway. God, my heart hurts just thinking of all this.

Date: 2006-02-13 15:07:30
Link to this Comment: 18101


great dissertation topic
Name: Sarah Haff
Date: 2006-02-15 06:43:21
Link to this Comment: 18125

Hi everyone,

im new to this forum so this is my first post.

Im about to start my dissertation on Brokeback Mountain and how it is seen as a love story.... how peoples responses vary or compare/relate. who it appeals to? whether the content or genre is the main appeal? and what people thought of the gay love affair being screened on mainstream cinema.

any comments would be very useful, positive or negative.

If i get enough interest i was hoping to send out questionnaires to people, so please let me know if you can help me out on this...

i have an 8,000 word dissertation to write by May and all responses and reviews of the film would be very much appreciated.

so if you have any spare time to write a few comments please email me -

cheers everyone :-)

Beyond Brokeback Mountain
Name: Betty
Date: 2006-02-16 00:48:27
Link to this Comment: 18150

There seem to be a ton of fan sites out there for this film and the forums are overflowing about what a great film this is. I found a brand new forum that is made up of people who, like me, got hammered by the themes of the movie (lost opportunities, unemotional partners, past relationships) and have formed an informal support group to carry forward the memory of the movie and actually make changes to their own lives to make sure they don't end up like the characters. It is less than a week old but I discovered it on the IMDB forum and it seems brilliant if people will actually open up and go with it. The site is BetterMost.Net and seems friendly and safe.

Jack and Jack's mother
Name: wes horner
Date: 2006-02-16 11:32:25
Link to this Comment: 18158

Another comment. Though Ennis/Heath for good reason seems to get the most attention, it seems to me that Jack's presence is just as monumental in the story. From the first night in the tent to the continued efforts to come together year after year to the marvelous flashback during their final time together. His generous giving - love -is so part of the tragedy. And, as someone noted fairly recently, this giving is mirrored in such perfect, though subtle ways by Jack's mother in those few short seconds that we are given with her. So perfectly written, so perfectly directed, then so perfectly acted in a few short seconds. Here is the love, the love that kept Jack alive and charged him into the rodeos and gave him the strut and the guts to reach out to Ennis over and over. Some cherry cake on the desolate plain. Another beautiful facet of this shimmering art. Mother Mary....
Idea: anybody interested in an oscar night get together? Location could be my place in central Chester County PA (Downingtown area) - I have no idea how many posters here are in the area. Modest offerings - not a lavish affair (more the Week 1 menu than Week 6). This might be a tad weird but given how many of us are so committed to this film, perhaps getting together would be good. If interested, respond by email.

On Brokeback Mountain and Marilyn Manson
Name: Jane
Date: 2006-02-16 19:56:59
Link to this Comment: 18163

I recently read an article in the Salt Lake Tribune about the Brokeback Mountain controversy in Utah. A major businessman in Salt Lake City, Larry H. Miller -- who also owns the Utah Jazz, the Delta Center, car dealerships, and more -- refused to show Brokeback Mountain at his movie theater. He says that it is a “business decision”, but Brokeback Mountain was the highest grossing movie in Salt Lake City when he made that descision. Moreover, Miller decided to pull the movie from his theater only after he found out what it was about.
Since I am gay, Miller’s actions naturally make me angry. There was more in the article, however. This is not the first time that Miller has acted upon his convictions – in the past, he refused to let Marilyn Manson play at the Delta Center. An ironic bit: Manson was a warm-up for the Nine Inch Nails. Quite frankly, I don’t understand Miller’s logic in barring Manson and allowing the Nine Inch Nails to play. As senseless as I find Miller’s actions, what Manson did is even worse. Trent Reznor, the lead singer of the Nine Inch Nails, invited Manson to disregard Miller and perform as originally planned. Manson agreed. He took The Book of Mormon, which just so happens to be a deeply sacred text to a little over half of Utahans – then proceeded to rip pages out of it and throw them at the audience.
After I read the article, I wondered: Why do people hate each other so much? I won’t lie – sometimes being part of a minority makes it tough to live in a predominantly white, conservative, Mormon state. Still, the Mormon culture is an incredibly rich one. Today, Mormons have found a place that they can express themselves in, and I respect that. Hate is not an appropriate response to hatred. If you don't stand up for the rights of Mormons, who’s going to stand up for your rights?

Reversal of shirts and last words
Name: JBG
Date: 2006-02-18 23:24:38
Link to this Comment: 18198

Can some one state definatively what Ennis' last words in the movie are as he STRAIGHTens the picture of the Mountain on the cupboard door?

Also does anyone else see any signifcance to the way the shirts are hung in reverse order in Ennis's CLOSET from the way he found them in Jack's CLOSET? Both shirts have blood stains ... Ennis says "I can't believe that I left my shirt up there" when they are back down in town, preparing to part for the first time, not knowing that Jack has already taken it.

Is this representative symbolism of the compassionate comforter (Jack) versus the closeted protector (Ennis)?

Looking forward to your comments ...

Last Words
Date: 2006-02-19 11:56:45
Link to this Comment: 18202

Ennis' last words were: "Jack, I swear...", then he stopped himself from saying anything else because "...Jack had never asked him to swear anything and was himself not the swearing kind" as it stated in the short story.

The shirts- I think what you said was right on, about Ennis wanted to protect Jack; feeling a little guilty perhaps because he could not give to Jack the way Jack wanted, therefore, Jack went off with another man, then tragedy struck...or so, Ennis believes...

So Ennis' words, "if you can't fix it, you gotta stand it", which is exactly what he is doing at the end of the movie...


Love it ?
Name: Kelley
Date: 2006-02-21 17:10:25
Link to this Comment: 18279

Hello for those that loved the film I have created a forum and would love more opinions and voices if you are willing or able to join. I am also creating a website.

brokeback mountain
Name: Rose
Date: 2006-02-25 03:11:32
Link to this Comment: 18334

I thought the movie was ok I kind of thought it got a little over praised
personaly in my opinion. I wonder if it would of got as much attention as
it did if it didnt have such well known actors in it which is why I wanted to see the film. There are alot of people I know and I am sure you know to that are ok with seeing two gay women together but not so much two guys together.

Question for Rose
Date: 2006-02-25 18:39:31
Link to this Comment: 18340

I thought this film was amazingly directed, amazingly acted...just left me with a lot of deeply felt emotions. For me, it was truly one of the best I've seen. True art. I'm just wondering what specifically you did NOT feel about the said it was just okay.


Name: Peter
Date: 2006-03-01 13:38:03
Link to this Comment: 18414

I was deeply touched by this movie but I'm sure I would have appreciated it more if I didn't know a thing about it before I saw it. I made the big mistake of breezing through this forum and knew of Jack's fate, among other things, the day before I saw it. On the other hand, I probably would've blubbered like an idiot had I viewed it "fresh". So, maybe Rose was affected by all the hype too.

The Oscars!
Date: 2006-03-06 07:47:24
Link to this Comment: 18457

It is wonderful that Ang Lee received Best Director for this beautiful film and that it took it away for Adapted Screenplay and Original Score...but...Brokeback Mountain was robbed of its Best Picture Oscar award. Crash, although a good film, is nowhere near Brokeback Mountain in terms of art, direction, story, beauty, acting...I believe the choice was a political one because, for me and many others, Crash pales in comparison. If the homosexual element was not part of the film, then a film as beautifully done as Brokeback would be receiving Best Picture, hands down. But, then again, if the homosexual element was not in the movie, there wouldn't be Brokeback! Hollywood (and America) must not be ready for this one. I am disappointed in them. A real shame.

Brokeback Mountain is the best film of 2005 in my book.

Please comment!


Name: mo
Date: 2006-03-06 12:50:51
Link to this Comment: 18458

I too am terribly disappointed that Brokeback did not receive the Oscar for best picture. Crash, although important and well done, did not come close to Brokeback on many levels. I believe that the Academy/Hollywood might have been ready for Brokeback to receive the honor (hence the mixed awards) but they were not ready for the backlash that might have occurred in the present political/social climate. The proceedings and outcome seemed so hollow.

post oscar depression
Name: sid
Date: 2006-03-06 16:58:15
Link to this Comment: 18459

It certainly was disappointing to see Brokeback robbed of its best picture oscar. Though I have to say, if any of the films were going to steal it I would lean towards Crash. In its own right it has much to say and offer. It never spoke to me as profoundly as Brokeback did but that is obviously not true for everyone. I think I can understand if rascism trumps sexism. As for quality, there are scores of examples from the past when the better film didn't win the Oscar.

There are all sorts of variables that come into play in the voting process and a big consideration in the upset has to be Hollywood's insular nature. Crash is about them.

It would be nice to see the tallies to see how close it all was. Ultimately it doesn't matter what others think though is it? We know that Brokeback Mountain is the best film of the year and more than that, the most important film in many, many years. There's no reins on this one. For me it is my favorite film of all time. It used to be One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Third place is Dogfight if anyone cares...

why Brokeback lost
Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2006-03-06 17:37:14
Link to this Comment: 18460

What I'm hearing from my industry-knowledgeable friends is that older Academy members stayed away from BROKEBACK in droves - they returned their "screener" videos without even opening the wrappers. Focus Features then tried to set up additional screenings, but the older voters still stayed away.

Just remember what Ann Miller once said about the Oscars: she told a friend of mine who interviewed her for the NEW YORK TIMES, "I never see any of the pictures, but I always vote. It means so much to those kids."

Such sadness....
Name: Jackie
Date: 2006-03-06 18:33:26
Link to this Comment: 18461

I was so shocked when Jack Nicholson said, "Crash." I actually started to cry. But it won't change my opinion of "Brokeback" will always be the movie that affected me so profoundly that I felt as though my heart was broken for many days after I saw it. Even though I am a woman, the romance and the heartbreak of this movie was clear enough for me to identify with also.
And yes, we all know that this won our Oscar!

Name: Anisha
Date: 2006-03-07 13:38:27
Link to this Comment: 18466

Hi,i saw the movie and it was great,and i will like to advice everyone to dee it,whether they are gay or not,it was amazing.I'm from Trinidad and it was awesome to finally see a huge movie.

going again this weekend
Name: Jackie
Date: 2006-03-07 17:42:43
Link to this Comment: 18469

I am going to the Oaks Regal this weekend to see it again if anyone would like to join me. But you have to be willing to sit and cry awhile after it's over because that's what I missed out on the first time. (I'm the one whose daughter didn't like it, so she got up as soon as it was over and ruined my cry.)

have perspectives changed?
Name: haffy22
Date: 2006-03-08 11:36:02
Link to this Comment: 18474


some of you will remember my last post asking for comments about Brokeback Mountain and i have sent a questionnaire to those who responded. please if anyone else is interested in answering questionnaire about the film, please email me -
especially those people who didn't enjoy it!!!

recently i have been told about another film which tackles the issue of same sex relationships - My Beautiful Laundrette - 80's film.

was wondering if anyone had seen it and how it compares to Brokeback Mountain - have perspectives changed? how is it similar?

as i have only a little knowledge of 'My Beautiful Laundrette' it would be great to receive any comments or info about it too.

i would be very grateful for any response.

thanks again everyone

sarah :-)

Oscars, Shmoscars
Name: Rick in Lo
Date: 2006-03-09 08:38:26
Link to this Comment: 18477

First of all, I have to say, this is the best forum I've found for BBM. It's good to see some intelligent comments for a change even if I don't agree with many of them.

Like many, I cannot get this film out of my mind. Quite frankly, that scares me because I am not normally the kind of person inclined to be emotionally moved by something on celluloid. (Sophies' Choice was the last film to have this effect.) At the same time, it's nice to feel such strong emotions for a change, and at my age, 45, it gladdens me.

Yes, of course, BBM should have won best picture. That's a no-brainer. And it's quite obvious why it didn't win. What gets me is that the "academy" chose such a weak film like Crash. Good Night and Good Luck, Capote, Walk the Line, were all much better than Crash. (I didn't see Munich so I can't comment.) The least they could have done, if they didn't want to choose BBM was to choose one of the above. Crash is Racism 101 for freshman at small mid-west colleges who don't get out much in the world. Racism bad. Ahhh....yes it is, so tell me something I don't know. The characters were two dimensional and underdeveloped. Subtlety is not one of American filmmakers' best attributes. American audiences, and the "academy", love to be hit over the head with issues rather than have to think in more abstract terms, as BBM forces one to do.

So here's to Brokeback Mountain, that friggin' film that has taught me what love is about again. I'm looking forward to seeing it a third time.

Supporters of BBM place ad in Daily Variety
Name: JD
Date: 2006-03-09 12:40:48
Link to this Comment: 18478

March 9, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: John Wells at 917-715-9263 or Linda Andrews at 210-885-4882

Hollywood, California: In an unprecedented show of support for Brokeback Mountain, a website discussion board has spearheaded a campaign to collect donations from around the world to place ads in trade and national publications in support of the movie. In the first 48 hours, the group raised nearly $16,000 from over 400 contributors, and a team of volunteers designed a full page color ad to run in the March 10 Daily Variety.

The ad campaign was started by members at the Ultimate Brokeback Forum as a positive way to deal with their emotions surrounding Brokeback Mountain's loss for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Instead of responding in anger, members wanted to find a way to thank the cast and crew of the film and to find a way to highlight Brokeback Mountain's unprecedented string of Best Picture wins.

The disparate group quickly decided to start an ad campaign, and soon word spread to other sites, and donations started to pour in from around the world. "I think most fans of the film were stunned by the Best Picture surprise, which raised the question of how and why the Academy could have been so out of sync with virtually every other organization that awarded Best Picture honors," site organizer Dave Cullen said in explaining why so many diverse people worldwide were donating to the campaign.

According to industry watchers, no movie has generated this sort of fan response after a loss for Best Picture. Fans are happy their support for Brokeback Mountain is becoming part of industry lore. They hope that others looking for a way to honor Brokeback Mountain as the Best Picture of 2005 will contribute to the campaign, so more ads can run to help raise awareness that the film garnered nearly every Best Picture award bestowed for 2005. "Only one major organization did not name Brokeback Mountain as Best Picture," says campaign chair Peter Greyson.

In part, this one snub for Best Picture was why those involved with the campaign wanted to send a clear message that Brokeback Mountain was embraced by people around the world as well as highlight their gratitude for the film and remind people of the spirit of the film as expressed by Ang Lee: "[Jack and Ennis] taught all of us who made Brokeback Mountain so much about not just all the gay men and women whose love is denied by society, but just as important, the greatness of love itself."

The organization spearheading the ad campaign is the Ultimate Brokeback Forum, hosted at The forum has 2,500 members and in only three months of operation is averaging 12,000 unique visitors each day and over 200,000 page views. For more information you can find them on the web at

Name: BILL
Date: 2006-03-13 11:43:04
Link to this Comment: 18493

Just wanted to make a point regarding the recent Academy snub of BM as Best Picture. We must realize that the Academy has a long history of homophobia on film and has treated actors who are gay with disdain and threats of depriving them of their professional careers. For those of you who are unaware of this please check out Vito Russo's CELLULOID CLOSET. It is a cinematic history utilizing scenes and movie clips that put forth the abominable record that Hollywood execs and film bosses have/had regarding gay actors. The only gay roles acceptable to be put on film were if the character was stereotypically represented as weak, effeminate, suicidal, or laughable. CELLULOID CLOSET is available in either book or dvd/vcr formats and many libraries and universities have it. Pick it up, you will love it!

The Future
Name: wes horner
Date: 2006-03-16 10:43:04
Link to this Comment: 18556

I vowed not to comment again - to let it go. I can't. Apparently many of us can't. As though there is now this legion of souls out there - here - which has been called forth and is searching for a place to light, a place to join hands. A place to join hearts and come together. It won't quit us and the truth is, we can't let it go. As though something spiritual has happened to us. The thought of Brokeback fading away, from the theaters, from the public realm - it just can't happen!
Big ads in publications, however cool, won't do it. Buying shirts, however wonderful, won't do it. This film has been a watershed act and we need a watershed response. Maybe a new Brokeback national outreach group - Brokeback -Acting on Love - a network of folks across the country who meet regularly, potluck suppers, gay and non-gay, to talk about their journeys, no holds barred, organized around a mission statement, set of principles, Annie's text as the holy book? Maybe a special sub-group that meets to target folks coming out and with special problems, special needs. A better way to spend our money, our vast well of energy? I don't know....I'm searching here.
This sounds like I'm on drugs. But somehow, the energy that Brokeback has released from deep inside of me and from so many of you just can't be left to flail away without direction. Sometimes you can take the reins. Sometimes you can fix it. Isn't this what we owe Jake and Ennis and all the rest?

keep this forum going, please
Name: Marian
Date: 2006-03-16 23:34:29
Link to this Comment: 18566

I saw this film five weeks ago and since then I've read Annie Proulx's story half a dozen times and anything else relevant I can get my hands on. I won't bother talking about the tears, the obsession, the pain - it's all familiar stuff. My point is, the DVD won't be released in Australia until July and I expect there will be another flood of people who didn't have the courage or opportunity or great good fortune to see it at the cinema. They'll be turning to forums like this to make sense of it all. I've found this one to be excellent and I'd like it still to be there for the enxt wave.
And thank you to all posters, especially Wes, Susan, Mark and Jackie, with whom I felt a real bond.

this forum
Name: Webmaster
Date: 2006-03-17 12:45:33
Link to this Comment: 18572

This forum will stay open as long as everyone still wants to talk. We also have a forum about the film "Crash" which we have re-opened, thinking that some people may see it now that it's won recognition. Link to the Crash forum:

Take care, Ann Dixon

Keeping it going..
Name: Jackie
Date: 2006-03-30 12:31:59
Link to this Comment: 18744

I finally saw Brokeback for the second time this past weekend. I had my really good cry which started with Jack's statement that he wished he could quit Ennis. And it was sobbing from there until well after the credits and crying out loud all the way home. Reading the postings today has brought all the sadness back. I like the idea of people getting together to basically honor the effect this movie has had on so, straight, many were affected. When I went last Sunday, 2 teenage girls were sitting a few rows back and during the first physical encounter, one of the girls laughed out loud. It was probably out of nervousness, but guess who were in the ladies room afterwards crying their eyes out. One was sobbing, "Why did he have to die?" That's really a good question...why DID he? This world needs needed it then and it needs it now. I hope to see more of that in my lifetime. We should be able to love and be loved freely. Oh, well, we on this forum already know that.
Love to you all..sight unseen and only knowing about you all what I do from these postings.

another questionnaire
Name: sarah
Date: 2006-03-31 08:00:11
Link to this Comment: 18762

Hi everyone,

some of you have already answered my questionnaire on audience response to Brokeback Mountain. I am writing my dissertation on the film and audience response and need to construct an argument for my 8,000 word dissertation.

I have another questionnaire that i would appreciate valuable response to about perceptions of homosexuality and how these have changed or been confirmed through representations in society and from BBM.

please email me if you would be willing to help me with my research - i would be very grateful.

many thanks


Why did Jack have to die....
Name: wes horner
Date: 2006-04-03 12:16:02
Link to this Comment: 18801

Jackie, above, recounts a touching story of a couple of teenage girls at a local theater crying about Jack's horrific death, after the movie. Why'd it have to happen? And though esteemed contributor Ed would counsel against any such absurd hypothetical that somehow disengages from the artist and what the artist is saying (and he would say it far better than I), I am compelled to reflect that Jack , I believe, realized in that last painful meeting with Ennis, replete with "...I wish I knew how to quit you..." and then Ennis crumbling into the dust with his you're destroying me/I can't take it any longer - realized that their relationship - though not their love - couold not continue and would have to come to an end. Thus we get Jack's remembrance of that beautiful and touching scene, with Ennis embracing him. Followed by Jack's grim goodbye stare as Ennis drove away (compare Jack's closed-eyed expression of peace and hope during th embrace with this final stare of doomed ending s his face melts down - very subtle and well done, Jake). From the beginning to the end. The reality is made the more poignant by Jack's spontaneous offering of sucuh intense love for Ennis - even after 20 painful years - the night before - "...I miss you so much I can hardly stand it..." (Annie says "...makes me want to whip babies.") Even so, Jack, the forgiving and loving angelic Jack, comes over to Ennis and raises him up from the dust - their last touching.
In the film, we get the disgusting flashback of Ennis and brother and father with the old gay cowpoke rotting in the sun, tortured and mutilated, and it gives us clues to Ennis, along with some others. And it is portrayed so beautifully. But the movie omits a critical flashback that Proulx includes in the book at the very end with Ennis in Jack's room, recounting Jack at 3 or 4 being horribly mistreated by his father for missing the toilet, setting new standards for abuse and offering up any number of explanations for Jack's distancing from his father (though, like mother/wife who continued to offer cherry cake amidst desert storms, he continued to return to help his father out). He worried about his boy - he tried to make Lureen happy - even with his being "unfaithful." Jack - so loving - so giving. Before we say goodbye to our boys and this tale, let's give one more pass to this Jack. There is something incredible about Gyllenhaal's presence on screen. So much of it in his eyes. At first it struck me, not having seen him in anything else, that he was too perfect and attractive and seductive or whatever. But maybe it does make sense. In the end, Jack's love bowls all of us over. Ironically, his commitment to Love - to Ennis - has got to be one of the most heroic we can find anywhere. It takes our breath away and makes the tragedy so total.

Ivory Tower BS
Date: 2006-04-05 02:04:58
Link to this Comment: 18838's incredible how a film about two losers so bent on unleashing their wad can, in the name of "art" and "culture" actually instigate the ivory tower intellectuals - so far removed from practicality and hard core realiy - can conjure their own removed conscience in order to possibly justify, through ridiculous ethical terms, the very behavior they have always known is wrong deep down in their hearts. The intellectual attempt will work for awhile, but then it loses its impact...and then the f**gots will search frantically for something else to cling to: something else that will somehow emotionally justify their own amoral behavior.

The film is nothing. Two actors portraying rump-humpin', fudge-packin' losers who will reinforce themselves as vile, repulsive creatures in the eyes of those who actually have masculinity and would never sell their soul for a hairy ass.

Anyone who thinks differently is so far removed from reality and propriety that they'll do anything, including calling out some pathetic intellectual gymnastics in order to defend it. It's a losing battle.

Ivory Tower Response
Name: Jackie
Date: 2006-04-05 17:18:22
Link to this Comment: 18846

The 'losing battle' may be because of close-minded people like yourself. You are certainly entitled to your opinion, so thank you for that. There is no need for such gross adjectives for something you obviously know nothing about. ..and I'm referring to love, not the sex or race of the people involved.

Name: EdSikov@ao
Date: 2006-04-05 17:20:54
Link to this Comment: 18847

If you had an ounce of courage you'd sign your name to your post. As it stands, however, we're all left laughing at you for caring so much about a "faggot" movie that you were compelled to post a comment. Can't stop thinking about fudge-packers, can you? Find yourself thinking about men having sex when you're all alone at night? As Dear Abby used to say, "Find yourself a competent therapist," jerk. (Okay, Dear Abby never called anybody a jerk. But I do.)

meaningful conversations
Name: Ann Dixon
Date: 2006-04-07 10:18:12
Link to this Comment: 18890

Serendip's forums are committed to the principle of meaningful conversation, of exchange of ideas and perspectives among people who are themselves committed to the ideal that their own ideas and perspectives may be useful to others and those of others, no matter how different from their own, in turn may be useful to themselves.

An earlier posting in this forum suggests that the anonymous poster is probably not interested in this kind of exchange, which has its basis in respect for all individuals, their stories and their opinions. However, it presents a perspective that might be useful in some way for others to hear, so we are leaving it on the forum. You are entitled to your opinion and we thank you for it.

We are removing subsequent postings in that thread, as they do not speak to the broad topic of the forum, and have devolved into inflammatory speech. Personal attacks on Serendip forums are treated as spam and are removed.

Serendip and the Serendip community is looking forward to meaningful and productive conversation here in the future, as in the past.

Meaningful discussion
Name: Jackie
Date: 2006-04-07 17:55:51
Link to this Comment: 18895

I apologize to the forum for any of my comments in reference to "the posting." I know better, but Brokeback is such an emotional issue for me that I felt that it and the others who were so affected by this movie deserved some defense. To most of us it is a sacred issue. It clearly was not my place to be 'the mother to all.'
Again, I apologize for my response.

antihuman rage
Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2006-04-07 18:14:30
Link to this Comment: 18896

As someone who engaged in - and with - the inflammatory speech into which this wonderful discussion devolved (I prefer to think of it as an unpleasant detour), I nevertheless feel no need to apologize for anything I wrote. I responded heatedly to what I found to be three incredibly offensive messages posted by an anonymous attacker, and I did so because I didn't want anyone who has shared his or her thoughtful and deeply personal responses to BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN to feel at all defenseless in the face of viciously antigay, antihuman rage. As the heroic ACT-UP slogan says, "Silence = Death." At the risk of being sanctimonious, I can't and won't be silent when my friends are being harassed.

Date: 2006-04-07 21:52:06
Link to this Comment: 18897

... perhaps I was too viscious, and I admit that. But it's important that you don't twist yourselves around an illusive picture of homosexuality. The world is a heartless place, and sometimes it's almost therapeutical to have to listen to the opinions of seeming heartlessness. It's like a reality check.

The major problem with the movie is that it follows the crusty old dust-bin Aristotelean formula of resurrecting formalism. Create pathos, create "unjust" suffering, create an accidental purpose for a character's fall from grace, yadda yadda yadda; then wrap it up in a way that disguises a moral or amoral purpose. And worse, it was done poorly. Half of the film's popularity depended upon the Hollywood sex appeal of the two boy toys. A bitter pill is better taken with syrup. Think of this movie redone starring Gene Shalit and Vin Diesel. Not as attractive, eh? 80% of you would overlook the damn thing.


more on meaningful conversation
Name: Paul Grobstein
Date: 2006-04-08 10:29:38
Link to this Comment: 18901

From a related elsewhere on Serendip ... We need to talk to and understand each other ... not to forgive, not even to persuade, but rather to allow to emerge from our different stories and ideas the needed broader human story in which all human beings feel they are involved and in which all play a meaningful and satisfying part. We need together to conceive new kinds of meaning, meaning which makes sense of all of our different experiences and gives all of us a common stake in the future development of humanity. What security there is to find in human life, the assurance that humans will not wreak horrors on one another, can, it seems to me, be found no other way. We are, individually and collectively, responsible for our lives, and we must accept the challenge of finding ways to make them meaningful for all of us. It is a daunting challenge, a journey into unknown territory, but one we must take. Together. It IS a daunting challenge. Thanks to our anonymous poster, Ed, Jackie, and all for working at it in this particular case and, in so doing, helping us all to learn more about how to work productively in this unknown territory in general. A key lesson, I think, is that attack provokes attack, which in turn not only reduces security for everyone but destroys any sense of the "common stake" on which meaningful conversation depends.

Feeling threatened, in one way or another, is part of the human condition, and won't ever go away entirely. The trick is to find ways to respond to those feelings that involve neither attack nor silence but something else, something that contributes to rather than detracts from our ability to learn from and with one another, something that advances rather than threatens productive conversation. The last posting from our anonymous contributor has been edited with that notion in mind.

Parlor games
Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2006-04-08 11:43:09
Link to this Comment: 18902

A continuing diagnosis is obviously in order:
1. “Too viscious” suggests that there is a reasonable amount of viciousness that the poster, commonly known on the blogs as a “troll,” now believes he exceeded, as though it would have been civilized to have maintained a lower level of unprovoked viciousness rooted in bigotry. No.
2. “dust-bin Aristotelean formula….” Aside from being more Ivory Tower and “inside baseball (with the ball game being played by Oxford prigs) than anything else posted on this board, the poster is basically saying the BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN follows a classical pattern. He takes this as a fault. It is not a fault. One could spend years listing all the works of art that follow a classical pattern. Some are great, some are not so great. The pattern is never the problem.
3. “It was done poorly.” Everyone’s a critic. I say neether, you say nithe-er. Who cares?
4. “The sex appeal of the two boys” is, of course, a key to its commercial success. No big surprise there. So let’s play a new parlor game: recast classical movies with ugly people! To start us off, I nominate Marjorie Main and Eugene Pallette as Scarlett and Rhett in GONE WITH THE WIND and Kate Smith in any role played by Marilyn Monroe. Any other nominees?!
5. “Illusive picture of homosexuality.” Well, folks, we’ve seen what this bigot’s picture of homosexuality is in all its graphic, vicious, sex-obsessed glory. It has to do solely with men’s anuses. He can't stop thinking about it, can he?

One can only imagine this poor fellow’s dream life. It gives me the creeps.

Still not anonymously yours,

Name: Jackie
Date: 2006-04-08 18:06:54
Link to this Comment: 18911

Just to clarify...I am not apologizing for WHAT I said. I am apologizing for using the forum to do so. In some cases we respond directly to the person who posted, but in this case, there was no address to respond to.
From this forum, I have corresponded with some wonderful people in side email. They have all been so affected by this movie...and I feel protective of the ones who are in great pain because they, like Ennis, didn't feel secure in 'coming out.' There are many great identity issues with this movie. I have been in relationships that I was not free to make that part of the pain is very close to me. I would never change any of my life, no matter what the circumstance because, as they say, it brought me where I am today.
I am a mother to 4, a grandmother to 4 and I am extremely happy today. But part of this happiness is because I have chosen to accept that I have to keep a part of me hidden for now. Not being honest with myself? Au contrare (sp.) I am honest in telling myself this is a small sacrifice for me to make in order to have the family life I have now. I would just rather be single. That seems to be what Ennis wanted, too.

Name: Lois
Date: 2006-04-09 09:46:36
Link to this Comment: 18915

So jumping back to discussion of the movie itself...

Wes recently commented about some flashbacks in the film, which had me thinking about flashbacks in general. I realized that the structure of the short story and the movie are inherently different based upon their use of flashbacks.

The story begins with Ennis sleeping in "today's" world, dreaming about Jack. Essentially, Ennis takes us back through time, and the story is really "his" story.

The movie, on the other hand, follows a regular time track - begin with them meeting and progress forward. Flashbacks are used to enhance the story line for both characters. The movie is really the story of both men, although Ennis is considered to be the "main character".

I am wondering what the movie would look like had it started with Ennis' pain (the dreams of Jack). Any thoughts on the impact of this reversal?

good question
Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2006-04-09 10:23:54
Link to this Comment: 18917

Good question, Lois. Can someone help me out by refreshing my memory? What's the first sequence of the movie look like? (I'm too cheap to go down the street and buy the DVD - yet.)

First scene
Name: Lois
Date: 2006-04-09 14:33:01
Link to this Comment: 18922

Well, my memory is that it opens with Jack driving up to the office to seek the sheep herding job. He arrives, spots Ennis sitting on the steps, and starts shaving in the mirror. (I haven't bought the DVD yet either - anyone who has it know what "extras" are on it, assuming there are some??)

My memory of the short story is Ennis waking up, tossing in the sheets, following another dream of Jack. I think the story indicates he wakes up every night dreaming about him. It is after Jack's death.

What was odd to me in the movie is that after their first night together, Ennis wouldn't really even look at Jack - he ran right off to the sheep. There was an implication that he was uncomfortable with what had transpired. The story has it something like "they immediately knew how the rest of the summer would go".

So it's quite a different feel with the story - you open realizing that Ennis loves Jack, dreams of him constantly. In the movie, it takes a while to see / feel the love.

their story
Name: Ann
Date: 2006-04-09 14:55:58
Link to this Comment: 18923

I agree that the film is more "their" story, where there is an omniscient narrative which focuses on each of their individual lives in an alternating fashion. Is this true to the western genre?

Name: Anne Dalke
Date: 2006-04-10 20:06:10
Link to this Comment:

So often (said the English professor), when discussion gets heated in an English class, the professor will "take it back to the text" : it's safer, cleaner, easier, than dealing face-to-face w/ the sharply different ways of experiencing and seeing the world that emerge when we speak directly and frankly w/ one another.

The turn of this discussion, this weekend, "back to the movie itself" feels like that sort of move to me, and, well--

I'm having a little trouble keeping up. Am getting the bends. Too much has been said, above, about the things the movie represents--about what it's like to be a homosexual, to be seen and be reviled as a homosexual, to see and revile homosexuals--to let me slide easily back to questions of how such stories are represented, how they are organized and shaped (the use of flashbacks, or an omniscient point of view, or...)

In his Reconstructing American Literature Project (which is about literature, not film, but you'll see in a minute how this applies), Paul Lauter says that to focus on "language use" trains us to disassociate the "ways it is put together from what it is about, how it affects us, and how we might USE it." It means that "we attend to the shape, sinew, texture of a hand, not whether it offers us peace or a sword."

To mix metaphors (I think the situation is dire enough to warrant this), the elephant in the room here (the one I can't see my way around, to look again @ the movie) is the question of how we (and by "we" I mean everyone) might go about making peace (not war); about how we might go about making community in public. Ed laments, above, the "devolution of this wonderful discussion"; Jackie speaks of feeling protective of the ones who are in great pain because they, like Ennis, didn't feel secure in 'coming out.' What we had going here was a discussion in which many, many folks had presumed it was safe to speak in public--in a world-wide forum--about what this film meant to them, about how it represented their own ideas and experiences and hopes and fears. That was a brave and risky thing to do. Maybe a foolish thing to do. But--given what erupted--a very, very important thing to do.

A few years ago, a student dropped out of one of the courses I teach here @ Bryn Mawr (a course which required weekly postings in an on-line forum), saying,

How you all manage to discuss those intimate beliefs, dreams, experiences every week in class and on a public forum makes me want to cringe. i do admire you all for doing it though, to me it seems as though you're willing to put yourself out there on the line every day. that takes guts and a belief in the goodwill of humanity and life which i am more cautious about.

I'm not sure that my classroom forums--any more than any of the other forums on Serendip (and there are lots of 'em)--begin with "a belief in the goodwill of humanity." They do begin w/ the presumption that the more people are willing to talk frankly and freely with one another, about how they experience the world, the more we all can grow and learn. The trick to making this work is BOTH to claim what we know experientially-- AND to do so with a willingness to revise, and be revised, by our encounters with others. But public conversation (like the democratic process more generally) has no guarantees against potentially negative outcomes; offers no assurance that "all will be well" in the end; no promise that the Quaker belief in "that of God in everyone" will hold true.

Serendip was conceived with an awareness that life is not a closed system. Accordingly, the forums on Serendip facilitate connections among ever-expanding numbers of contributors. And I've been fascinated by what seems to be happening as a result of this experiment in whether an (open? fragile? egalitarian? democratic?) community CAN be formed among people who begin less with a shared set of common beliefs (including any non-negotiable sense of what constitutes community) than with a shared desire to learn, to go exploring.

So: let's keep on w/ it....

What I'm (still) wondering about and puzzling over? Andrew's very first question, about the significance of the landscape in the film. So much has been written about the evolution of gay identity in urban settings, where freedom is found in crowds of people "like oneself" who, taken together, form a "culture." This film highlights the existential loneliness of self, as set against the backdrop of an overwhelming (and self-diminishing? or is it self-expanding?) landscape.

That makes for a very different story. Like or different from your own...? Comparing them suggests...?

Name: Lois
Date: 2006-04-11 00:40:47
Link to this Comment: 18956

Well, I suspect our different approaches are more related to different personality styles than a lack of frankness on my part. Nevertheless, your post reminded me of what DID resonate on an emotional level, and that's Jack.

I absolutely identified with Jack. I've been in two long distance relationships in my life, and I remember the loneliness, the longing, the counting of the days until we could be together. The feeling of dissonance between my "every day life" and the all too short times together, which end up overloaded (and emotionally overwraught) in an attempt to cram a normal lifetime into a short packet of time. The hurt of wanting more time together, but being turned down because of other obligations / appearances / etc. Ouch. Poor Jack. I can't imagine enduring that for 20 years. Jack would have given anything to be with Ennis, but was repeatedly rebuffed.

I have mixed feelings towards Ennis. I (with my Jack hat on) resent him for not taking the risk, for not loving Jack enough to really be with him, or barring that, setting him "free" to find true love. On the other hand, I respect his desire to put his family before himself. But then I think, "But if he really meant that, he really should have been there for the kids". I remember him being somewhat of an absent father - is that correct? If so, were they an excuse for him, or did he just not know how to really show his love for them? (I am leaning towards the latter).

I felt sorry for Alma. The man she thought she was marrying was no more (she loved him before he realized what "could be" with Jack). I was glad she got out and remarried (found happiness?). I was sorry that she was so bitter about Ennis (the dishwashing scene), but completely understood her position. I'd be bitter too.

Thinking about Jack / Ennis, I'm left with a hypothetical question (Ed can cover his ears). So Ennis is in theory a changed man at the end - "Jack, I swear"; shirts nestled together; a decision to go to his daughter's wedding. If Jack miraculously showed up on his doorstep alive, in love, and available, would this changed Ennis leave it all to be with him? Or would his new realizations around how to show his love for his family (go to the wedding, dude!) keep him in place?

4/11 comments
Name: Jackie
Date: 2006-04-11 19:30:42
Link to this Comment: 18987

Wow! There is so much in the last 2 postings from Anne and Lois and the ones from Wes! I can't even take it all in. Do you think the author or the screenplay writers or Ang Lee could have imagined that this movie would cause such a stir??
I watched this movie with my emotions, not with a lot of deep thought and all of these observations and opinions and questions have brought it to another level for me. In my world, Lois, I would like to think that Ennis had made peace with himself over his love for Jack. But in playing out Jack's being alive and available.....I'd like to think he could have the best of both worlds. I have had to choose my family (which is my choice,) but maybe Ennis' daughter would have accepted him and would have supported him. And all would be living happily everafter. But in the end, Jack was gone and Ennis had his memories and his shirts... and I still get choked up over those shirts.

Ennis Changed?
Name: wes horner
Date: 2006-04-12 18:01:21
Link to this Comment: 19004

As others have commented, it's not clear just how much of the homophobia and self-hate Ennis has been able to rise above - purge from himself at the end. Maybe the tireiron trauma shocked Ennis into some growth - in positive moments, I want to cling to the notion of some sort of step forward and to the hope that the tears that anoint his "Jack, I swear...." come with at least a trace of self-awareness and self-acceptance. But then there is their final night together and their absurd conversation about their twisted girlfriend dalliances. After 20 years, have we moved much away from their very first gasps - "I ain't no neither." Maybe for Jack, at least a bit of it, but Ennis remains so mired in denial/fear/self-hate.
The DVD gives us lots of talk from the Brokeback crew - so much of it talking about how when they first read the story and the screenplay, they were totally bowled over by its "beauty." I guess on the one hand, I understand what they are saying. But at the moment, Brokeback seems so gruesomely ugly. Jack's pathetic end - what happens when you dare to take risks and act on your feelings. Ennis' slower death - living out his days with stained sheets and soaked pillows, as Annie tells it in the story. Brokeback is treasured art for the way it reaches out and into us - but for me, the picture is one of overhwelming pathos. A story about love or love triumphing in the end or force of nature? No - just slow inexorable destruction - what happens when you, gutless, lie to yourself - lie to others - deny who you are and what you feel. Where is the beauty? Perhaps I'm just too close to it?

Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2006-04-13 18:15:57
Link to this Comment: 19027

"But at the moment, Brokeback seems so gruesomely ugly. Jack's pathetic end - what happens when you dare to take risks and act on your feelings. Ennis' slower death - living out his days with stained sheets and soaked pillows, as Annie tells it in the story. Brokeback is treasured art for the way it reaches out and into us - but for me, the picture is one of overhwelming pathos. A story about love or love triumphing in the end or force of nature? No - just slow inexorable destruction - what happens when you, gutless, lie to yourself - lie to others - deny who you are and what you feel. Where is the beauty?"

Wesley! It's not that you're too close to it to see the beauty. If anything, you're not close enough - not close enough to see that Jack's end isn't pathetic but tragic - big difference. Not close enough to see, as you yourself pointed out, that Ennis's final line is an affirmation of abiding love, a kind of marriage vow. "Slow, inexorable destruction?" Gee, you're looking at this darkly these days! No, this isn't a simple-minded "love conquers all" feel-good piece of crap. That doesn't mean it's not beautiful. Come on! Two hot men in love, with all the danger, turmoil, and even violence such love engenders? Whaddya want, a Hallmark card with puppies on the front?!

Maybe *I'm* the one who's too close - to you!

Name: Jackie
Date: 2006-04-14 18:20:30
Link to this Comment: 19036

As we all know, this movie can affect all of us differently on any given day. There are layers and layers and layers as has been exhibited in all the postings from the beginning. When we get on here and post because of the emotion that this movie has brought up in us, we can be feeling just about anything according to where we are in life, what part we are dwelling on and if there has been a new post that has hit an unprotected and very vulnerable piece of us. Some of us have been affected so deeply that our posts come from the gut. And some of us post because of our experience and painful events that this movie reminds us of. And some post who have had no personal experience to relate this story to, but who are also affected deeply. All that needs to be respected. I'm just sayin'....

Date: 2006-04-14 20:39:05
Link to this Comment: 19037

"I recently read an article in the Salt Lake Tribune about the Brokeback Mountain controversy in Utah. A major businessman in Salt Lake City, Larry H. Miller -- who also owns the Utah Jazz, the Delta Center, car dealerships, and more -- refused to show Brokeback Mountain at his movie theater. He says that it is a “business decision”, but Brokeback Mountain was the highest grossing movie in Salt Lake City when he made that descision. Moreover, Miller decided to pull the movie from his theater only after he found out what it was about.
Since I am gay, Miller’s actions naturally make me angry. There was more in the article, however. This is not the first time that Miller has acted upon his convictions – in the past, he refused to let Marilyn Manson play at the Delta Center. An ironic bit: Manson was a warm-up for the Nine Inch Nails. Quite frankly, I don’t understand Miller’s logic in barring Manson and allowing the Nine Inch Nails to play. As senseless as I find Miller’s actions, what Manson did is even worse. Trent Reznor, the lead singer of the Nine Inch Nails, invited Manson to disregard Miller and perform as originally planned. Manson agreed. He took The Book of Mormon, which just so happens to be a deeply sacred text to a little over half of Utahans – then proceeded to rip pages out of it and throw them at the audience.
After I read the article, I wondered: Why do people hate each other so much? I won’t lie – sometimes being part of a minority makes it tough to live in a predominantly white, conservative, Mormon state. Still, the Mormon culture is an incredibly rich one. Today, Mormons have found a place that they can express themselves in, and I respect that. Hate is not an appropriate response to hatred. If you don't stand up for the rights of Mormons, who’s going to stand up for your rights?"

Dude...I was at that concert. Yes, he ripped up the book of mormo (who happens to be the number one demon in the Satanic Bible) and threw it at the audience. But he also did it with the Bible, and his main beef was with Deedee Corridini - the politician who had the say in banning him. He shouted invectives at her name and totally freaked. The crowd loved it.

I live in this predominantly Mormon state, and I have no beef at all with the Mormons - even though they hound me constantly at my own doorstep. But the reason Miller banned it is because the guilded few in their hierarchy of churchianity don't want anything - I mean ANYTHING - to do with homosexuals. I hear it from our faculty all the time: Two young missionaries in their prime stable together for two years, and MANY are coming back gay. This has been an ongoing problem with them lately, and they often separate them or sweep them under the media carpet when they get home. Utah, NEVER BELIEVE STATISTICS. The church will see to it that they never reflect anything than what their appearance should be.

a different day
Name: Lois
Date: 2006-04-14 21:19:54
Link to this Comment: 19039

Jackie, I agree that different days bring out different feelings. After feeling pessimistic the other night and slamming Ennis, I find myself wanting to defend him tonight in response to Wes' sadness of the other day.

Given Ennis' environment, his upbringing, and his obligations, it's actually pretty amazing that the guy rose above all that to have a relationship with Jack. The time on Brokeback was obviously the purest, just the two of them, apart from and oblivious to the world, passionate, safe. But they still had good times. Go back and read some of the scenes of their vacations together - riding horses, spotting a bear, talking comfortably about their kids. Even in their last time together, despite the huge fight they had, the story reads, "they torqued things almost to where they had been, for what they said was no news".

And look where Ennis was in the opening scene: "he is suffused with a sense of pleasure because Jack Twist was in his dream." Sure it's not perfect, but as Ennis said a couple of times, "If you can't fix it, you've got to stand it." And note at the end of the story that he started dreaming about Jack right after he said "Jack, I swear." It is rather like he finally made a real commitment to Jack, and in response, earned his constant (dream) companionship.

Proulx definitely didn't give us a simplistic "and they lived happily ever after" relationship. She gave us a real one, where people balance needs, wants, obligations, and expectations, and try to do the best they can. Where they express real emotions, including the pain and disappointment, but also the passion. It's that mix that keeps us talking and keeps us swapping outlooks from day to day.

Just to say...
Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2006-04-15 21:45:37
Link to this Comment: 19043

Maybe this is not germaine (sp?), but just to say it anyway:

Wes and I have known each other for over 35 years. We've gone through a lot together and have been related to each other for much of the time. Perhaps I should have simply responded to him privately. But I felt that since we have both exposed our hearts and minds on this board, a public response was appropriate.

I fondly recall the bumpersticker he gave me for my - what? - 25th birthday, which would be 25 years ago: "Life is short and then you die." We've both been pessimists for as long as I can remember.

Lingering thoughts
Name: JH - Austr
Date: 2006-04-17 21:25:49
Link to this Comment: 19062

Brokeback Mountain gets into your heart and soul; it stays with you, lingering and reappearing without warning. Beautiful and tragic.
I would rather a happy ending, but that is just the romantic in me. I need to think of Jack and Ennis in their blissful moments together, it eases the gut wrenching pain.

I feel that the movie is ultimately about how Ennis and Jack were unexpectedly consumed by their feelings and love for one another. Neither had preconceived ideas about the other, no motive. It is a story purely about love and how it transcends gender, about two people who fall in love with who the other person is, not what sex they are! Although it obviously addresses the social restrictions and fears that prevent people loving who ever they want. Why do people worry so much about who someone loves?

Much has been written about the first scene where Jack and Ennis are waiting to get work herding sheep. I don't see them as eyeing one another off in a sexual sense, it is purely two young cowboys trying to ascertain what and who the competition is, this would be normal given the situation. Their attraction to one another grows post this.

I found Jack to be by far the most compassionate and willing to take risks. He showed great courage in his attempt to be true to his feelings and Ennis. He should be applauded for this. He loved for so long with little open emotional affection from Ennis, making his 20 year commitment all the more amazing. Ennis' love was real, just more guarded purely out of fear. It is clear that no other person would ever replace the love that they had for one another, it ran deep and true.

I also found Jack taking Ennis' shirt to be a profound act of love and desire. He knew at that time how much he cared and loved Ennis, but had to let him go. He felt he could at least keep Ennis close to him in some form. To cherish another's belongings for so long, is the ultimate act of love.

I believe that his daughter Jenny, may have understood her father's relationship with Jack. She did say at one point that her father may not be the marrying kind, indicating that she may have been aware of her father's affections toward Jack. An unspoken acceptance. (Just a thought?)

The last line, "Jack, I swear," is a commitment to Jack and Ennis' love and a dedication to stay true to Jack forever. An outward expression that he would have built a life with him had he lived, final acknowledgement that their love was real and for eternity.

Accept love where you find it!!

I misunderstood a few things about BBM
Name: Keisha H.
Date: 2006-04-19 10:17:11
Link to this Comment: 19093

I need a few clarifications on some scenes. First, did Jack sleep with that man who was at the couples dance? Because it seems at the end of the movie, Jack's father said Jack wanted to move to a cabin with Ennis, but he also wanted to move with a man whose wife talks too much. So I assumed that he talked to his father about his relations. Also did Jacks wife know that Jack was gay? It seems like when she was explaining what happened to Jack, to Ennis, she was mentally seeing what really happened and It also looked like her father was one of the people who killed him. I also did not understand a work he said at the end of the movie after he hung up the shirt. Please tell me what he said.

Name: Jackie
Date: 2006-04-21 12:37:41
Link to this Comment: 19113

Everybody has their own interpretation of this movie, but I'll tell you how I see it.
Yes, Jack hooked up with the man whose wife 'talked too much.' He had to move on with his dream and accepted that Ennis would never join him.
I believe Jack's wife knew how he really died and in that knew he was gay.
At the end, Ennis said, "Jack, I swear....." There are many interpretations of that but what I like to think is that he was kind of saying that he had come to accept his love for another man and that he might do it differently with Jack if circumstances were different. ...but he would always be in love with him. I like to also think that the kind of attempt to smile when he was fixing the shirts meant that Jack would always be in his heart and he would live his life with that memory. He was definitely starting to move on with his life.
Anyone else out there with their observations? Anyone? Anyone? :)
Also, if you read through the postings from the beginning, there's a lot in them.

Name: Ryan
Date: 2006-05-01 04:55:49
Link to this Comment: 19200

I stayed away from BBM after its theater release because I didn't want to feel sad. Some years ago I sobbed, hunched over my bathroom sink, after watching the movie "It's My Party". Afterward I decided to stay away from sad movies. However my upstairs neighbor bought BBM on DVD last week and I gave in to temptation. Since watching it I have been more introspective. The tears well up at work and when alone I break into sobs. Broke Back Mountain broke me. I saw in these characters painful mirrors. Ledger and Gyllenhaal beautifully underplayed my struggle (past and present) for self-acceptance in a society that pathologizes love between men. I love it that they didn't go over the top. I felt this was important to the integrity of the film because I believe Ennis was largely unaware of the cause of his battle. BBM is an eloquent movie about the inner struggles that many Gay men conceal from their families and even themselves and it's a story worth telling. The actors and the director Ang Lee portrayed this right on target. Perhaps the greatest tragedy would be to never experience a love that transcends us from our rigid self-definitions to reveal the greater truth that Ennis discovers at the film's end.

I hope this made sense. I'm a novice at posting comments online. It's 4:30 in the morning and I'm typing through tears.

My cup is overflowing from those people who posted spiritually-centered comments. It's great to know I wasn't the only one so deeply moved and changed by this movie. I especially want to thank Mark for his beautiful story that moved me as much as the movie. You have my love.

Date: 2006-05-01 17:47:31
Link to this Comment: 19203

was there any sexual acts between them.

the diner
Name: severin
Date: 2006-05-08 15:02:15
Link to this Comment: 19284

One scene that remains with me from this beautiful film is when Ennis is in the diner, picking at his apple pie, alone and silent. His old waitress girlfriend comes in and tries to get through to him, but can't. The camera is frequently focused on the plate and the pie filling, and how Ennis pokes and plays with the food. It is ugly and spare; the diner is white and grey, the plate is shiny and white and cold, the food congealed and unappealing. But when you see his eyes, brown and sad against his weather-beaten skin, it seems to show that all his life is inside and it can't get out. Life for him is going through the motions, until he can be with Jack again.

That, for me, said much about what life is like.

can't shake it
Name: Judy
Date: 2006-05-11 02:26:24
Link to this Comment: 19306

I am by no means as insightful as many of the posters on this site. I don't really catch onto meanings and connections till someone points them out to me.
But, I loved this film. I saw it in the theatre, then rented it and then bought it as well as the soundtrack.
In my opinion this is a very haunting movie. It is all bliss until their boss rides up to Jack and informs him that his uncle is sick, then looks up the hill towards Ennis, I think this is the first indication that things aren't going to be easy for Jack and Ennis and they will have to go down to the real world eventually and face unacceptance and hate.
I think Ennis was so twisted up inside. He grew up lonely and closed off. I think Jack was the only person who Ennis ever got close to, Jack was possibilies and hope and comfort. Comfort for the Ennis that only Jack was able to see. We see Jack cradle Ennis in his arms, Ennis vulnerable and allowing himself to show his love for Jack.
I cannot imagine not being able to be with the love of my life. In this movie you can see the pain in their eyes when they have to leave eachother. Sometimes I think the pain in this movie is too much. The depth of sadness and longing and hurting is so great.
I cried a few tears when I saw it for the first time, but when I watched it agian by myself I found myself crying almost hysterically after the movie. It's been so long since any movie has affected me to this magnatude.
What is it about this film??
I find it excrutiatingly painful but at the same time have been submerged in it. Watching it over and over. Listening to the CD and Gustavo Santaolallas chords that cut right into me.
I won't forget this movie, I think it's already chislled it's way deep into my heart. Just the opening scenes on Brokeback were beautiful and breathtaking, they are also sharp and cutting in their pain and inevitable sadness and grief.

'can't shake it'
Name: Jackie
Date: 2006-05-11 17:20:15
Link to this Comment: 19328

Yes, it's that kind of movie. Some of us talk about it every few days in private emails. The pain that I felt for over a week after the first time I saw it isn't as strong, but it is definitely still there. Each time I see it, I am affected more than any other movie I've ever seen. Your description of the scenes brings it back so close to me. Time for me to watch again. Even your talking about the music...such simple notes, but so deep. I still can't hear the first few notes without feeling the sadness and the heartbreak and the loneliness of it all....

Can't shake it
Name: Debbie
Date: 2006-05-11 17:41:21
Link to this Comment: 19329

After reading Judy's reactions to Brokeback, I'm overcome, yet again, by the power and depth of this movie and its continuing incredible impact on all of us. I've now seen Brokeback 5x--four in the theater and once on DVD. I still listen to the soundtrack and am moved and reminded of the gut wrenching scenes with Jack and Ennis--especially the good-byes. My own tears eventually did stop, but only until the next time I see the movie. This movie of unrequited love; forever not with the one you love; joining and parting--almost just too much to bear. Maybe this is about us, our own lost loves and why we can't shake it. But, Jack and Ennis did have a love that some never know--to great loves present and past!!!

Why it affects us
Name: Marian
Date: 2006-05-12 00:51:46
Link to this Comment: 19337

Many's the time I've thought of posting another comment on this site but I've stopped because there is simply too much to say, and to pick out one thing always seems to place too much emphasis on it. I read posts from people who are confused as to why the film makes them feel so distraught, why it hauls up feelings that haven't seen the light of day for a very long time. I don't know the answer - I only feel it - but if it gets you like that then grab the opportunity to explore your feelings (a trite phrase, I know, but the best I can muster)and seek out the hurt that has lain buried for too long. It can only be for the ultimate good.

Name: Ryan
Date: 2006-05-12 10:54:38
Link to this Comment: 19368

This movie set my world on its head. I've only seen the movie once and I may not see it again. I have cried an ocean of tears in three weeks. Ennis and Jack (Heath and Jake) will always occupy a place in my heart. It seems somehow trite or silly to give two fictional characters so much power. But I think the movie spoke a truth that created fissures in my walls. The time and distance from this movie hasn't dulled any of that truth. The movie has caused me to evaluate my feelings of separation. Ennis del Mar's name translates into Island of the Sea. Like Ennis, the early part of my life I grew up an island unto myself. I learned from childhood that the best way to keep a secret is to keep it from yourself. As much as I wanted to reach into the picture screen and save Ennis from himself and Jake from his questionable fate, I couldn't. The only choice I have is whether or not to change myself enough so I can love and be loved. For me this is the movie's take-home message and the only real truth worth realizing. To love and be loved.

I love reading the comments. I feel blessed knowing that I'm not alone in my feelings about this movie. Your words are like salve on a wound.

Name: Jackie
Date: 2006-05-12 17:34:52
Link to this Comment: 19386

Can you all believe this? I read the postings and feel everyone's pain and awakenings and think it's the most awesome thing that we can all share these feelings with each other. I guess the unrequited love has been experienced by many of us, not just gay, but hetero also. So that creates a bond with all of us....
Wes has spoken of trying to form a group those of us whose lives have been so changed and awakened because of this movie can get together and discuss our feelings about it. I think several of us would love that because this is so deep, it will be a part of us for many years to come. Not to wallow, mind you, but to bring to light the differences that make us the same. WHY? are we taken with this? Does this come from our childhoods? Have we had a chord struck in us that we've never heard before? I don't know. Sorry I'm just going on and on, but again, from reading others' feelings, mine are reawakened.
Do you think it's easier to post online than to be with each other face-to-face? I would love a Brokeback get-together.

Name: Will
Date: 2006-05-13 17:45:22
Link to this Comment: 19388

I saw the film months ago in the theater and I read the short story twice. I have the DVD but I haven't yet been able to watch it!! This story is sacred to me and I feel that if I see it again I will diminish the huge impact that it first had on me. I have read all the posts for months and I relate them to the film and to the characters and the emotional upheavel of the world of Jack and Ennis. The film is a tragedy but like all great tragedies put on film it is essential to the further revelation and understanding of ourselves and all people. BBM is Holy, it is inspired. It is so,so sad. I hope I can allow Ennis' redemption at the end to overcome all longing and heartbreak that went before. If I am lucky I will resist watching it again tonight!

the advantages of NOT being face-to-face...?
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: 2006-05-15 13:05:49
Link to this Comment: 19391

Jackie asked, Do you think it's easier to post online than to be with each other face-to-face?

I've spent a lot of time working-and-reflecting about educational uses of the web, where the question Jackie asks is a really important one. In one of these discussions about a year ago, on intellectual exchange as a medium for community building (on the web and beyond), we agreed that "we tend to be afraid of being attacked, being ignored, being held accountable for thoughts of our own, being changed by thoughts of other people, being judged wrong."

Now, we've had some mixed success in this forum in dealing with these fears, but I do think that the kind of talking that's gone on here--where we don't know what one another looks like, or how others might be responding to what we are posting, as we are writing and putting it up--is one very productive way of "facing" such fears: paradoxically, by not "facing" each other.

So what I would say (in response to Jackie's question, and drawing again on that talk) is not that it's not necessarily "easier" to post online than to be with each other face-to-face, but that new thoughts and questions come up precisely because of our "disconnection," that talking a-synchronously and intermittently this-a-way leads us into new insights we might not arrive @ while we're looking @ one another in the flesh, and gauging what we have to say in response to what we see.

What do others think?

Like the book better
Name: Joe-Allen
Date: 2006-05-15 13:55:13
Link to this Comment: 19392

I read the original short story several weeks before I saw the movie. Because of what I know about Larry McMurty and the fact that as an avowed heterosexual man himself, McMurty admitted in a Time Magazine interview that he added women to his screenplay because "men don't talk about emotion and men don't understand emotion," he said that only women can understand emotion."

I ask a rhetorical question, "Is Larry McMurtry saying that he is not a man because a writer his female characters understand emotion and he understands emotion and talks about emotion, too in his works?

That was an odd thing for him to say. The characters of Cassie, Randall and his wife Lashawn, L. D. Newsome are not in Annie Proulx's original story.

McMurty and his co-screenplay writer, Diana Ossana took two sentences from the last time that Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist were together and create 4 chapters in the movie based on those unnamed characters in those sentences. Jack's father-in-law is not named in the book and before Jack Twist even worked for that company, the old man had died and Lureen had inherited it. Besides, why would a man who hated Jack's guts and possibly pay for Jack to get lost hire Jack in the first place?

Name: wes horner
Date: 2006-05-16 09:25:40
Link to this Comment: 19396

More talking and I can’t resist.

Will spoke of Ennis redemption at the end. I’m not quite sure I understand what Will means by redemption. In the past I have felt that Ennis at the end is so sad, tragic (if I say pathetic, Ed will whack me). Especially in the book. Proulx gives us an Ennis living in a distorted dream world – wet sheets, a pillow soaked in tears. Pretty negative stuff. The movie, I think, feels more hopeful, some growth – after all, Ennis actually acts to go to Jack’s parents place – acts to put his ashes in the right place. Ennis in the end acts on his love for his daughter and commits to her wedding. Ennis in the end acknowledges his love for Jack and their relationship with his “I swear…” In some small way, perhaps Ennis is no longer turning away from Jack as he consistently did – so hauntingly captured in that movie ying/yang promo image. Perhaps – too late- he is looking at Jack directly – even looking at himself, almost straight on. Tragically too late, but then it takes the tragedy to make it happen. Something has happened - from the “I ain’t no queer…” utterance the morning after to “I swear…”

Holy? Yes, I agree – I’m just beginning to understand why. I grew up in rigid Lutheranism. Film’s plaque’s of fire/brimstone Christianity posted about the various scenes so perfect – like the trailer sign “Trespassers will be shot…Survivors shot again.” Damned by my feelings haunting me every minute of every day. The concept of Grace has eluded me – until meeting up with Brokeback and the Jack/Ennis love and this incredible Embrace. Brokeback is of God – my first real knowing of Grace. Jack whispering to Ennis that night in the tent “It’s alright…it’s alright.”

I must watch Brokeback – but must watch it with the utmost care. Like a Communion. Each time, I learn something – most importantly, learn something about myself. Each time I get closer to understanding that I am not damned – that the question is not whether I’ve been saved or not been saved. The point is that I wasn’t damned in the first place. Brokeback has become a Holy Journey for me that is playing itself out as I write these words. Yes, this movie is Holy. Not just spiritual. Holy. I’m not sure how or why. As though a stream of transcendant Light has flowed from Annie Proulx and into each of us.

(Anne, you’re so right. I must sound like a total nutcase – would never have the guts to say this to you all face to face.)

And I should share something more. In my early post-BBM days, I had written these wild letters to Proulx and Lee and the actors (to their agents, of course, never expecting responses). I knew it was crazy, but I had to somehow keep talking, just trying to keep myself from exploding. A while back – after forgetting about all of this rashness - I walked out for the paper and mail one morning and noticed this odd envelope with tiny handwritten letters and odd Indian stamps pasted on at odd angles, opened it up, and there was Annie Proulx, talking to me. She tells me, after having read my wild-assed bare-all letter to her to take heart and

work like you don't need the money
dance like no one's watching
love like you've never been hurt before...

…from an old bumper sticker she had once seen. It was - is - as though, having been split open, Light has come and given me the strength to cast off these fears that have held me down – break down the walls – open myself, reach out, hold on. No longer an island, Ryan.

Loving. Being loved. The Wizard turns to Tin Man and gently reminds him that a heart is not measured by how much it loves, but my how much it is loved by others… I’ve been running scared all my life. When you think you're damned, it’s hard to love – it’s hard to be loved. Isolated, insidiously walled off by fear – both real and self-imposed. Brokeback has changed all of that. For Anne Proulx and all of you who have made this forum stay alive (and a couple of you that I have come to love), I am so thankful.

cowboys shoot from the hip
Name: Ed Sikov
Date: 2006-05-16 18:20:30
Link to this Comment: 19397

I've been mulling over Anne's erudite and intense message about the ways in which communication is affected by physical circumstance, and Wes's recent post has clarified my response enough to put it into (at least tentative) words:

First, you bet your ass, Wes, I'd "whack" you if you called Ennis's end pathetic. I'm not sure about redemption - I believe we're all redeemed (if that's the word I'd choose) no matter what we do, simply by virtue of being alive - but he comes to a recognition at the end that makes sense of his journey, and he recognizes Jack's centrality to his life in a way he couldn't bring himself to do when Jack was alive. In a sense, this is tragic (again, not pathetic), in that it takes Jack's death to bring Ennis's love for him into clear focus.

But isn't that everyone's experience on some level? At least those of us with hearts? I mean, why do any of us cry at funerals, if not for those things we never said to the person who died? To me, that's what missing people is: the abrupt termination of a conversation, with the dead guy necessarily getting the last word?

As for the holiness of the picture, I'm not able by temperament to participate in that conversation, but I do respect those who can.

And finally: As a professor, and a writer, and a former student, and a current participant in this and other online forums, I have to say - and it will come as no surprise - that I shoot from the hip no matter what the circumstance. I'm tired of measuring my language - that was part of my coming out process. As the old saying goes, "I'm queer, I'm here - get used to it." I've offended people as a result, and for that I'm continually sorry. But I just think that everyone should understand that discourse, whether oral or in written form, is just that - words. They can hurt, but not profoundly. Sticks and stones, and all that. When in doubt, respond in kind. Why? Because it feels good.

Just about all I can think about
Name: jennyjo
Date: 2006-05-26 14:07:13
Link to this Comment: 19424

I am so happy to see some recent posts about this movie. I feel so out of touch. I finally saw this movie with my husband last Sunday night. It's now Friday and it's all I have thought the entire week week. It has affected me so deeply and I don't know why. On Monday at work, I pored through postings and interviews and all the reviews (slow day thankfully). I downloaded the short story and have read it twice. Then I went out and bought the movie and watched it again on Tuesday. The second time affected me even more deeply. I was sobbing at the end. My husband thought it was good, but doesn't really understand my reaction. He thinks I'm a little nutty.

It's simply the most incredible love story. And the story is so beautifully told (acted, directed and edited). I have to say, it does help that Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall are beautiful men. My favorite parts are when Ennis shows his love for Jack. When he first goes to him in the tent and is so vulnerable. Wow. That's when you know it's really about love.

I also keep thinking about Ennis and how the rest of his life might play out. I fantasize that at some point he would have an outlet for his pain. That there will eventually be someone he can tell his story to. Because all he can do now is grieve Jack in silence and isolation. That is so painful to think about. Okay, Jenny ... it's fictional. This movie is so powerful. I'm going home to watch it again today. Then I'm going to put it away for awhile. I really need to move on...

last words
Date: 2006-06-04 05:52:39
Link to this Comment: 19459

What was the last phrase used when Heath Ledger was looking at the 2 shirts in the Wardrobe? I have tried to catch it and even turned up I cannot!

Last Words
Date: 2006-06-04 11:40:14
Link to this Comment: 19460

Ennis' last words were, "Jack, I swear..." This I got when I read the short story!!!!

A beautiful love story indeed.

Date: 2006-06-21 04:04:47
Link to this Comment: 19538

I just got done watching this movie for the first time. I DO think Jack died from the attack. I can't stop crying this movie was so sad. Very good movie, just i agree with the Mark when he said it felt like a dagger had gone through his heart. Mine feels the exact way right now.

Name: Harold
Date: 2006-07-07 16:55:09
Link to this Comment: 19652

An interesting site. Just a quickie here from me. I don't think - or at least choose not to think - that Jack was murdered. I think that is just what Ennis pictured in his mind as Lureen told him what happened. Lureen's last scene is fantastic. You could see the combination of bitterness and sadness. I think she clearly sees that Ennis was Jack's true love and she remembers the love she once had for Jack. She does the scene magnificently.

from Harold

Date: 2006-07-11 12:43:30
Link to this Comment: 19761

has any one posted a clip o jake & heath making love??

asking two qestions
Name: M
Date: 2006-07-16 03:22:37
Link to this Comment: 19877

can any1 tell me plzz how jack died???
and my second question is,in the end when ennis says "jack i swear..."
what does that mean????
didnt get the end////

Jack was killed
Name: Carlos
Date: 2006-07-17 11:34:47
Link to this Comment: 19881

Of course Jack was killed....It's very obvious that he was killed during one of his "flirtious" moves down in Texas....he was seeing another man, remember?...the husband of that gal who'd never stop talking at the dancing fact, Jack's dad told Ennis that "Jack brought another fella up last spring" (the guy from Texas)....Jack was getting sick of Ennis refusal to commit to a better life together....Jack wanted to LIVE as a couple and Ennis could not provide, after 20 years, jack was looking for another alternatives (like going down to Mexico o trying to hit on the rodeo clown)...Jack even said it at their last meeting....he was pretty sick and tired of traveling 4 times a year for the last 20 years to be with Ennis in the frigging cold (and being kept on a "short leash")...and never accomplishing anything but a two-three day sexual relief...he even said "never enough time" (meaning I AM SICK OF THIS!)...I think someone caught him on one of his "fishing trips" with the other guy in texas and killed him...I do love the part when Ennis finally realizes how much he wasted for being so paranoic and fearful...when he finally decides to skip "the roundup" and attend his daughter wedding (something he would not have done in the years before)and when looking at the two shirts and saying "Jack...I swear.." I think he meant "if I could do this all over again...I swear it would be different...I swear I would do anything to be with you" This movie is MAGNIFICENT and the story may be the most touching story ever told.

to carlos(thxx alot)
Name: M
Date: 2006-07-17 16:34:33
Link to this Comment: 19889

ooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh okayyyy!!!!!!!!!!

but u know i read somewhere that maybe his father in law killed him as he didnt like jack or maybe even his own father killed him(jacks father)
im actually looking for this book(novel)dont think soo its avible here.
yeah very true.amazing story.
in our country we get original dvds very the the dvd i saw,OMG it was.........grrrrr
so i really didnt get the movie.sound wasnt good,no subtitles.even still now,as this movie is not hit or famous as other movies are; maybe thats y shopkeeprs are not bringing or getin th orignal dvds.
my fave part was the last scene(shirt one)

i really didnt know he was flirting or whatever with that guy(the husband of that gal who'd never stop talking at the dancing hall)

anyway,thxxxxxxxxxx alot dude.

Jack's death
Name: Ryan
Date: 2006-07-17 17:53:39
Link to this Comment: 19890

I sympathize with Carlos. I was heartsick from this movie for weeks. The movie and the story stirred up burning tears, grief, loss, and old feelings of fear and abandonment. At times I despaired of ever feeling better but in that despair I found a kind of grace to work toward changing my own inner Ennis. If a movie can produce that desire it is truly a good movie. This was an internal process and I moped around for a while until the pain began to blur and the edges became fuzzy. I haven't watched Brokeback Mountain more than once.

For me Jack's death is a question of belief. I don't disagree with Carlos because none of us knows what really happened to Jack save Annie Proulx. And I don't think she's talking. I choose to believe Jack died by accident but that doesn't mean I am right. For my process this becomes a matter of what brings me peace. The cause of Jack's death will never be definitively answered. I can't investigate beyond what the author put on paper so I am content to say he died in a freak accident simply because it brings me peace. Annie Proulx's genius to leave the question unanswered gives her story a life that continues after the end. She leaves Jack's fate up to the reader. I believe we base our beliefs on our interpretation of the moment. My personal beliefs change as life changes moment by moment. And so Annie's story will change should the reader's perspective change.

Larry McMurtry's screenplay and Ang Lee's directing converge along the same lines as the short story. The movie shows the murder scene while Ennis talks to Lureen from the payphone. This scene is not inserted to conveniently answer questions. In fact, it raises more questions. We are seeing inside Ennis's mind of what he believes took place. Gone are the chops and mustache and the spare tire stomach Jack had in his late 30's. Instead we see Jack as he looked that first year on Brokeback Mountain when Jack and Ennis were barely 18. This is how Ennis remembers Jack in his memory. Ennis carries a fear based belief cruelly passed by his father to him that men who love men are murdered. The movie and the story do not come to the rescue to answer the burning question of Jack's death to appease our broken hearts.

I believe Ennis's struggle mirrors the lives of us all in one form or another. It is the struggle to accept and find peace in a life that sometimes has unresolved problems and unanswered questions. Everyone of us has suffered from some loss or some event in life and it is through searching in the dark we find a grace that carries us through the suffering. I believe Ennis may have felt these truths swirling around places formerly closed off to him and the only way he knew how to express them were in the words "Jack . . . I swear." These weren't easy words to come by for someone like Ennis but that was how he synthesized what he felt.

jack's death
Date: 2006-07-18 15:50:07
Link to this Comment: 19899

I agree with Ryan....I also think that believing in Jack's death as being a "hate crime" (murdered for being gay)is a powerful venue to send a message to society. Remember, Matthew Shepard (the gay teen beaten to death in real life)was killed in Wyoming (Brokeback's story is set in Wyoming also)...and the author sent many times messages to warn us about the terrible consequences of homophobic intolerance (ie., the gay man gruesomly killed when Ennis was a little boy, Alma calling Jack "nasty," Joe Aguirre's hostility after finding out the boys "were steaming the roses," Ennis' own internalized homophobia that caused him to lose the greatest love in his life, the rodeo clown almost acting violently when Jack tried to buy him a beer, etc.) In the book, Laureen's dad (Jack's father in law) died earlier before Jack's death, so I dont think he had anything to do with Jack's death...It's hard to think of Jack's father killing him (he was weird, no doubt, but was way too poor to go all the way down to Texas to kill his own son)...I think Jack's free spirit attitude got him into troubles....Jack was very independent and refused to be a "follower." He wanted to be a leader in his own way (he even put his father-in-law in his place during Thanksgiving, he did not shy away from approaching other men, he would be the one offering Ennis the "proposal" to live together, he was the one pursuing Ennis--he went back to Aguirre's office next summer and asked for Ennis, he was the one who first sent a postcard to Ennis when Ennis was not actually doing much to find Jack---probably out of his own homophobic fears)...Jack took that other guy from Texas to his father's rach (the old man told Ennis about it) in an attempt to finally have a male partner (given that ennis was not suited for it because of all his paranoia)...Ennis wanted to be with Jack for the rest of their lives,true, but only in the middle of nowhere, Jack wanted Ennis in a warm bed every night...two opposite views, and Jack may have realized that if Ennis was not willing to take that chance, he would take it with someone else. I think Jack became more "obvious" and his gay behavior was easier to pick on by people. Maybe this was the trigger that caused him to get in troubles and get killed. Who knows!

jack's death.
Name: Jackie
Date: 2006-07-19 12:00:14
Link to this Comment: 19908

I know it's open to all different interpretations, but I felt from the first time I saw it, that his wife was telling Ennis the story as if it were 'memorized and scripted.' I believe the scene in the flashback while Ennis was on the phone was the actual death scene.
Let's make our own version, where Jack and Ennis ride off happily into the sunset! But wait, it just wouldn't have been the same emotional mess that it has put us all into, would it?

Jack's death
Name: Marian
Date: 2006-07-20 01:16:34
Link to this Comment: 19911

I believe we aren't supposed to know how Jack died, just as Ennis in never to learn the truth but must live with his own tortured thoughts and guilts. I reckon Annie Proulx would quite happily support the idea that it was accidental. That's just what happens. It's a cruel world with arbitrary fates dealt out to us. One lesson is, you don't have to be doing anything that will put you in danger, you could go at any time, and so could those around you, so don't leave things until it's too late.

Brokeback expert - if I do say so myself
Name: Mike
Date: 2006-07-20 20:17:51
Link to this Comment: 19937

Aside from the following two factors, some sound issues in a few of the mountain scenes, and a few momentary weak performances by Jake Gyllenhaal, This is a masterwork.

1) The first sex scene seemed random only because the men completely and suddenly let their guard down. This is unlikely given their situation. Jack would have more likely lured Ennis by referencing a woman, than offering himself as a replacement, granting Ennis enough mental room to "go there" while salvaging his masculinity. There is nothing more specific offered in the short story that accomplishes this, but the screenplay could have offered it.

2) The original short story concludes that Jack's death is a murder/cover-up. My guess is that Ang Lee felt uncomfortable with this ending but in order to be true to its author, E. Annie Proulx, he told the story accurately while leaving enough amiguity to save the picture. A hate-crime ending seems cliche for the masterpiece Ang facilitated.

another thought
Name: Will
Date: 2006-07-20 20:43:58
Link to this Comment: 19938

I haven't posted in months and it seems that a new generation posing questions that have already been discussed has arrived. It doesn't matter when you arrive so long as you arrive...with your own insights. Many of the people who have posted in the past seem to have disappeared and it would be so good to hear from them again. Their insights and observations after so many months and so many thoughts and so many feeling would be welcome indeed! BBM has a hold on us and it just won't let go. We think of it each day. I have a thought that has developed over the past several months. Maybe Jack, always the hopeful, emotional soul, never really had sex or an affair with the bearded man but only fantacized about bringing him up to the farm. Maybe he was a continuing symbol for what he could not have with Ennis. I cannot believe that Jack could exist with anyone except Ennis. Just a tought.

Beyond Sex
Name: wes horner
Date: 2006-07-21 08:32:44
Link to this Comment: 19940

Managing the post-Brokeback era is no simple matter for many of us -
moving forward with what we've learned often a painful challenge. I happen to be one of those who believes poor Jack got tire-ironed, linked to couplings with our bearded friend. Does that mean Jack was being untrue? Does it detract from this Jack as Angel sense? The more I think about their profound love for one another - the love that for me is physically embodied in the several scenes before any actual sex - hands reaching desperately into each others faces and then the incredible reunion kiss as they seem to try to meld into one - this goes way beyond sex and its mechanics. Sex seems bizarrely anticlimactic. Jack could acknowledge this love. Ennis couldn't. If there is anything positive in this overwhelming tragedy, it seems to me that Ennis accepts this love for Jack on some level in the end - even forgiving Jack for his bearded dalliances - especially remarkable after his "...been to Mexico..." rant. And the altar of shirts is posted. I'm not sure what love is, but it seems that what happens between Jack and Ennis embodies love in its purest form. Nothing at all wrong with the sex but aren't we on a level way beyond that? Far above on the mountaintop.

Name: Ryan
Date: 2006-07-21 12:22:30
Link to this Comment: 19960

I have not yet found in the story where Jack's death was ruled a murder. It's possible I overlooked a detail or zoned out for a moment through my reading. If anyone knows the part of the story where another character answers this question for Ennis please post a comment. Thanks. I enjoy reading your thoughts.

Excerpt from Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain:

It was Lureen and she said who? who is this? and when he told her again
she said in a level voice yes, Jack was pumping up a flat on the truck out
on a back road when the tire blew up. The bead was damaged somehow and the
force of the explosion slammed the rim into his face, broke his nose and jaw and knocked him unconscious on his back. By the time someone came along he had drowned in his own blood.

No, he thought, they got him with the tire iron.
The huge sadness of the Northern plains rolled down on him. He
didn't know which way it was, the tire iron or a real accident, blood
choking down Jack's throat and nobody to turn him over. Under the wind
drone he heard steel slamming off bone, the hollow chatter of a settling
tire rim.

Forum Archived
Name: Ann
Date: 2006-10-05 12:06:17
Link to this Comment: 20614

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