Brokeback Mountain is receiving incredible buzz since it won four categories at the Golden Globes (Best Director for Ang Lee; Best Drama; Best Original Song; Best Screenplay for Larry McMurty and Diana Ossana). The film is rated R for sexuality, nudity, language and some violence.
It is 1963 when the film begins. Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) are two young cowboys sent out to Brokeback Mountain in Wyoming to tend a herd of sheep for the summer. The owner of the herd, Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid), doesn’t want the forest service to see where his sheep are grazing and gives them strict instructions on how to perform their job in this isolated area.
Ennis is a very quiet young man, but Jack eventually gains his trust, and they begin a sexual relationship one cold night. Ennis makes it clear to Jack that their relationship cannot continue beyond the summer, as he is engaged to be married to Alma (Michelle Williams).
They part at the end of the summer, and go their separate ways, Jack back to Texas, and Ennis to be married and start a family. Jack eventually marries Lureen (Anne Hathaway), the beautiful daughter of a wealthy family, and also starts a family. Jack contacts Ennis after a few years, and they begin to go on “fishing trips” together periodically up on Brokeback Mountain.
Their relationship is not without its trials. Ennis is more in love with Jack than he is with his wife, who discovers the truth the first time the two lovers tryst. Unfortunately, she does not confront Ennis with this knowledge until many years later.
Jack meanwhile cannot exist without sexual encounters with other men, and he frequents Mexico for these affairs. Ennis is jealous of this, and yet will not form any legitimate life with Jack, as he has haunting memories of the torture and murder of a gay man that holds him back from making any commitment to Jack. The cast is absolutely superb together, and I don’t doubt that we will see Academy Award nominations in several categories.
The film boasts incredible mountain scenery, and the original score by Gustavo Santaolalla fits perfectly with all we are seeing. I recommend this film, although it is not a happy film. It is sad, and sometimes disturbing, as the relationship between these star-crossed lovers is intense and sometimes violent. I predict that after you leave the theater, the film will have you talking to your friends about what you’ve just witnessed for many blocks down the street.