Brokeback Mountain (2005)
February 15, 2024 2:47 PM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] In 1963, rodeo cowboy Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and ranch hand Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) are hired by rancher Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid) as sheep herders in Wyoming. One night on Brokeback Mountain, Jack makes a drunken pass at Ennis that is eventually reciprocated. Though Ennis marries his longtime sweetheart, Alma (Michelle Williams), and Jack marries a fellow rodeo rider (Anne Hathaway), the two men keep up their tortured and sporadic affair over the course of 20 years.

Also starring Linda Cardellini, Anna Faris.

Directed by Ang Lee. Screenplay by Larry McMurtry, Diana Ossana. Based on the short story of the same name by Annie Proulx. Produced by Diana Ossana, James Schamus for River Road Entertainment/Focus Features. Cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto. Edited by Geraldine Peroni, Dylan Tichenor. Music by Gustavo Santaolalla.

88% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (12 comments total)
Shoulda won the Best Picture Oscar that year, dammit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:24 PM on February 15 [4 favorites]

I cried and cried and cried in the theater.
posted by janell at 6:25 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]

Lots of really wonderful work in this film. I particularly remember Anne Hathaway's face in this scene; the tiny, tightly contained details of the performances were so riveting on a giant movie screen.

Annie Proulx's short story is on the New Yorker website, in case anyone wants to read it. A brutal and very fine piece of short fiction.
posted by bcwinters at 7:23 PM on February 15 [4 favorites]

I rewatched this during the pandemic and the emotional devastation lingered for days. A great movie. Great source material, too, of course.
posted by unicorn chaser at 6:39 AM on February 16

Any time this film comes up I tell anyone who will listen that it's truly incredible and the casting is perfect and every performance will blow your mind and the music and cinematography are gorgeous and it's one of Ang Lee's best films which is saying a lot, and then they tell a nervous joke and I just know they will never see it. This film is so unappreciated by straight people it's a shame. And it's full of straight people! Aren't all these actors, and the director, and the writer, isn't everyone in this straight?? It should have been so much more famous.
posted by panhopticon at 11:05 PM on February 17

It should have been so much more famous.

? It was nominated for an Oscar in almost every major category (except Best Actress, for obvious reasons), and Ang Lee won for his directing work. It grossed $83m (in 2005 dollars) in the U.S. on a $14m budget. It put Heath Ledger's career on a whole new level. This is probably the single most "appreciated by straight people" gay film in U.S. history. (Unsurprising, as it's both tasteful and tragic. I like it, but it's written to be very palatable to mainstream straight people.)
posted by praemunire at 1:05 AM on February 18 [3 favorites]

Panhopticon, I think the reaction you're getting from people about the film is more about the people you're discussing it with than it is about the film itself.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:43 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]

So.....many.....mixed.....feelings.....about this movie, written by straights and filmed by straights for a straight audience and filled to the gills with punishment of queerness, and precious few drops of joy.

That no-lube-2-second-anal-penetration sex scene in the tent is a long-running joke in queer circles for good reason.

Annie Proulx's outrage at fans who made fan fiction with a happier ending for Jake and Ennis - she even invoked copyright law lol - was for me icing on that very straight cake. Ah, what I wouldn't give to be in the alternate universe where Pedro Almodóvar had *not* turned down the directing gig for this flick:

“They offered me Brokeback Mountain but I had many doubts. Thinking about it, I don’t know if I made a mistake or not [in turning it down]. They promised me total artistic freedom and final cut but it was a story that was so physical — it’s not just that the characters sleep together once — and that has to be there. I think Ang Lee went as far as he could and I like his version very much. But I always imagined it differently and I don’t think I would have been able to make it the way I wanted. They wouldn’t have let me.”


The auteur told the Empire podcast in 2016 that he would've made the movie, based on the Annie Proulx short story of the same name, with "more sex, more sex."

At the time I was already way over "the queers must suffer and die" movies, which I'm sure played a role in my mixed feelings about the rave reviews this gorgeously shot sobfest got, but so much of the violence Ang Lee chose to present so vividly - the bloody crotch of the murdered gay man Ennis remembered seeing as a child, Ennis's horribly brutal imagined death of Jake - seemed so gratuitous. Left a bad taste about the whole endeavor, honestly.

This is probably the single most "appreciated by straight people" gay film in U.S. history.

Yeah, I call that a problem.
posted by mediareport at 4:50 AM on February 19 [1 favorite]

That no-lube-2-second-anal-penetration sex scene in the tent is a long-running joke in queer circles for good reason.

Twitter link to an example that made me laugh 15 years later
posted by mediareport at 4:57 AM on February 19 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I call that a problem.

I don't at all disagree (although dislodging the prior titleholder, Philadelphia, was probably a good thing).
posted by praemunire at 9:09 AM on February 19 [1 favorite]

Someday I will get around to watching that flick, which Angry Young Thing me, who'd been pulling overnight shifts at the National AIDS Hotline at the time, deliberately ignored when it came out. Learning that the film had cut out any kiss between Hanks and his longtime lover was just too much.
posted by mediareport at 10:18 AM on February 19 [1 favorite]

his longtime lover

Antonio Banderas, IIRC.

I saw Brokeback Mountain because a friend wanted to. I would never have gone to see it on my own, because I'd read the short story, and I deeply distrusted straight Hollywood making a gay movie. I found it very moving, well-acted and memorable (Heath Ledger breaking down crying in an alley after saying goodbye to Jake Gyllenhaal has really stayed with me). But I'm not sure I wouldn't have preferred not to see it.
posted by Well I never at 1:20 PM on February 21

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