Trying to Be Respectful

8 Dec

It’s hard to review Brokeback Mountain because so much has already been written and said about it and so my view is already tainted. Accordingly, I went into the movie with extremely high expectations and was ready to just be blown away. Well, I wasn’t. I didn’t really feel the passion between Jack and Ennis, didn’t feel like they really had much of a connection other than convenience and their mutual loneliness, didn’t feel the longing that Ennis supposedly felt, thought the ending was lacking, thought Heath Ledger held back too much to really register any emotion, and kind of felt like the initial sexual experience was sort of forced.

But maybe that’s just me, because on the other hand, the film — which is based on Annie Proulx’s short storyis impressive and really does need to be seen, if only because it treats its subject matter with such respect. That the two guys fall in love is practically matter-of-fact — it doesn’t happen with any swelling orchestral music, isn’t belaboured to make any grand political statements, and it’s allowed to continue without the outside world intruding in any real way. It’s just happening. This is an on-screen relationship like any other we’ve seen before, and yet it’s unlike any other we’ve seen before. And because the movie treats its subject matter with such respect, I initially thought I would take some time before writing about it, so I, too, could be respectful. I was hesitating to dismiss Brokeback Mountain for the reasons I listed earlier, because really, the story itself is moving, the film’s heart is in the right place, and just because I didn’t feel them doesn’t mean all those emotions aren’t there.

I’m thinking I should see this movie again when it actually hits theaters in a week or two and write about it some more then. After all, there has to be a reason why so many critics are raving and calling it one of, if not the best film of the year. I don’t mean to invalidate my opinions, and I don’t want to come off as a lemming wannabe because I didn’t feel what many other people have felt. I just want to be fair, because I do acknowledge that I may not have given the film a fair shot given my expectations. That said, I’m giving it a B for now.

[P.S.: One unexpected cool thing about Brokeback Mountain is the fact that one of my old high school chums, David Harbour, is in it. He comes on about half-way through, playing Anna Faris’ husband and a friend of Jack and Lurleen’s. He’s the guy with the beard — no pun intended.]

Update (1/28): I have seen the movie for the second time. Click here to read my revised thoughts.

2 Responses to “Trying to Be Respectful”


  1. Someday We’ll All Be Blind « Martin's Musings - November 8, 2012

    […] the best films I’ve seen all year. I had the emotional reaction to it that was missing from Brokeback Mountain earlier this week — no surprise, really, since I can more easily identify with the plight of […]

  2. Back in the Saddle Again « Martin's Musings - November 19, 2012

    […] I first saw Brokeback Mountain at the beginning of December, I liked the movie, but I wasn’t particularly moved by […]

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