Monday, December 19, 2005

Love Is A Force Of Nature

I got to see Brokeback Mountain last night, Ang Lee’s epic love story between two cowboys who meet on the sweeping vistas of Wyoming in 1963 and whose love, seldom spoken of, brings them back together over the course of their lives.

Happy Birthday to Jake Gyllenhaal, by the way, and kudos to he and Heath Ledger for taking on such an important and pivotal work.

And what a packed house! The Dupont movie theater was sold out for the night by 4pm, so we had to reserve tickets out in Bethesda for the 9pm. I'm troubled by its still limited release, but hope that this surge of interest spreads it to more screens across the city and country.

I had already read the short story, and was pleased to see that the screen adaptation stayed true to the original. The short story was indeed so short, that there was an opportunity here to further develop the characters, especially the wives, and add additional scenes to that end.

Of course, there were two Ang Lee hallmarks that I must recognize. First, the images were beautiful. Who knew scenes of thousands of sheep being herded through the mountains could be so beautiful, romantic, and mesmerizing. Second, he did well to capture nuances of a culture far from his own (the great west), making it more real and approachable for those of us to whom it is also foreign.

Finally, it is an epic gay love story. But so nuanced, so subtle, so different, as to both challenge those of us who have seen dozens of (mostly bad) gay love stories, and those of us who hadn’t approached the subject matter before. The acts and emotions expressed in the movie that do tread close to a preconceived stereotype do so in a way that causes the viewer to intimately understand the motive and see past the cliché.

I couldn’t help but walk away feeling pain for almost every character, especially the women. Here’s hoping that this movie adds to shifting tides, that such pain isn’t so deeply suffered in the future.

Jen and I tried to go see this Saturyda night but was thwarted when all the evening viewings were sold out! We are going to try again with some of the other girls Thursday night.

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