It is time for a movie like Brokeback Mountain. As the world around us accepts gay men and women as--well, people--and with no social apocalypse pending, the time seems right for little reminder-of-a-movie like Brokeback Mountain to stir the stagnant backwaters of the Puritan mindset."
The film is strong, clear, and not too heavy-handed dealing with its emotionally charged material. The performances, as directed by Ang Lee, are uniformly strong, with Heath Ledger's brave turn as a sexually repressed cowboy, Ennis Del Mar, being worthy of Oscar contention. Jake Gyllenhaal also offers up quality work, but his portrayal of a conflicted rodeo cowboy, Jack Twist, is, sadly, not quite in the same league as Ledger's.
The women's roles are the real emotional treasure of Brokeback. Both Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway anchor the film as wives of the respective men, with heartbreaking portraits of confusion, anger--and ultimately--release and acceptance.
Brokeback is strong stuff, and there is some frank, though soft core, physical contact shown. But, it is not photographed in a manner that made me feel Ang Lee was trying to "shock" an audience; it felt organic to the story.
Brokeback Mountain deserves all the praise and awards it has been receiving. It is not a "gay cowboy movie," as some have sniped, because the performances by the women are truly the heart of the film.