Friday, December 09, 2005
Brokeback Mountain Opens Big in The Big Apple
Ang Lee's groundbreaking gay love story, Brokeback Mountain, opened big in New York City theaters this weekend. Every show sold out at the Loews Cineplex at Lincoln Square. Not a dry eye left in the house after this afternoon's matinee showing of the heart-touching love story about two ranch hands from Wyoming struggling to cope with their intense love for each other against the backdrop of a disapproving rural culture of the 1960s.
Brokeback Mountain marks one of the first times two A-rated male actors performed non-stereotypical gay roles in a mainstream movie. Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger put on top-rated, believable performances as Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar, respectively, two young men growing up in rural Wyoming.
Gay men growing up in the heartland of America will relate to the struggle of accepting your natural feelings towards men in the face of a bigoted and ignorant culture which is bred by the intolerant, prevailing religious influences. What this movie has the potential of doing to help our society better understand homosexuality cannot be understated.
Twist and Delmar, despite their deep love for one another, feel compelled to conform to societal norms by marrying women and having children. While Twist and Delmar suffer emotionally from their secretive, conflicted relationship, the hurt their phony marriages bring to their wives and families is equally as heart-wrenching. But the movie brings home the reality that most gay men have traditionally attempted to lead "straight, normal lives", often with very tragic endings.
That Brokeback Mountain is packing theaters in a multi-cultural and diverse city like New York comes as no surprise. But how will it play in the heartland? Will people lay aside their fears and prejudices for an opportunity to see inside the natural love between two young men?
Ledger and Gyllenhaal are both self-avowed straight men who traditionally play roles that have driven their success and popularity with young, female audiences. Taking on roles which require of them to express a deep, passionate love for another man in the past would have been seen as the kiss of death for any hope the two of them would have in getting future leading male roles. Their courage and willingness to perform these risky roles should earn them much respect.
As Oscar nominating season approaches, talk is already beginning of Brokeback Mountain being nominated for Best Picture. This is one movie deserving of that high honor. Lee, Ledger and Gyllenhaal will forever be revered by the GLBT community for the service they have done in advancing compassion and understanding of gay people with this memorable movie.
If you haven't seen this movie, you must check it out at Indianapolis' new Indie arts theater at Castleton. It is a must see!