Brokeback Mountain - again!

Derek McGovern's picture
Submitted by Derek McGovern on Tue, 2006-02-21 19:30

A couple of weeks back, I stopped reading the SOLO Homo thread on Brokeback Mountain because of the rash of plot spoilers that had appeared there. By then I'd already been told that the film ended with one character facing a lonely existence, and that neither of the two male protagonists was exactly a pin-up boy for Objectivist values. I also knew that some SOLOists had been very moved by the film.

Well, yesterday I finally got round to seeing Brokeback Mountain. To my surprise, I found that I was both moved and exasperated by the film. It goes on forever - and there were times when I wanted to ring the neck of Heath Ledger's Ennis for not getting a life - but yet there were also moments when I was unexpectedly touched by its quiet evocation of loneliness and loss. The reviewer James Berardinelli is right when he says that "one of the film's strengths is the way in which [director] Lee causes the longing [between the two men] to bubble off the screen. We can feel it. It's a palpable presence. It turns our memories to roads not taken." And even though I left the cinema feeling somewhat cheated and disappointed, I'm surprised by the fact that, a day later, the film's characters and themes are still in my head.

The bottom line is that Brokeback Mountain is a bleak and cautionary tale of the absurdity of putting society before one's own happiness. I just hope that closet cases everywhere heed its message.

( categories: )

Agreed on that

Landon Erp's picture

I agree that it's not trying to be confrontational, you get the genuine emotion behind the physicality and its not overstated unnecessarily.

The part I really like about it the psycho-epistemological angle. The complex compartmentilization the characters have to go through in order to justify their actions and the effect it has on their lives as a whole, as opposed to merely the parts they're trying to evade about.

Granted it's not something I think a non-Objectivist would take away from watching the film, but the whole way through I was able to think of little other than the wreckage of evasion.


Never mistake contempt for compassion, or power lust for ambition.

Why I love Brokeback Mountain

Matty Orchard's picture

So much "gay cinema" seems to be geared towards shock. If there's a gay love scene in a film it's likely to be unnecessarily graphic and confrontational reeking of 'Ohhh this disturbs you doesn't it? You don't like gay sex because you're secretly intolerant AREN'T YOU!?'

Brokeback Mountain is a love story. It just happens to be a love story about two gay men. That's what makes it special.

I was just having a discussion about this yesterday

Landon Erp's picture

"I've often wondered about the psychology impact of playing such characters, and the psychological toll it takes on these actors."

And as rough as his character from brokeback must have been. I'm horrified at the thought of being an actor stuck in this character.

I did a long period of research on serial killers myself and something like that wears on you. I wound up taking a lot from the cast interviews from the movie "Monster." They joked around frequently between takes and it took Chalieze Theron hours to "detox" from the character each night after filming was over.

You can't keep taking dark roles and not expect it to take a toll on you.


Never mistake contempt for compassion, or power lust for ambition.


Stephen Boydstun's picture

Yes, sad that Ledger’s life has ended and so soon.

Brokeback Mountain  


One’s own life is a big factor in one’s response to some films.




Heath Ledger

Olivia's picture

was shaping up to be a fine actor. Sad news today.


Lindsay Perigo's picture

You didn't miss anything. Gays are into the fashionably morose. It was longwinded and relentlessly UNgay, I would have thought.

Just curious

Michael Moeller's picture

I commented on the original thread here. I found it a depressing waste of three hours with no redeeming qualities. Fractured plot with no theme to pull it forward. Most maddening of all was the complete lack of dramatization--either the repeatedly cut away from important scenes, or skipping them altogether. I don't even want to mention the characters.

The reason I asked was because there seemed to be a favorable consensus among homosexuals. However, they seemed to praise it either because of the lack of movies about homosexuals, or because it showed injustices against homosexuals. As a drama, I thought it had nothing going for it. Just curious if I may have been missing something and what you stood.

Linz, what did you think of

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Linz, what did you think of Brokeback?

I was furious with it, for its drawn-out snatching of bleakness and defeat from the jaws of ecstasy and victory. But I'm going to watch it again tonight, if for no other reason than Heath's death.


Michael Moeller's picture

Although I haven't seen any of his latest films, apparently he was taking on characters that were "dark and brooding". From this article:

"Ledger told The New York Times in a November interview that he 'stressed out a little too much' during the Dylan film, and had trouble sleeping while portraying the Joker, whom he called a 'psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy.'

'Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night,' Ledger told the newspaper. 'I couldn’t stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going.' He said he took two Ambien pills, which only worked for an hour, the paper said".

I've often wondered about the psychology impact of playing such characters, and the psychological toll it takes on these actors.

Linz, what did you think of Brokeback?

RIP, Heath

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Brokeback Mountain

NickOtani's picture

The two main characters in Brokeback Mountain are regular guys who shared an experience while alone in an isolated environment. They didn’t expect it. They didn’t think of themselves as homosexuals. There was self-deception. There was concern about acceptance from society, and that concern was ultimately shown to be justified. Letting some people know one is a homosexual can be deadly in some places. It is dangerous.

Many stories about love end in tragedy. There are parallels between Brokeback Mountain and Romeo and Juliet or The Great Gatsby. It’s the forbidden love syndrome. People try to pursue goals which will get them in trouble. They have to keep secrets, and those secrets sometimes backfire. It’s sad.

There have been homosexuals in philosophy who didn’t know how to handle it. Alan Turing was one. He was persecuted and ultimately committed suicide. The world lost a great mind.

There is a lot of hatred out there, even if one is not a homosexual. I hate it. I wouldn't mind being isolated in a mountain wilderness, as those cowboys were. It was beautiful country. However, I'd still need to have my internet connection to communicate with other people once in awhile.

bis bald,


Nope! More's the pity...

Robert's picture

I wanted to go see 'The World's Fastest Indian' but it was sold-out. Brokeback was the only movie left with tickets available. She wanted to see it and I didn't object because I didn't think it would be that bad...

Two miserable depressing hours later I couldn't believe how wrong I was. I was very deeply angry with those characters. I was annyed at their cowardice in not accepting themselves for what they were and using the individual freedom afforded by US citizenship to proceed from there.

I didn't mention any of this to the lady because I didn't know her political views and I was brooding trying to fully appreciate the reason for my gut reaction. The thunder cloud over my head cast a dark shadow on my mood for the rest of the evening.

The shadow lengthened after she praised the film to the heavens and I held my tongue because I didn't want to air any snap judgements on the film or her until I'd mulled a little more and figured out exactly why I hated the film...

PLEASE tell me you're joking

Duncan Bayne's picture

PLEASE tell me you're joking ...


Buy and wear InfidelGear - 100% of all InfidelGear profit goes to SOLO!

Not only does it suck it's absolutely

Robert's picture

the worst first date movie ever! Take my word for it!

I now ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... have this on DVD. It sucks. The triumph of social metaphysicianship. Besides, the two leads mumble. Priest is much better.


Brokeback's point

itheliving78's picture

Finally! People who actually understand what this movie is about! So many people that i have talked to about this movie just can't get past their own issues about homosexuality to see what it's really about. Yay for you guys!

I agree with your assessment

algernonsidney's picture

I agree with your assessment about _Brokeback Mountain_. When you deny your true self because of your "social programming," nothing good happens. It was still rather hard to like these guys. They still seemed like dumb, ignorant rednecks but just happened to be gay. I also believe that marriage has some absolute rules. One of those rules is that you never lie to your spouse--period.

Or, as R.W. said earlier ...

Duncan Bayne's picture

... to take the traditional cowboy approach - "I love this man - if anyone has a problem with that, here's my Winchester 30-30".

Ennis was right.

Frizzy's picture

I thought that Ennis got it just right, and that the other guy was far too emotionally demanding to see the situation clearly.

In the end we know whos stragegy for life (persuing their happiness while staying alive to do so) in that particular society was better suited for survival.

I think that both characters were true to their own personalities, but neither really took the time or effort to seek out a true solution to bring about their happiness, like say, by both moving to San Francisco.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.