Tonight I had the pleasure of seeing an advance screening of Brokeback Mountain. (It opens here tomorrow.)
There’s really not much I can say about the movie that hasn’t been said already, many times, and more eloquently than I can manage. Though I will say that it wasn’t quite what I had expected, despite the fact that I have read oodles of the reviews and press which spelled out a good deal of the movie. I’m not sure what I expected really… but it just wasn’t quite whatever that was.
Yeah, I know that didn’t make much sense.
It was a very good movie. A bit longer than it really needs to be, and the broad strokes that are painted leave a few characters a little underdeveloped (of course, developing those would have only added to the already long 2 hours 14 minutes running time that I was complaining about just a second ago…), but all in all, a fine film. It’s definitely one of the most realistic portrayals (especially for the time period) that I’ve seen of lives hidden away in the closet and the tragic consequences for all parties involved. And it’s much closer to being an “important gay movie” than the over-hyped Latter Days managed to be.
I completely agree with the critical praise being heaped on Heath Ledger, who is finally living up to the potential promise that I thought I’d glimpsed in his performance in 10 Things I Hate About You. After quite a few misses, he seems to have finally found a role that worked. I truly forgot I was watching Heath Ledger play a part; he became Ennis Del Mar. Michelle Williams put forth just as masterful a performance as his tortured wife, and Jake Gyllenhaal… well, he’s totally cute until he starts to don that mustache. He didn’t do a bad job, per se, but I was never quite able to shake the actor playing the part. (At least he was nice to look at though.) Anne Hathaway’s ever evolving tacky hair stole the show from her really, but she was good enough I suppose. Kate Mara (in a small role as the older Alma Jr.) is a girl to watch I think. She’s really adorably cute, and she did as well as she could with what little script time she was given.
I also have to take back something I thought about Jake Gyllenhaal. Somewhere I caught a clip of him saying “It’s not a gay cowboy movie,” which kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. I sort of took away that he was downplaying the importance of it being a story about gay cowboys, and maybe trying to downplay the fact that his character is gay. But I get what he was saying. It’s not a gay cowboy movie; it’s a love story between two men who are forced to hide their affections because they are planted firmly in the land of cowboys. The fact that they are - at least by today’s definitions and labels - gay men, while integral to the story, isn’t quite the point.
And yes, I cried a little at the end. I wouldn’t characterize it as a tearjerker in any way, but it’s certainly not a happily ever after sort of ending. Though Dan (who has confessed to crying at movies before) didn’t even shed a tear. Really, I cry far too easily while watching movies.
The showing was quite the gay event here in town - the lobby afterward resembled a holiday party more than a movie theater entranceway. (Though maybe a depressed holiday party as most of the crowd was a bit subdued after the viewing.) So many of our regular customers were in attendance, I felt like I should be ringing up the popcorn at the concession stand. (Of course, this might have been influenced by the fact that we were handing out the passes last week.) It was also possibly the most reverent audience I’ve been a part of for a free advanced screening; there were no talkers or cell phones going off (despite the fact that the Cedar Lee didn’t forewarn patrons to shut them off via a silly fake movie) and people seemed to be chuckling (there are quite a few funny tidbits) and sniffling at the right moments.
Not to skip too far into the future, but I’m really looking forward to the DVD release of the movie. Not only will that really be a HUGE seller at the store (though I doubt even its sales will manage to eclipse the record quantity of Madonna CD’s we’ve moved), but I’d like to see it again and I doubt I’ll get a chance to make it to the theaters before it’s gone. (It’s only showing in 3 theaters in the area, none of which are terribly convenient to me.)
Of course, the inevitable porno copycat will probably make it into the store first. (And no, I’m not even going to bother with telling you the name. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ve already heard it, and likely, it’s already ceased to be as amusing as titles like “Raiders of the Lost Arse.”)