Brokeback Mountain: Re-post from 10/19/06

Well, I finally saw Brokeback Mountain; nearly a year has passed since this monumental film was released and my only excuse is I am always the last one to see anything.

Director Ang Lee shows once again his marvelous sensitivity for actors. Just as his Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was so much more than a martial arts film, so is Brokeback Mountain so much more than the “gay cowboy movie.”

This is because Lee puts his characters under a virtual microscope and leaves them there; we see all their trials and tribulations up close and personal, which makes this film particularly heartbreaking to watch.

Having said that, however, I must point out that this movie is not nearly as “groundbreaking” as its publicity suggests. Twenty-four years ago Twentieth Century-Fox made a little film called Making Love, starring Kate Jackson, Michael Ontkean, and Harry Hamlin, which covered a lot of the same ground as Brokeback Mountain did except for the fact that the people in Making Love were upper-middle class city dwellers. Making Love was the first mainstream film to show two men kissing; I remember when I saw it in a theatre people went “EWWWWW” and some even got up and left when the kissing scene happened.

Making Love was, unfortunately, a resounding flop. According to some sources I have read, word of mouth was that it was a dull film. I did not find it dull at all; in fact I was transfixed by it. Perhaps it was being eighteen and closeted that made the movie capture me so, but I would bet money that a good many gay men felt the same way I did when they saw this movie.

Brokeback Mountain is by far the superior film; unlike Making Love it delves deep inside the character’s emotions, giving it a raw quality that the previous film does not have (and probably did not even think to attempt).

As for me, I lovethem both; a double feature of these two films would be not only entertaining but edifying.

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