Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Reflections on Brokeback Mountain

What happens when you deny who and what you are? When you can’t be who you are, your full self? When culture and society don't allow it? That’s what Brokeback Mountain was about, and it left me extremely grateful for living in the bubble that I live, but inspired to help others that don’t and to work towards tolerance and respect in all communities for those of us who are gay, lesbian, queer, etc.

Watching Brokeback Mountain I saw something I have never ever seen before: a gay love story, outside of the stereotype, and so gritty and real, and beautiful and sad. There were no “just Jacks” in this movie. It’s cowboys. Manly men. Men of the land, of ranching, of farming, who one summer while sheepherding for months on end on Brokeback Mountain, forge a connection that is unidentifiable within their frame of life and mind. “I’m not queer” is muttered, while actions and emotions tell a different story. 20+ years going back to that mountain as fishing buddies, while marrying and partitioning their lives back home. Never fully being in one side of their lives or another. It meant they were never fully committed to either. How painful and sad that is. And how beautiful their love was.

What does it mean when you aren’t your true self? I don’t know, because I live my life outside of the closet. But the glimpse into lives that are not as free as mine, is frightening, and enlightening. Why do we teach hate and fear of gays to our children? Why do we hate those different from ourselves? It doesn’t make sense to me. What is being feared is love. And that seems like an incredible disservice and waste.

Go see Brokeback Mountain for the soundtrack, the beautiful cinematography, incredible acting, and a glimpse into lives that may be different, or similar to your own. I know it will stay with me for a long time.


Kathryn said...

I think LBCG and I will be going on Friday evening with Shelly and Angie (from Pack of 2!)

I can't wait, and thanks for the preview!

Anonymous said...

Lelo ~ Seriously, your commentary is much more succinct and profound than any review I've read so far. I'm really excited to see this film now.

Jay said...

Everyone I know can't say enough good things about this movie, and I so wish I had the time to go see it.

Anonymous said...

"What is being feared is love."

You hit the nail on the head there.

Great review! I might have to wait for the DVD, but I'm definitely going to see it!

Asher Abrams said...

Lelo, thanks for the word! I will go see it.

I read the original short story in Anne Proulx's collection "Close Range: Wyoming Stories" some years ago, and idly wondered whether such a great (though troubling) story would ever be made into a movie. I'm glad it has. From your post, it sounds as if the movie did justice to the original story - a rare thing indeed.

I'll see it as soon as I can.

Anhoni Patel said...

Lelo, I LOVED Brokeback Mountain and couldn't agree with you more. It's the best movie of the year and won a well-deserved place on my favorite movies of all time list. The story is universal and anyone, queer or nor, could relate.

stevie.be. said...

thank u for sharing lelo. I have been waiting to see this for so long and now, it's not even being released as a regular movie apparently. i don't understand. they released a slew of independent movies that are crap and yet the closest place showing it for me is a 3 1/2 hour drive. i feel hurt from this because i think it has to be political. and shit if im not supposed to take it personally.

Anovus said...

I realize that this film is based on a story written by heterosexuals; HOWEVER....it epitomizes certain realities I saw in the gay scene.
One is the desire for a straight or “straight acting” man. To have two good-looking, masculine cowboys falling in love is virtually every gay man’s ultimate fantasy. It’s their alienation from and ambivalence towards their own masculinity that I believe drives gay men to find completion in other men. This film represents a fantasy which will pull strongly on that deep need for completion.
Evidence of gay men’s desire for completing or connecting with their lost or unaffirmed masculinity is evident throughout the gay scene. Just look at a local gay newspaper or look at the iconography adorning the walls of many gay bars and baths: drawings or photographs of hyper-masculine images. These include bulging bodybuilders, policemen, men in leather, and, yes, cowboys. There is a sense of almost reverent worship toward these images of the macho male.
Look at a few gay male personal ad web sites. You’ll see 90% of the men listing themselves under names like, “Truck Driving Stud,” or “Muscle Jock.” These are all attempts to portray a false masculine self that was never nurtured and possibly attacked in their childhood.
The need for this completion is so intense that men will risk their lives to achieve it symbolically in sexually acts. Hundreds of thousands have died doing so. There is a compulsion about it that is neither healthy nor freeing.
I’ve been there. I’ve gotten out. Thank God.
I’m saddened that a film has been produced that will continue to fuel empty fantasies that don’t ultimately fulfill nor complete a person but lead to emptiness and compulsion.

LeLo said...

Anovus...Okay. Your final words of emptiness and compulsion by the individual place complete ownership on the individual versus what the strength of the film is: demonstration of society's wrongful placement of being gay being an abomination. That is what fuels a lot more than emptiness and compulsion.
If you want to point to aspects of gay culture, I'd suggest we look at popular culture and its portrayal of women for something that is more disturbing and much more vast in its acceptance.
Finally, I'm not sure what brought you here, except for what my statcounter is pointing to, which is a yahoo search for "hate brokeback mountain." Trolling for negative reviews? Not here.

Anovus said...

What brought me here was a search for brokeback blogs.
I'm sure that homophobia does fuel much unhealthiness. But I found so much unhealthiness even in cities like SanFancisco where there is an enormous gay culture and wide acceptance of homosexuality.
Popular culture is filled with many examples of dysfunction. But I don't believe that one justifies or negates the other.

stevie.be. said...

anovus, if you want two see to guys secure in their masculinity and in their feminity (i think everyone regardless of their orientation should be tapped into both) then check out my blog and feel free to comment.

in regard to your comment, "It’s their alienation from and ambivalence towards their own masculinity that I believe drives gay men to find completion in other men," is cool that it is your opinion but it i don't feel alienated or ambivalent towards my masculanity. and i could never be completed by another person, male or female. i am 50% of a relationship but i am 100% me, not my boyfriend, as much as i love him.

maybe some people are searching for something, its not my place to say. i just know that, for myself, i have never believed sex outside of a monogomous relationship would do anything but hurt me and i never tried to complete myself by having one-night stand sexual relationships with men. i fealt secure in myself and then i let my doors open and that is when i met my future boyfriend. it's been an incredible few years and here's to many more.

Alda said...

I remembered that I'd seen something about the film on your blog a while back, so returned looking for it. Saw Brokeback Mountain two nights ago and felt devastated. Very powerful film - and interesting to read people's takes on it.

Anovus said...


I mispoke. I did not mean to be saying that gay men can't be masculine. We all know better than than. Even me.
I was referring to what I have seen as an alientation from and ambivelence toward their own inner sense of manhood.
The iconography I referred to, I believe, supports my theory. I ma not just referring to pornography. You can find it in almost any gay publication.