banner image

:: Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain is a heartfelt love story from the exceptionally talented director Ang Lee. It’s based on Anne Proulx’s beautiful short story, which first appeared nine years ago in The New Yorker.

The film tells the story of Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger), a Wyoming ranch hand in the 1960’s. He meets Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) when they’re both hired as shepherds for a local rancher. Jack and Ennis spend several months isolated high in the Rocky Mountains, guarding the flock that grazes on Brokeback Mountain. Gradually a love grows between them that Ennis never expected and is at a loss to even understand with his small town values.

When the summer ends, their real lives await. Ennis marries his sweetheart, Alma (Michelle Williams) and settles in Wyoming, while Jack heads back to Texas where he meets a sassy all-American rodeo girl called Lureen Newsome (Anne Hathaway). Despite the ongoing façade they present to the world, their time together on Brokeback Mountain has left an indelible imprint on their hearts.

As Ennis, Heath Ledger leaves audiences in no doubt that he is a serious talent. He becomes this tragic figure, and reveals his character’s torment in every word and expression. Jake Gyllenhaal builds the romance with a sensitive performance, which communicates Jack Twist’s tender and gentle regard for Ennis without salaciousness. Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway are also stunning in their supporting roles, with both of them breaking away from audience expectations.

Much has been made of the controversial subject matter of Brokeback Mountain, but the film is no Mardi Gras parade. It is a deeply reflective love story with echoes of Romeo and Juliet in its conflict between social expectation and personal desire. This powerful film shows great empathy towards its subjects, drawing you in until you forget that it’s about gay cowboys at all and realise that it’s really about people in love.