Brokeback Reaction

Since I mentioned that I'd be going, I thought I should post about my reaction to seeing "Brokeback Mountain." I thought it was excellent.

It's an adequately complex portrayal of the repressed love between the two main characters, Jack and Ennis, and the impact of that repressed love on their entire lives. Seeing it made me feel more strongly that it's going to get most people to understand the cultural pressures, bias, and violence that LGBT people face, even in today's world.

I didn't wholeheartedly empathize with Jack and Ennis. Maybe because I came out when I was 15, had a boyfriend in high school, and was closeted for only a short time it was harder for me to understand their secret lives. That's not to say I didn't feel a great amount of sympathy for their hardships or even joy when they could be open with each other. I almost felt more connected to the pain experienced by Ennis's wife. I thought the actor--Michelle Wiliams--was stunning in an understated way.

While social messages are a consequence of the movie--that this kind of unnecessary repression breaks people and families--it seemed clear that the director, producers, and actors were driven by the beauty and distinctiveness of the story itself. Their primary aim was clearly not to make a point about "society" or "gay rights."

My mother-in-law (well, really, she's out-of-law) called me today at work to ask what my partner and I thought about the movie. She had seen the movie last week in central Oregon and had a raw, difficult reaction. She said she was glad she went to see it and that it made her think a lot. But she also said she cried through much of the movie and felt extremely sad. She told my partner that she was so happy for him that he didn't have to live that kind of life, that he's had the opportunity to live a better life as an openly gay man. She was anxious to know our reaction.

This made me wonder how much the movie is making other people think and talk about it with other people in their lives. If you have anecdotes about how people are reacting, please share them in the comments.



At 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I spoke with an older gay man who had not been to a movie theater in 30 years. He went to see BBM. He was blown away, because it was exactly the world he grew up in. That world caused him all kinds of hurt, which has gone on to cause others all kinds of hurt. How fortunate many of us are to not live in such an environment, both internal and external.

The movie, and this gentleman's reaction to it, made me think about how there would be less hurt if we were ALL able to be out and open to ourselves and others from the start.


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