I saw Brokeback Mountain last night (yes, yes, – the last person on the planet to see it), and as the hours pass, it becomes increasingly obvious why the film was up for best picture.
Initial reactions keep washing over me…and I assume they will for days…because what is portrayed in the film is done so exquisitely that there is never a moment of fiction – of disbelief – of being taken “out” of the film.
There are few things that I reacted most strongly too – the things I feel actually made the movie:
1) The eye contact – the whole movie was about having it, or not. The entire story was literally expressed through who was able to look at whom and when. There is no experience like sitting and looking into a person’s eyes. The way the main characters’ eyes connected by physically holding each others’ heads, and forcing that bonding to occur, was a testament to how badly they both wanted – and wanted to escape – the emotion overwhelming them.
2) The physical contact – my sexuality does not include violence beyond the standard grab, clench and hold. The brutality of the sex portrayed in the movie, and the masculinity – the literal fight of self and other those characters go through to be able to give in to physical intimacy…and then again, the physical pain, the inside-out beating the two men took from their longing to be together. These were in such stark contrast to the softness, and carefullness expressed in the sex scenes with women. It makes perfect sense to me that either kind of intimacy could be a turn on – and that having a partner who could hold their own – give and take the brutality in equal measure with tenderness…well, that is a need which was eloquently portrayed.
3) Lastly, we are so lucky to live where and WHEN we do. Yes, gays are beaten and hated in my lifetime. But not that I’ve faced personally. I’ve felt the fear of marching in a Pride Parade, but I’ve only ever marched with thousands of others around me, strength in numbers, to face down the people at the edges of the crowds, taunting and hating. The intense loneliness of the place and time and society was really the star of the movie.