Monday, June 12, 2006

The Gay Cowboy Movie

Saturday night I watched Brokeback Mountain. If you don't want to be spoiled for this movie, stop reading now because I'll be talking about the plot and characters in depth.

In the bonus materials there were lots of "making of" little segments. And in one, Michelle Williams says that there's always something more behind that sort of stereotype. To simply call it the Gay Cowboy Movie really does do it a disservice.

I'm not gay and don't plan to be any time soon, nor do I have any close gay friends. And to be honest, the few REALLY physical scenes did give me a few moments of "well, um, ok". But there were only a couple of those scenes, the rest were kisses or just touches.

In order to see the beauty of Brokeback, you need to shelve all that and really really look at the big picture.

Number one on the list - the scenery. When they panned the highway shot through the mountains, I just felt HOME. Now I grew up in New Brunswick and moved to Alberta 10 years ago. But I love being so close to the mountains. The initial part of the movie that was set up on Brokeback was visually just stunning.

Number two, what was this movie really about?

Was it about two cowboys and their love affair? Well, yes, simply put. But it was more about loving someone who you don't want to love. Who you shouldn't love. Who you can't help but love but have to do it in private.

It's about struggling to live a lie when in your heart you're dying inside. And this struggle seemed so much harder for Innes than it did for Jack. It's about feeling something that goes against everything you've been raised to believe. When Innes says that he and Jack can't possibly have a ranch somewhere together, it's because of what his father showed him when he was a boy. And in the end he's right, because after he and Jack "break up", and Jack decides that he's going to move on, the exact same thing happens to him.

I cried for probably the last half hour of the movie. Which brings me to my one big gripe.

I should have known that an Academy winner couldn't possibly have a happy ending. I'm not sure why unhappy endings are considered "artistic", but I hate it.

I hate that the last words they had were ending their relationship.

I hate that they never had the chance to reconcile. I hate that Jack died. I hate that his wife lied about how he died and that he got gay bashed. When Innes goes to Jacks' folk's place and sees the shirt, the one he thought he left up on the mountain, my heart just broke for him. I pretty much lost it at that I also realized that this was the end of the line. There would be no reconciliation.

You know, that's why I love writing what I do. I'm hooked on happily ever after and I'm fully ok with that expectation. Call me a sap but in a book or movie, or life, for that matter, if you torture your characters that much they at least deserve to ride into the sunset or whatever. I want to be left with a sense of hope and optimism, that satisfying feeling that everything is right with the world. Yeah, maybe those other books and movies make you THINK a lot, but I want to FEEL. And when I feel, I want it to be good feelings.

In other news, I finished one of my research books yesterday, one on Canadian Peacekeepers. Now I'm reading "Friendly Fire: The Untold Story of the US Bombing that Killed Four Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan". It is non-fiction, so far looks pretty unbiased, and is simply gripping. Good thing because it's also LONG!

1 comment:

  1. You need to read Robert Mckee Story in it he explains about optomistc/pessemistic and ironic endings. Optimistic endings still garner the biggest audiences.