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The Movie Brokeback Mountain Film Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 1126 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The movie Brokeback Mountain is adapted from a piece of writing from 1997 by Annie Proulx. The novel, and consequently the movie, revolves around feelings that dare not speak their name. It is in effect, a spacious, rich, and passionate way of showing, and not telling the real feelings.

The written story of Annie Proulx earned the reputation of being the best short story ever to be published in the New Yorker magazine. It is the tale of two wandering ranch-hands in the early 1960s, Jack and Ennis, who get a summer’s work shepherding in Wyoming on Brokeback Mountain. The movie basically intended to covey the unarguable humanist message that sexual freedom is a human right; whose repression or suppression can be spiritually and physically dangerous, regularly having a damaging ripple effect (Snider, 2008).

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If permitted, it would not be wrong to say that “Brokeback Mountain” is one of the most emotive love stories in decades. It slowly but surely interweaves its magic and works its way into your heart. There are quite a number of movies which take their time revealing the story out and residing over the audience. “Brokeback Mountain” is one of those films. The movie does not show any hurry, and there seemed no need to fill every instant with dialogue.

The storyline of the movie is convincingly straightforward and simple. The movie is pictured in the summer of 1963 and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) meets Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) when they’re both given jobs guarding sheep up on Brokeback Mountain. Jack is portrayed as a friendly and open person. On the other hand, Ennis is an introvert who closely safeguards his feelings.

As the movie unravels, the audience witnesses that all alone up on the mountain, the good-looking young men release themselves to each other. One night, consequent to a lot of drinking, Jack encourages Ennis into his tent to get warm. It is then that a life-changing sexual encounter emerges between the two. That one night of shared passion gives birth to a 20-year relationship. Though both the men got married, and had children, yet never once did they stop loving each other. They could not candidly show how they felt and had to keep it locked inside, because their love would never have been understood in that time and in that place. However, there were exceptional instances few times each year when they broke away from their other lives and found each other up on Brokeback Mountain.

The movie proposes the argument that the repression of sexual emotions can be spiritually and physically dangerous, and can recurrently have an adverse ripple effect. However, it also proposes that unnatural sexual emotions, which are not acceptable by the society, only bring unhappiness for all the involved parties.

This thesis statement is sustained by many depictions within the movie. It is fundamentally a frantically sad story in a lot of ways. It is a story of two wasted lives; but a moving and striking story, too. Once forced to hold back his true emotions, Ennis turns into a taciturn and grumpy old cowpoke. Jake, on the other hand, becomes a sellout, working for his detestable and despicable father-in-law, selling farm machinery – their true selves become more somberly unapproachable with each not good enough holiday as one.

Another case in point to support the main idea comes in the form of a scene in which Ennis, in front of his freaked-out family, punches two hikers at a Fourth of July picnic. The shot of the assaulted, enraged, deeply miserable cowboy lifting his fist against a sky abates with fireworks is one of the most prompted moments. The director, Lee, has taken the opportunity to restate a well-known, though undeniable charge against the foundations of American nationalism, that is to articulate that at least some of its hard line and violent undertow is rooted in repressed homosexuality (Pinto, 2007).

At the end of the day, “Brokeback Mountain” is not about sex (there is very little of it in the film) but about love (Piontek, 2012). However, it is not just the love between Jack and Ennis; it is also about the love that the two men received from their wives and could not honestly give back to them. Thus, the storyline not only highlights the impacts that such a relationship had on the gay actors, but also on the related parties.

The contribution of Brokeback Mountain has been the way in which it apparently lent a hand to change America’s attitude en route for homosexuality was by “humanizing” gays, by showing them as “real people” with “real feelings.”

If seen from the other perspective, in political stipulations, “Brokeback” was a revolutionary event, because it brought into pointed liberation connections between homosexuality, homo-sociality, and homophobia.

The following situation highlights the importance of emotional urges and the consequent repression of ‘unacceptable’ emotions:

“What Jack remembered and craved in a way he could neither help nor understand was the time that distant summer on Brokeback when Ennis had come up behind him and pulled him close, the silent embrace satisfying some shared and sexless hunger.”

Such feelings are unquestionably major and important for an individual. A person who is taken away from such a blissful feeling and association is sure to turn sour, pungent and unhappy (Grundmann, 2006). Moreover, Ennis, who constantly fought against his emotions and tried hard to repress them under the alleged fatherly responsibilities, eventually did feel the loss of what was unsaid and undone between him and Jack. However, it is important to note here that non-acceptance of the homo-love led both the men to live their lives with women, who were eventually hurt as the truth unveiled.

The main proposition is that humans must be allowed to exercise their own will; either in their social matters or in their personal ones. Inability to do so will not only leave them unhappy, but will also have hurting impact on the people who get involved with such miserable beings.

The movie, Brokeback Mountain, is nevertheless a classic and a thought-provoking movie. Though labeled as a love story, it does not only target an explicit audience; rather it extends its gentleness, its compassion, emotional attachment and the sadness of lost love to all. The movie is a typical example of individualism and human right – humans are free to love whomever they wish for. Inability to do so might have adverse undulating effect and could lead to devastated, unhappy lives of many.


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