In the midst of the year-end festivities, I didn’t realize that Brokeback Mountain (BBM) has generated such a level of publicity and excitement till I read this.
With BBM having won the Golden Lion award at the Venice File Festival in September, critics from Boston, New York and Los Angeles have also named it the best film of the year.
Of course, the indicator awards to the Oscars, the Golden Globes has BBM nominated in seven categories, leading the rest of the pack. Categories in which it has been nominated include Best Film (Drama), Best Director and Best Actor in a Drama (Heath Ledger).
All these accolades are from the critics. What about the man on the street?
Apparently, the movie is expanded to being shown in Texas and Wyoming, where the film was shot in and where the population is not exactly “gay-friendly” and is generally downright conservative.
I can’t put in words how excited I am that the film is having such an impact on the audience and potential audience. Some of the comments on the film (taken from Yawning Bread):
First off, I am writing this story from a heterosexual point of view. I attended the screening in Los Angeles with my girlfriend. As the story unfolded, I found myself more and more intrigued with the story, especially Heath's character. In addition, every scene looks like a postcard, speaking straight to you with so much emotion and heart. When the movie concluded, I must admit that I did feel a lot of pain for Ennis Del Mar. You can only wonder what could have happened? How will he live out the rest of his life? My girlfriend could not control her emotions, and could not stop crying long after the film was over. She claims this as "the greatest love story and poignant love story ever told, with so much honesty and truth being portrayed among the characters". This is why I decided to share my story, because it has such a profound effect in everyone, including straight male audiences. It's not to be missed. -- Roger, Culver City, California, USA
I plan on seeing this movie. I know it will remind me of my husband and his best friend of many years. If you think it is tough on one of the men involved in this kind of romance, I can tell you it is hell on earth for one of their wives. I don't know if they have expressed their love physically and will probably never find out, but it has been obvious to me for many years that they are in love with each other. For any of you men out there who are in this situation, I urge you to leave your wives for the other man. It is actually the kinder thing to do, as those of us who are the wives, are suffering also. It is better not to live your life with a lie. -- Anonymous, USA
I wanted to see this movie for several reasons. Obviously I was curious about the tension involved in a love seen between two heterosexual actors, one of whom has a real life girlfriend sharing many scenes with him. But also I just wanted to see a different kind of love story. But the thing is, after watching the film, I realized that there is no "different" kind of love story. Love is love. The only thing that differs is people and circumstances. As a heterosexual female I have certainly experienced the feeling of being in a relationship that was doomed never to evolve or last for whatever reasons, but which I could not give up immediately solely because of those reasons although perhaps I should have. That feeling was captured perfectly in this movie. There is always one person who feels they cannot live without the other. The other is always resigned to try the more mainstream path to avoid shame and inner turmoil. It always ends in tears. -- Zenzile, Bronx, New York, USA
All these seem very positive, don’t you think? Though obviously you can argue that these people are already ambivalent or somewhat gay-friendly in the first place. Thus, it's not like it's a big deal that they would watch the movie and end up enjoying it.
Yup, the people who would get the most good and where the movie would be an eye-opener for them are those bigots and homophobes.
People like this:
They shouldnt be allowed to put stuff like that in movies. I'm not going to pay to see two guys do each other; that is sick. I wounder why those two actors would want to do that. Me I wouldnt. And why would you put a movie like that over the hoildays. I personally don't even want to see this movie because it is really disgusting and disturbing. So why do people see because they're weird. – BlackHawk324, posted on the IMDB Boards
OK, I guess I'm going to have to repeat this again for the umpteenth time. There is no such thing as a "scared" homophobe! Men who are not comfortable with homosexuality are not frightened of homosexuals, they are disgusted by them. I for one do not relish watching a movie about two cowboys making out! I'm sorry, but it is not because I am scared of homosexuality; I am repulsed by it. I hope this movie makes nothing at the box office. Nothing! But of course, it will be praised by limp-wristed critics and Hollywood gay-backers because it "dares to show the gay lifestyle without shame, dares to shake up the status quo, and dares to flaunt homosexuality in front of the average moral theatre-goer". What a crock of sh*t. –jerryip54, posted on the IMDB Boards
About the last bit there, perhaps he should go to Jay’s blog and realize how he and the rest of the straight population “flaunts” their heterosexuality.
But the point to all these is the buzz it has generated. Even people who have only watched the trailer are excited to watch it. And these are not just Americans, but people from all around the world.
A lot of people who are connected to the Internet or who are even remotely aware of news and current events, would have known about BBM, or rather, the movie about “two gay cowboys.” (Though Alex Au did correctly point out that they were not cowboys. In the movie, they do not herd cattle. They herd sheep, and that makes them shepherds.)
Singaporeans have the opportunity of watching it in February 2006. The rest of us in Malaysia would never get to see it on the big screen. Click here for the trailer .
To be cynical, perhaps I am being hopeful and optimistic over nothing. There would still be people who would dismiss it as being a gay movie and thus has nothing to do with them (but who would happily go watch movies about violent rape and with excessive violence). Or those who think that if they were seen coming out of the cinema showing BBM, they would be thought of as being homosexual. Or that watching that movie would turn them gay.
Ridiculous as all those opinions may sound, unbelievably, there are many people who think exactly like that.
It is indeed refreshing and long overdue. It's completely threatening to those that have notions of what masculinity is and isn't and how being gay plays into that. - Jamessemaj12
Someone commented that this movie “frightens” the mainstream because the protagonists aren’t what they are used to see on Queer Eye or the other movies with gay characters, namely they are masculine and not feminine at all.
It is scary to some that they can’t say anymore that “Oh, he’s such a sissy he must be gay.” or “He’s so manly he can’t possibly be gay.”
Because now, that totally manly guy who sat across him at the other table, or any guy at all, could be gay.
Which scares the shit out of them.
All I can say is - Deal with it.
I am hopeful that at the very least, the movie would make people think. Think about their preconceived ideas of homosexuality. Look beyond the gay theme and realise that basically, they were just two people deeply in love.
Annie Proulx, the author, hopes the film provokes conversations, "that it's going to awaken in people an empathy for diversity, for each other and the larger world. I'm really hoping that the idea of tolerance will come through discussions about the film."
So do I.