Brokeback Mountain:the short story--and the movie. *spoilers

Have any of you read Annie Proulx’s short story “Brokeback Mountain,” which has been adapted for the big screen? I’d like to discuss some aspects of it that I’m still wondering about even after two readings. *If you’re looking for the story, it’s in the first Wyoming Stories collection, called “Close Range.”

Here goes…

Some people refer to Ang Lee’s film adaptation as “That Gay Cowboy Movie.” But is this really accurate? Have they read the story? These are my impressions of Jack and Ennis:

They are two essentially hetero guys who love their wives but happen to have one same-sex attraction during their lifetimes: to each other. They never have this desire for any other men.
Human sexuality is a complex thing, to say the least, and while it would be easy to fit people into certain labeled compartments (he’s gay, she’s bi, they’re straight), it’s not realistic or accurate in some cases.
Jack and Ennis insist that they are not “queer.” It sounds like denial at first, but perhaps it’s a fact. They can’t quite explain or articulate what they feel, and why, to themselves or to each other. Their entire world is a fairly small place. It’s the world of Wyoming and Texas ranches and rodeos, and within that world they don’t have the freedom to be with each other as they would like to be–at least not openly. Also, they meet in 1963, and it’s not exactly a time when they could be “out.” They know this. Perhaps if they’d met in 2003, it might have gone easier–but then, of course, the story would be quite different.


I’m wrong on all counts above and these fellows are Two Gay Cowboys.


Ok, for some reason, the link thing isn’t working for me, but you can read the story here:

Anyway, I only read it once and quickly at that, but I agree with you. I still call it the Gay Cowboy Movie though.

I read on another message board that parts of the sex scene(s?) will be replaced by footage of cattle herding. Uh, I really hope that isn’t true, and not just because I’m a perv. :wink:

Perfect timing…I had just finished doing a Google search on reviews of the movie (there are quite a few reviews as it has been shown at some festivals).

I have not read the short story, but freely read all the reviews. None of them spoiled the ending (which I do not know) but have alluded to it being “heartbreaking”. By the way, most of the reviews were calling the film brilliant and giving excellent ratings, and even the less-than-glowing reviews were positive.

But having not read the short story, nor having seen the film (yet), I cannot really comment on your comments, other than to say some of the reviewers of the film touched on several of the topics you mention.

The film opens December 9th, but not quite sure if that is nationwide or in a few selected cities. I am hoping Las Vegas is a large enough market to warrant distribution of Brokeback Mountain on that day.

December 9 is the date for limited release.

If anyone wants to look at the trailer and discuss that as well (or instead), here is a link:

A third reading illuminated some aspects that I must have glossed over before:

  • Jack instigates things with Ennis (not that Ennis balks too much) and suggests the idea of moving in together later.

  • When Ennis asks if Jack has been with any other men, Jack says no, but Proulx writes that Jack “had been riding more than bulls.”

  • Years later, Ennis learns that Jack had presented the idea of a ranch partnership (with another male) to his father several times but nothing ever came of it. This leads Ennis to believe that Jack was murdered for being indiscreet about his inclinations and that he had not died in an accident after all. Still, Ennis does not display any sense of anger or betrayal in regard to Jack’s dealings with other men. Nor does either of these two show any kind of outrage when they tell each other about pursuing other women.

So apparently the whole thing is more complex than what I had thought during the first two readings.

Any further comments, analysis, or corrections welcome.