I really wanted to like Brokeback Mountain. After hearing both friends and people on this board talk about how it was so moving, so courageous, how it even made them cry, I was totally psyched for this to be one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. And man, was I let down.
Okay, this WAS a nice film to look at; it probably would have looked better on the big screen but I got the gist of it. But unlike some other movie fans, I cannot live on setting alone. There were great swaths of this movie where nothing happened. Nothing! Can’t you pick up the pace, people? But my biggest complaint was that I didn’t think there was any chemistry between Ennis and Jack. Their first sex scene felt forced, and I could never really see what made them compatible or attracted to one another. I honestly got more of a romantic vibe out of Ennis and his wife, and I don’t think that’s due to just expecting more chemistry out of a male/female couple. And the ending was completely telegraphed, I saw it coming from a mile away and the flashback scene halfway through only confirmed it. But I can deal with a predictable movie–as long as I have some sympathy for the characters! And here, I didn’t. They didn’t write the characters interesting enough to make me care; they were still the same old tired stereotypes of the “strong silent type” and the “young wild guy who won’t settle down,” except that in this case they’re gay. And that twist was not enough to turn this boring setting-driven romantic drama around for me, especially since I am not of the demographic that is easily startled or disarmed by a gay relationship.
I want a good, interesting gay relationship movie. And I wonder whether most of the praise this movie received had more to do with the “gay twist” than the quality of the acting and script. I think that if it would have been a straight romance, with the level of chemistry between the actors remaining the same, it would have been panned as unrealistic. But because everyone wants to see a gay romance no matter how bad it is, this was praised. I can understand that, mainstream movies about non-effete gay men don’t come out every day, but I wasn’t feeling this movie.
I’ve been disappointed with movies lately. Out of the five BP nominees the only one I really liked was Good Night and Good Luck, everything else (disclaimer: I’ve not seen Capote) seemed like it was just visually stunning movies that tried way too hard to grind a moral into your head.
I appreciate that BBM might have changed the public’s perception of gay people and applaud it for that. But if you already have a non-stereotypical view of gays, this becomes just another romance movie starring two main characters with no chemistry. And for me, it fell flat.