I'll admit that I was skeptical of this film. I was afraid that it wouldn't live up to the hype. That Hollywood was maybe trying to send a collective message by showering the film with accolades and awards that had little to do with quality filmmaking and more to do with a political message that was long overdue. Forgive the cynic in me for thinking so. As it is, I'm ecstatic to be proved wrong. Brokeback Mountain is a masterpiece.
It could literally take hours to describe everything that is right with this movie. Everything, the acting, the script, the cinematography, the score (those five chords from the closing scene's The Wings by Gustavo Santaolalla (sample courtesy of Amazon) keep playing in my mind, their aching sense of loss and loneliness a sound I can't forget).
Much has been made of the actor's performances in this film and rightly so. Some say that Heath Ledger's turn as Ennis Del Mar was more nuanced than Jake Gyllenhaal's Jack Twist, but I don't see it myself. Both were superb, spot on, both keeping their characterizations tightly focused for the entire film. You aren't watching a film about two gay cowboys. You're hearing the story of Jack and Ennis, and the passion for each other that consumed them both. Perhaps this is why there hasn't been even the barest questioning of the sexuality of either actor. It could be because even the most ignorant among us know what bad form that would be, but I rather think that it is because both Ledger and Gyllenhaal so completely transcended themselves, that the fact that they are two actors, two straight men playing a part, could no longer register with anyone seeing the film.
This film has resonance with anybody who goes to see it because its theme, far from being a public service message about the consequences of homophobia, is just a love story. A story of two people whose love for each other could not be accommodated by the world in which they lived. The fact that it is, in fact, our world that rejected them gives the tale added pathos, but it refrains from the sort of heavy handed moralizing that might make it repugnant.
I'll stop here, because I wouldn't give away the movie for anything, but I can't recommend it enough. Please, please go see it. And if anyone has seen the movie and actually wants to discuss it, feel free in the comments or by e-mail. So fair warning to readers, the comments are a possible spoiler zone.