Brokeback Mountain is the story of two cowboys (Jack Twist & Ennis Delmar: Jake Gyllenhal & Heath Ledger) who spend the summer of 1963 watching over a herd of sheep on Brokeback Mountain in photogenic Wyoming. It's a story of isolation & loneliness and the bonds that can be developed when that's all you have; an unlikely love story of two human beings who forge a connection so strong it stays with them for the rest of their lives.
After the summer of '63, life returns to normalcy for both Jack & Ennis. Ennis marries his betrothed Alma and Jack moves to Texas to give rodeoing a real try. Ennis & Alma have children; Jack marries a rich farm-machinery salesman's daughter. Life goes on. Until one day, 4 years later, when Ennis receives a post card from Jack. Jack's coming back to Wyoming to visit.
This throws Ennis into fits of happiness! Alma has never seen her husband as happy & excited as he is when Jack comes to visit and while she's suspicious of their relationship, she never confronts Ennis until years later. Under the guise of a "fishing trip," the two enjoy a week together back on Brokeback Mountain.
Their visits continue through the years - while their 'normal' lives also continue. Their love grows deep but sometimes filled with jealousy and with such intense longing that pain is often etched on their faces.
I found this movie to be both heartbreaking and haunting. I thought it was a beautiful story, with amazing cinematography. The transformation that both Ennis & Jack go through from their early 20's through their 40's is smooth and believable, particularly with Ennis. Subtle changes in stature, hair & makeup complete these transitions. I'm so happy that I went to this particular movie, during a matinee, in Duluth, MN, and found the theater packed -- that gives me hope that maybe people are loosening up about things like same-sex relationships. It gave me hope. While I admit, the love scenes made me a bit uncomfortable, I know that is because it is something that is never shown to me, and my discomfort was irrelevant to how much the story moved me.
During the last scenes when Ennis is alone in his trailer on the barren Wyoming desert, my heart ached for him. His loneliness, his isolation once again returned but this time with no salvation from his true companion. As he closes his closet door and whispers "Jack, I swear...." my heart clenched and sank. Sometimes the most beautiful stories leave us with a heaviness we carry with us for some time. Thinking of this powerful film, I am thankful that I can live my life how I am meant to live it, and I hope that someday everybody will be able to do the same.