Brokeback Mountain (possible spoilers)

Yesterday I saw the much hyped Brokeback Mountain, aka The Gay Cowboy Movie.

The movie had some beautiful shots and the acting was exceptional.

The only thing is… it’s really not much of a cowboy movie, or at least, not the cowboy movies I’ve ever seen. It’s a drama that follows two characters in 1963 Wyoming who meet, fall in love, and continue to weave into each other’s lives for the next 20 or so years. Because the characters are MSM (men sleeping with men, “not queer’) and this is the 20th century American West, they both see (though one sees more than the other) the hazard of flaunting their love. They are a bit careless at times however. They get older. They move to different places, get married to women and have children. One ends up doing well financially, the other not so much. Meanwhile they see each other intermittantly.

The movie really wasn’t that gay. Yes, the characters were men that slept with each other, but they were well closeted and didn’t ever seem to self-identify as gay. There was some tit-action on the screne, but in no part did you see the men’s wangs, and only BARELY did you seee their butts, and you never saw either of them looking at, or towards, each other’s wangs/buttocks. They did actively seem to like to kiss each other though. Maybe that’s *really gay* and I don’t know it. Rumor has it that this movie was filmed with heterosexual women in mind, so I keep translating the plot and the character’s relationships into movies of the past 20 yrs featuring lesbian characters. Those movies made money, avoided some of the hubbub and were generally inoffensive, like watching Willow and Tara’s relationship on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I keep thinking of the movie Kissing Jessica Stein, which was directed (and/or written by) a straight woman. It’s a quasi-lesbian movie that was inoffensive.

Brokeback is kind of the same.

There’s nothing really epic or new about it. Nothing terribly gay about it either. The only “gay issue” it truly tackles is being closeted and it only vaguely whispers of the threat of gay bashing/lynching, and doesn’t get terribly invested into the emotions surrounding those issues.

Maybe this is what makes the movie great – that it transcends common themes found in gay drama to just stick to the story of the relationship.