My take on the film all them gays is talking about
However, since my take on it seems to differ from the vast majority who’ve seen it, I’ve resisted resisting and here you have it. My take won’t be an attempt at a sophisticated critique of the film as that is best done by those who are good at that sort of thing.
In a nutshell, I was underwhelmed.
The film was too long and dragged in the beginning and dragged at the end. For most of the film I felt quite detached from the main characters even though I had been prepared to be very engaged with them and their ultimately tragic love story. While I am quite sure that Ang Lee chose to film Annie Proulx's story because it’s a beautifully crafted tale (it is!) and it subverts the heterosexual stereotypes of the masculine myths of rural America (it does!) and it’s a subtle portrayal of how love can endure incredible obstacles and prejudice, both externally and internally imposed (yes, it ticks those boxes too), I couldn’t help thinking that he knew he was filming a stereotypical gay male (and straight female!) fantasy. Don’t be mistaken and assume that I didn’t like the film. I did.
It’s a good film but not a great one.
The acting was superb and even though I agree with many of the political/activist objections against Hollywood needing to rely on straight actors portraying gay characters, I can’t get too fussed about them. The incredibly huge landscapes contrasted perfectly with the small-town mentalities of the characters and the overwhelming repression of anything out of the ordinary. And, of course, the eye candy factor was way up there, especially if, like me, you're a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal. I could go on but I said I won’t and whether I go on or not, no amount of intellectualising about a film is going to make me like it any more.
When I see what I believe to be a great film, I feel an immediate visceral impact. Some films grow on you as time goes by or on subsequent viewing but, for me, that is very rare. Several friends of mine saw Brokeback Mountain twice with the space of a few days. Another friend who was a bit underwhelmed immediately after the film says that he felt quite haunted by it for the next day. He may have revised his opinion since then.
I’ve tried being haunted by it but my opinion remains unchanged.
It’s unlikely that I’ve put any of you off seeing it so please let me know what you think.
Read Lubin’s review for a good review that raves about the film.