Brokeback Mountain

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Though Brokeback Mountain has one issue that could be considered heteronormative, I would definitely argue that it is a queer film. Jack wants Ennis to run away with him and live a monogamous life on their own ranch. This could be seen as heteronormative to some people, but I would argue that it is not. Its not as if Jack desires to have kids with Ennis, he seems content to leave behind the one that he has, which seems very queer to me. He doesn't want a white picket fence and all of the other things that come with being in a nuclear family, he just wants to be with the one he loves. I think it is possible to be monogamous and queer... Also, in most heteronormative films, there is a happy ending; the prince saves the princess, the two main characters in a rom com have a fight and then get back together, etc. The guy always gets the girl. In this case, the guy most certainly does not get the guy, and one of them ends up dead. Not your typical movie.

I think that having to hide their sexuality and relationship is very queer as well, as that is certainly something that most heterosexual people would not have to do. I think this film reflects the time and place accurately. Even now, I think many rural towns are extremely homophobic, in fact I'm from one, and know many kids who did not come out until after they moved from the area. So, I completely understand why Ennis was afraid of the consequences of having a public, gay relationship. Jack also is not completely monogamous. In addition to his marriage with his wife, he sleeps with men other than Ennis, which is generally not acceptable in a mainstream, monogamous relationship.

I think this is a really important film which brings awareness to the general public about homophobic violence. In this case, I do not have a problem with the fact that the two main characters were played by well known audiences, because it attracted all types of people. I also think it was very brave for Heath Ledger and Jack Gyllenhaal to play queer characters, at the risk of many jokes and parodies down the line. Although this film was set a while ago, we still face many issues of homophobia, and this film does a great job of bringing that to light.

3 Comments

I really liked your point about Jack not desiring to have kids as being a signal of queerness. Having kids is a huge part of heteronormativity and the fact that Jack was willing to just leave his boy behind with his wife to be with Ennis is queer to me as well. Especially since most parents I know will always put their children first and the amount of love for a child seem's, to me, to be so much more reciprocal and almost greater than love between two lovers. It is also interesting that Ennis in the end puts his daughters first. He turns Jack down because he finally gets to see his daughters after more than a month. The film ends with Ennis's daughter getting married and Ennis gives up work for her, something he stopped doing for Jack in their final days.

I totally agree with you about the non-monogamy. Often in love stories, you see the (temporarily because there's always a happy ending) heart-broken and dejected one reject advances from an easily obtained love interest because they just have so much love for so-and-so. But not so much for Jack, who continues to sleep with other men.

I agree with your point about having well known straight actors play the parts of Ennis and Jack. It really did bring a lot of attention to the film, and therefore a lot of attention to the queerness of the film. It also showed support of the gay community from straight actors, which is important. People who idolize Heath Ledger or Jake Gyllenhal might have a more positive attitude towards queerness after seeing that movie.

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This page contains a single entry by nels6731 published on April 8, 2012 2:22 PM.

Brokeback, more than heteronormativity was the previous entry in this blog.

Brokeback Mountain: Beyond the Scene is the next entry in this blog.

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