Brokeback Mountain is running full steam ahead towards the promise of Oscars. Everyone is gushing about it. A bit of censorship controversy did not hurt it at all - and one can always wonder if it was engineered in any way. Ang Lee is one of the great directors. No arguments. It is Heath Ledger's finest moment. No arguments. But why is everyone getting so carried away?
Because it is a gay movie. Which, people seem to keep trying to deny. How odd. It is is gay movie! It is about two handsome, uneducated country men who fall in love and spend the rest of their lives having clandestine assignations at the place where this great love was born. The place, of coourse, is Brokeback Mountain. Gay men of the 60s tended to marry to protect themselves from the stigma of homosexuality, for that is how it was then. And, fortunately, Annie Proulx, in writing the story on which this film was based, and Ang Lee, in making it, have allowed the damage wrought upon women to be portrayed. Of course, it is not the big thing of the male love story. It is incidental collateral damage.
I know women who married gay men, not knowing they were gay. I find this deception callous and self-interested. I can't feel the sympathy I am supposed to feel. It is not a moral judgement about gayness, since that is not an issue for me. It is about honesty and integrity. It is about fidelty and trust.
Here comes a movie which attempts to justify the brutality of this misuse of women in the name of a greater love between men.
It might come as a huge novelty to the ingenuous American cinema public and the equally ingenuous but ever good-cause-driven Hollywood crowd - but not to this little black duck.
However, I am putting my two dollars into the tipping cap - since for those reasons alone, just to show how broad-minded and enlightened they all are, they will vote Brokeback to the trophy top.
But, of course, the dividend is that all those men who like to go fishing and camping out in the woods with the blokes are now going to be highly suspect. Camping out with the boys now takes on a much camper meaning.