I'm not sure that Oklahoma is ready for this one

>> Sunday, February 12, 2006

Last night, at my daughter, Lauren's request, we went together to see Brokeback Mountain, a film directed by Ang Lee and starring Heath Ledger as Ennis Del Mar and Jake Gyllenhaal as Jack Twist, two young cowboys who meet one another when they are hired to tend sheep for the summer on Brokeback Mountain in the Wyoming wilderness.

Of course the draw for this film is the fact that it is the story of how these two cowboys fell in love with one another and the impact that it had on them and on their families. The story begins in 1963, in an era when homosexuality was still believed to be a mental disorder and when "stemming the rose" was a term used for gay male intercourse, when "queer" was still a derogatory term, and several years before the Stonewall Riots of 1969, which brought gay and lesbian issues to the forefront in this country. The entire plot spans over two decades of an illicit homosexual relationship between Ennis and Jack, who both struggle with their feelings for one another outwardly and inwardly, as well as fight the societal taboos present within their times and their tough, rugged, cowboy culture.

I found the film riveting, touching, thought-provoking, intense, and disturbing. I have to admit that some of the explicit gay male sex disturbed me, but not in the revolting sense. It was more in the sense that as a woman I view sex from an entirely different perspective than a man. And the way two men approach sex is much different than the way two women, or even a man and a woman approach it. It took me a little by surprise. I could also feel the tension in the audience during these scenes--gay sex is not something which the general Oklahoma audience is used to seeing, and perhaps they were not prepared for the film to be quite so honest in it's portrayal of the sexual aspect of the relationship. There were also some subtle nuances in the film that I'm sure were lost on the audience. Like for example, the scene where Ennis makes love to his wife and in the midst of their love-making, flips her over onto her front, in an attempt to pretend that he was making love to a man, more specifically, to Jack.

I highly recommend this film. This is an important one, folks. However, be forewarned that it holds nothing back. If you go, go expecting to be shocked, to be disturbed, to be challenged, and perhaps even revolted. But go with an open mind and an open heart, for only then will you be able to see past the "shock and awe", to the important message contained within

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