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Movie Review

Brokeback Mountain

MPAA Rating: R for sexuality, nudity, language and some violence

Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray

Extremely Offensive
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2 hr. 14 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
December 9, 2005 (NY/LA/SF), later expanded wide
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Relevant Issues
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What about gays needs to change? Answer - It may not be what you think.

What’s wrong with being gay? Answer (Homosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid?)

What does the Bible say about same sex marriage? Answer

What should be the attitude of the church toward gays and homosexuality? Answer

How can I deal with temptations? Answer

Personal stories of men who have battled homosexual lust in their own lives:

How to share Christ’s message with homosexuals

Claim: God made me a homosexual. Response

Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.
Featuring: Kate Mara, Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams, Linda Cardellini
Director: Ang Lee
Producer: Michael Costigan, Michael Hausman, Larry McMurtry
Distributor: Focus Features

“Love Is A Force Of Nature”

We are strangely drawn to forbidden things. This wanting after anything forbidden in the human existence cuts both ways. Both men and women can have an immoral character.

The emphasis here is placed on the spirit portrayed in Director Ang Lee’s beautifully filmed “Brokeback Mountain”, not necessarily on gender, although we’ll deal with this aspect, but on immorality.

Breathtaking landscapes and top notch performances aside, “Brokeback Mountain” is not the “cowboy drama,” or the “romance western” it starts out being, but is most assuredly just what they are now describing it as, a “Gay Western.” Heath Ledger’s cowboy Ennis Del Mar and Jake Gyllenhaal’s rodeo rider Jack Twist are a heartache in progress. From their first fateful encounter through to the tragic ending, “Brokeback Mountain” was akin to a Shakespearian tragedy. Bending the mind of the viewer, urging us to jump up and shout, “stop this behavior, can’t you guys see where it’s leading you?”

Ennis and Jack become friends on a poor man’s sheep herding mission into, over, and eventually meant to go through the Wyoming mountains known as Brokeback. Friendship forged in the duties of rounding the herd, tending the horses, and the back breaking labor of cowboy life, becomes more than just a couple of cowboys with things in common. Jack, from the beginning, sees something in Ennis which interests him. Ennis, not much of a talker, finally opens up and discusses with Jack his innermost troubles, which sets the stage for what happens next.

Ennis’ story is not a pretty one. He had a father who’s hatred of anything unnatural was passed on to him. At just nine years old, Ennis was exposed to the horrible murder of two old men, whom it was implied might have been homosexual—the murder performed in a most hideous way, most likely by his father. In being taught through fear to hate homosexuals, Ennis was taught to hate his own feelings when they welled up within himself for Jack.

As a cold night closes in, Ennis insists on sleeping by the fire, while Jack gets the warmth of the tent. The fire out and snow’s bite subsequently forces Ennis into the cramped tent for his own survival. That fateful encounter turns this rugged ranch hand flick into a no-holds-barred contradiction on a dime.

The following morning, a guilty-eyed Ennis announces, “This here was a one shot thing, ya know I ain’t queer!” Jack puffs himself up and declares, “Me either!” and in 1963 that shoulda been that, but the power of the action and the loneliness of the characters themselves proves no match for the attraction. As we weren’t as forgiving of that sort of tendency in the 60’s, the encounter had to be buried deep within.

Bound by their secret and fueled by their love, these men continue their affair through the following 20 years. Ennis marries the sweet and devoted Alma (a heartbreaking performance by Michelle Williams) and has two daughters. His life destined for a paycheck-to-paycheck existence, Ennis kicks through it with determination to survive and provide for his family as a “man.”

Meanwhile, Jack is branded locally as a not quite “straight” cowboy. Their boss (Randy Quaid) tells Jack he doesn’t want him back for hire: “You guys sure found a way to make the time pass up there. You weren’t getting paid to let the dogs guard the sheep while you stemmed the rose.” Jack eventually finds a way out of the rumor mill by marrying the beautiful Lureen (darkly beautiful Anne Hathaway), daughter of a wealthy farm machinery mogul, and has a boy of his own.

As the years roll by, these men wreck their own lives and those around them. Those people most endeared to them, people that they love, suffering because of their relationship. At Alma’s first sight of her husband and Jack in an “embrace,” the torture in her eyes teared over with utter disbelief, was almost too much to bear.

“Brokeback Mountain” is aptly rated-R. It is filled with very homosexual images. It includes a couple graphic “love scenes” between two men, and love scenes between men and women. The Ennis character is shown nude (in background), while bathing by the tent. The Alma character is shown bare-breasted Included are several scenes of men kissing each other passionately. These scenes are very realistic, and honestly left me with a sick feeling long after. The images are haunting, and so I must caution, spiritually dangerous for anyone who is not completely grounded in Scripture!

The f-word is spouted regularly. “Jesus” is uttered several times as an explicative, not referring to His reverence. Vulgar language is sprinkled throughout, but it doesn’t seem out of place in respect to the cowboy life and the characters’ environment. There is a scene where two obnoxious males sit and loudly discuss a private part of female anatomy at a social gathering where children are present. The Ennis character asks them to stop that talk in front of the children and ladies, and when they don’t, he proceeds to punch and kick them until they do.

The Ennis character is shown in many violent fights. Drinking, smoking, adulterous acts and divorce run concurrently. There is blood, violence and death throughout “Brokeback Mountain”.

I’m not saying this isn’t Oscar material. What I am saying is, this is not Christian material.

Oscar is known for setting apart the creative and original film. “Brokeback Mountain” certainly fits this image with it’s sweeping cinematography, absolute attention to detail, sensitive direction, and the sincere desire to paint a picture of what it really was like to be a man of homosexual tendencies in the early 1960’s and on into the next 20 years, especially in the ultimate macho male environment embraced in cowboy and rodeo life. The panoramic view of nature is breathtaking and flawless, nearly pristine. The complex relationships of the characters are fraught with emotion running the gambit from heated fist fights to tenderness—all done with exquisite performances.

Considering all the above, I just cannot justify any of the supposed “love” between the male characters. It is lust, definitely not love, and here’s why:

The dictionary defines the word “lust” as “an intense and unrestrained craving, an overwhelming desire.” Synonyms include obsession, longing, yearning, hunger and thirst. And if you’ll note the scenes where Ennis is waiting for Jack to show up for their “fishing trips” you’ll see exactly what I mean. There isn’t any specific mention of sexuality, because lust is much bigger than the sexual sin we usually associate with it. We witness lust in those who pursue relationships for the sake of filling a sense of emptiness that only God could fill.

Sexual relationships with those of the same gender as depicted in “Brokeback Mountain”, can be emotionally damaging, not to mention the potential for STDS that are fatal such as AIDS. Our relationships ought to be more important than the sometimes fleeting enjoyment or lusts that the “anything goes freedom policy” carries.

What about the issues of gender and immorality? The Hebrew word for “immoral” carries the connotation of something that is profane, which is the way God sees immorality. We human beings don’t always share God’s perspective, and Satan knows this; therefore he will do all he can to disguise sexual sin with deceit. Satan is cunning enough to package the profane as something that seems to satisfy a need or want, as in the case of Ennis and Jack’s affair, which might seem fine at first, but let us never forget this relationship that was fine to them at first, failed and finally lead down the path to pain and death. Had the relationship been avoided, the sin never would have happened, along with the devastation and destruction it left in it’s wake.

“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you…”

The Lord wants us to avoid the profane and therefore, He pleads with us to never allow these types of relationships to take root in our hearts. He has made it clear that we need to be diligent in our duty to monitor the relationships we voluntarily invite in. This will keep our relationships pure and preserve our hearts for the relationship with the one whom God has called us to love for a lifetime.

“Then the Lord God made the woman from (Adam’s) rib, and He brought her to him…” And the man said
“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called woman,
For she was taken out of man.”

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

God has blessed us all. He alone provides a mate for each one of us always worthy of His love. If then God loves us enough to provide a mate, it is truth that He provides this mate according to His Word. There is no deviation of that course. If there were exceptions to His rules, God would not be God.

God’s design for us is to have no intimate sexual desire for those of the same gender. I know that this sounds like a decree that can’t possibly be kept in our modern permissive society, but remember that the Living God has put these moral laws in place to be eternal, which means they are good forever. Therefore, if they are good forever, we his people, will be able to keep them forever.

“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, that is detestable.” God speaks to man through Leviticus: “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both have done that which is detestable.”

“Flee the evil desire of youth, and pursue righteousness.”

“For the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…”

We need something more reliable than our hearts to lead us in our relationships. God’s Word enables us to discern what can and can’t be done in all relationships, even sexual relationships. Today, just as was in the time of the Judges, there is a sinful cycle echoed by the verse in Judges 17:6: “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes,” ignoring God and allowing their hearts to lead and direct instead. The results of this type of thinking is painful and ultimately devastating.

Man is completely incapable of making his relationships right without The Word of God. As a compass’s needle always points North, a ruler always helps make a straight line, similarly the Bible is the measurement which always will point us to what is right, keeping the heart straight on the path of God’s Perfect Will in our relationships.

“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me; but not all things edify.”

From Genesis to Corinthians, Scripture notes that sin lies in wait and hides behind the mask of freedom. To be sure, there are a lot of things we do that the Bible doesn’t have a specific “Thou shalt not” commandment attached to it. Like watching R-rated films, or having unprotected sex, or bringing up porn on the computer, but we must know that just because we are free to do something doesn’t mean it’s going to be good for the relationships we choose in life to do that “something.” Remember that “Sin lies at the door and it’s desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

“So I advise you live according to your new life in The Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves” (Galatians 5:16).

“Brokeback Mountain” is a riveting film, with characters you can believe are real, many performances deserving of an Oscar, but “Brokeback Mountain” has an eternal flaw and that is that there was no redemption from the sin. It was pitiful that the characters were left with no way out, no forgiveness. They were fooled by the facade of freedom that sentenced them to sexual sin. Not knowing Christ died to set them free, free from the power of sin giving them a love for the law of The Spirit, which leads to Life! Enabling them to walk away from that mountain called sins and into the liberty of righteousness!

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Extreme

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer Comments
Christian ex-Gay explains “Why I won’t see “Brokeback Mountain””
by Tim Wilkins

With eight Oscar nominations, more than any other movie this year, “Brokeback Mountain” continues to gain momentum. And with the momentum comes increasing interest by evangelicals to see it.

I will avoid the movie like a slug avoids an overturned saltshaker, and for the life of me, cannot understand why any evangelical would see it-though there appear to be many. But what is more disturbing to me is that many men and women I know with unwanted homosexual attractions are seeing the movie.

A reporter from The Christian Post asked my thoughts about the movie, and I obliged. My comments as a former homosexual were made from the reviews I had read—comments which generated numerous e-mails to me from individuals arguing that I could not make an intelligent comment on a movie I had not seen.

They suggested that my viewing the movie would be beneficial in responding to the reporter’s questions. I told them and the reporter that my going to see “Brokeback Mountain” would be similar to asking a former alcoholic to go to a liquor store to buy his neighbor a toddy for the body.

Opponents of ex-gay ministries will immediately shout “Aha, so you are still tempted with same-sex attractions!” I do not deny it! Martin Luther said it this way, “if your head is made of butter, stay away from the fire.”

These opponents will also argue that ex-gay ministries “only teach avoidance techniques.” Indeed, avoiding anything which may cause temptation is appropriate and biblical.

“Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way” (Proverbs 4:14-15).

“You are to abstain… from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things” (Acts 15:29).

“Avoid every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

“Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18).

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality” (1 Thes. 4:3).

I am aware than an ultra-literalist might argue that viewing the movie does not constitute sexual immorality, but let’s remember that sexual immorality can be a thought as much as it can be an act.

On a more simplistic level, I urge people who are allergic to bee stings to avoid bees—fair-skinned women to avoid the sun—lactose intolerant men to avoid dairy products—asthmatics to avoid perfumes—and hay fever sufferers to avoid pollen.

When Dr. R. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary appeared as a recent guest on Larry King Live he said,

“I’m going to say something that is about as counter-cultural as I can imagine, and that is I’m actually convinced that as a Christian, there are certain things I don’t need to see. And that’s the reason why, as a matter of principle, I have not gone to see the movie. I wouldn’t encourage anyone to go see the movie. I’m unembarrassed to say that.”

A self-avowed unhappy homosexual man e-mailed me to say he saw the movie and “cried for three days after seeing it.” Why am I not surprised?

Another wrote “As a man who has struggled with homosexuality all my life, I decided I would face it head on when I first saw the previews.” (Those previews did their work-didn’t they?) Indeed another wrote “I would rather face challenges than run from them.” These reasons may sound heroic and one can imagine a man charging into the theater refusing to avoid this issue which has caused him so much hurt.

But let me ask, is it possible the homosexuals’ continued pain results in part from continued time investment in things homosexual? When Potiphar’s wife was attempting to seduce the godly Joseph, he faced his challenge by running for the exit sign (Genesis 39:12).

Lest I sound uncaring to homosexuals, let me say to you (and you evangelicals need to hear this also) that I am aware of the unfathomable suffering which is part of same-sex attractions. Despair, depression and darkness blacker than the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

One of the reasons that evangelicals have not made much progress in reaching homosexuals with the gospel is their failure to empathize with the excruciating pain homosexuals experience.

But back to my main point, to view the movie will most likely reduce one’s defenses from future immorality.

A large man had won accolades from his co-workers by dieting. However, the man walked into the office one day with a half empty box of donuts under his arm. His colleagues, genuinely concerned as to why he had slipped-up, asked why. He told them that in his race to work he took a detour by the local donut shop and a blinking “HOT DONUTS NOW” neon sign caught his attention.

But there was a problem: the parking lot was full! He told his co-workers, “At that moment I told God that if he wanted me to stop and buy some donuts, he would have to open up a parking space right in front of the shop—and sure enough, the seventh time around the block, there it was!”

In October of 2005, The Associated Press ran an article “Study Backs Out of Sight Out of Mind Theory.” The study, led by Brian Wansink, involved placing candy jars of Hershey’s Kisses in close proximity to a select group of secretaries.

Some of the containers were clear, while other containers were opaque. Additionally, some of the containers were placed on the secretaries’ desks, while other containers were placed six feet from their desk.

Ready for the results?

“Secretaries ate an average of 7.7 kisses each day when the candies were in clear containers on their desk; 4.6 when in opaque jar on the desk; 5.6 when in clear jars 6 feet away and 3.1 when in opaque jar 6 feet away.”

The study went further. “Secretaries rated candy as more than twice as hard to resist when they could see and reach it than when they could not. They were twice as likely to say that they often thought of the chocolates or that the treats kept grabbing their attention if they were visible and nearby. By contrast, secretaries were twice as likely to say they forget the candy was around if it was hidden and distant.”

I will not see the two hour and fourteen minute movie; rather, I will devote an additional two hours and fourteen minutes to my time with God who, when I am tempted, will also provide a way out so that I can stand up under it (1 Cor 10:13).

Tim Wilkins is the Executive Director of Cross Ministry, one of ChristianAnswers’ Contributing Specialists

Read Mr. Wilkins’ story of how he became a homosexual, and how his life was later wonderfully changed through Christ

Comments below:
Positive—In the Christian community, a movie like this sets off alarm bells, and perhaps rightfully so. I myself was reluctant to see it, what with the content and all, but I’m ultimately glad I did. Here’s why This film, directed by Ang Lee, is one of the most meditative and quiet films I’ve ever seen. Everything in the film lends itself to a thoughtful silence. Whether because of the wonderfully minimalist score, or the sweeping landscapes, or the actors faces, this isn’t a film that wears its heart on its sleeve. Its all underneath the surface, exhausted, quivering, struggling to be heard.

The underlying theme deals with more urgent issues than simply sexuality. These men choose to live a certain way, even though their hearts lie elsewhere. As a result, they are forever living in the past, wishing things had been different. If only their community had been more receptive, they may not find themselves in their predicament. Now, take away the homosexual element, and this is a pretty tragic tale that almost anybody can relate to. Did you ever want to do something for a living, but your parents insisted you do something else? Were you ever interested in something that most people viewed as unimportant or useless? Was there ever somebody that you were deeply in love with, but outside circumstances forbade you from following through, whether those be race, class, or religion? more »
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4
—Tyler Smith, age 24
Positive—I saw “BrokeBack Mountain”. That in and of itself would most likely shock my Pastor and other Christian friends, “What business do you have going to see such filth?” they no doubt would ask. My honest, if wrongheaded response would be “To see what the controversy was about.” My reason, no matter how foolish, is the same that caused Mel Gibson’s Passion to soar at the box office.

As an Evangelical Christian, who believes Biblical standards, I cannot approve of the relationship Ennis or Jack share, no matter how much compassion and human sympathy I feel for their characters. Despite my disapproval (for what its worth) of the life style exhibited in “Brokeback Mountain”, I can see one major, positive, redeeming message for the Christian community to take to heart. more »
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Ben, age 27
Positive—I fully agree with the reviewer with regard to the quality of the filmmaking. It was exceptionally shot with views of the some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States has to offer. …I disagree with the reviewer’s statement that the cowboys were not in love. …when Ennis separated from Jack after first coming off the mountain, doubled over in pain and crying, I interpreted it to show how much losing his “friend” hurt him. Also, there was nothing “lusty” about Ennis’s embracing Jack’s bloodied shirt, or talking to it when it was in Ennis’s wardrobe. The movie tried to convey love. …
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Ross, age 46
Positive—This is a powerful and heartbreaking film. My wife dragged me to this film which I had no intention of seeing. I’m glad I did. This is one of the best films of the year. …This movie is not what you think it’s about, it’s not just a gay movie, or a love story, but a character study, and a brilliant one at that. This is a must see.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Roger Williams, age 48
Positive—…a marvelous film on many levels. It will certainly be remembered as one of the great modern westerns in cinema history. …this is a gay-themed film that does not propagate a homosexual message, but shows characters who struggle in a nasty, bigoted and hateful world that is not the one Jesus envisioned for us. Their dilemmas stay with the viewer for hours and days after the film is over. Bravo to the brave performances by all these actors. This one is a masterpiece and a clear choice for the Best Picture Oscar.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Peter Davis, age 36
Positive—I found the film to be beautifully photographed and wonderfully told. …the two central characters are in LOVE, not a mere lust. Yet, the film does not attempt to make them flawless characters or their wives monsters. It shows both their public personas and private torments in a fair light. It is a film that promotes tolerance, set in a time where close-mindedness prevented many unions, from those of the same gender to those of different races or religions. I consider myself a politically liberal person. It would not be fair of me to write this review and not mention that, so I was never left “ill” by the love scenes. To dismiss this film as a “gay cowboy movie” dismisses the complex moral and ethical dilemmas the film presents, including the idea that in a society that claims to separate church from state, should two individuals be forced to hide their feelings, and should one be allowed to manipulate others, such as unknowing spouses, in an attempt to have everything-the public normalcy and the private true love they truly desire? This film has top-notch acting, direction, cinematography, and a screenplay that raises questions from the viewer. …
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Julianne Ramsey, age 21
Positive—…I disagree completely though, with your insistence that the two main characters experience “lust” not “love.” I will admit that I think the first encounter between the two of them is, in fact, lustful, at least in part. They’re up there on that mountain all alone, with sheep, and I think that had a large part in driving the initial encounter. However, a relationship like that, which lasts for twenty years is not driven by lust. Obviously, Jack could get what he felt he needed elsewhere, in a physical sense, but that wasn’t enough for him, because he was just trying to fool himself. What he REALLY needed was Ennis, because he loved him. He missed him so much he couldn’t stand it, as he said himself. If the emotion was truly lust, then his experiences with other men should satisfy him. Ennis, on the other hand, shuts himself off completely from other romantic possibilities. He is a wiser man than Jack and knows that his longings can’t be fulfilled by just anyone. He loves Jack deeply, but he is afraid of it, too.

The main character’s lives are torn apart, not by their selfishness so much as their fear. Ennis is afraid to admit that all he wants from life is Jack by his side, and apparently, his fear is well founded. He can’t live properly lying to himself, but he sees no other way to go about it. His life is destroyed because he and Jack can’t be together, although its the only thing that would ever be right for them. more »
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Katrina, age 19
Positive—[Non-Christian/Agnostic] …Early on in the film, both Ennis and Jack reveal that their parents were Christians, but they have almost no knowledge of the faith themselves. Jack speaks as if he’s been nearly disowned by his father and, later, when Ennis talks about the murdered homosexual man, he insinuates that his father approved of, if not committed, the crime. Sure, Jack and Ennis were selfish and directionless, but how could you expect anything more from people who lived by the examples of parents who were so (frankly) un-christian? The only understanding of right vs. wrong that they possessed came not from a moral standard (which was never instilled in them), but from what society expected of them and achieved through spreading fear, intolerance, and ignorance, instead of openness and understanding which is the first step to helping confused individuals choose to lead selfless, moral lives. People don’t accept your help if you approach them with negativity.

Now, I say this not to insinuate that they only would have learned not to act upon their homosexual impulses had they had this positive Christian influence in their lives, but also that they would have improved as fathers, perhaps laid off the alcohol so much, and would have been able to accept their lives of heterosexual coupling despite the almost inescapable contradiction of struggling to “settle” for a woman and still make her feel fulfilled. I would not want to be with a man who only wanted me because he was supposed to. Please keep in mind that every time you pass off these characters and real life men like them as “disgusting,” “selfish,” and “immoral,” it is perhaps more productive to reach out to them than to condemn and judge them. Only one being has the right to judge them for their actions, and I’ll give you a hint: it’s not you.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 5
—Kehli Kytlica, age 20
Positive—When I heard about this film, I reacted the way you’d expect any teenager who’s been raised in an almost homophobic society to react—EWW! Then one day my mother, who is a devoted Christian, offered to take me to see this film so that we could gain an insight into the mindset of homosexuals and learn some compassion for them, while still realizing that homosexuality is an act condemned by God.

The movie served its purpose well. What really upset me was how Jack and Ennis felt pressured into marriage and raising families, even though that wasn’t where their hearts were. Homosexuality is wrong, but isn’t it just as bad to marry a woman who loves you, who you don’t love and aren’t faithful to? Or to bring children into your broken and loveless marriage? That kind of behavior is unfair. It made me think, are we so against homosexuality that we unintentionally put pressure on people to conform to our lifestyle? A person with homosexual tendencies needs our love and compassion, and our support to overcome their temptations. … more »
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Catherine, New Zealand, age 13
Positive—…a beautifully shot and acted film. Its worldview is not Christian, and it contains scenes that are not suitable for children. But just as Oedipus Rex manages so brilliantly to convey certain truths of human existence as they understood by the pagan Greeks, so does “Brokeback Mountain” manage to convey certain truths as they are understood by secular liberalism. It might even be that the film conveys certain Christian truths better than has yet been done by overtly Christian films. In any event, if you truly want to understand how secular liberalism understands homosexuality, you can’t do better than to watch this film.

I believe that when Jesus instructed us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, he enjoined us to do our best to walk a mile in their shoes before condemning them. We are required as Christians to understand the positions of others as well as possible, even if we are not enjoined to agree with them. Great art is perhaps our greatest hope for truly understanding the position of others. If we refuse to engage such art merely because we disagree with the position from which it emerges, we are not merely condemning ourselves to a kind of provinciality, we are rejecting the words of Jesus himself.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—David Mazel, age 50
Neutral—Though not widely seen during its early limited release, “Brokeback Mountain” is the most praised movie of the year, already winning most of the major critics and film societies awards, and destined to win the major honors at this years Academy Awards. It may well deserve all the praise. The film is exquisitely crafted, beautiful to look at, hauntingly scored, and acted without a hitch. But “Brokeback Mountain”, for all its artistry and skill, is as self destructive as its two main characters. The film is very much a Western, one which relies on the classic conventions of setting and circumstance, but unlike its classic ancestors, has eliminated its heroes. The rise of the anti-hero (the popular term for the loser in the title role) in the 1960s made the traditional hero obsolete. With Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Little Big Man, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The Wild Bunch, Midnight Cowboy, Lonesome Cowboy, and Unforgiven, the Western hero has been steadily losing his bearings. The strength and the certainty of High Noon and Shane and any of the John Ford Westerns have been replaced by discouragement and uncertainty.

After Vietnam and Watergate, institutional corruption (the government, the churches, the athletes, the corporations) presented a picture of humanity that was not worth taking a stand for, and after Lewinsky, the honor was gone, too. Self gratification, now referred to as personal choice, became acceptable, even admirable, in many circles. And anyone who contradicted such reasoning was condemned. When I watch a movie today, I know that if a conservative politician or a Christian minister or a priest or a business executive is introduced that there is more than a good chance that he will turn out to be the villain. The evil forces in today’s movies come from the same backgrounds as the heroes in the old movies. It is no accident that there are more movies about police corruption than about police.

more »
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4
—Jim O’Neill, age 53
Neutral—…an amazing film, it truly is the best picture of the year and no matter how much we may disagree with a lot of what the film stands for, I can’t sit here and honestly say it wasn’t brilliant, because it is… The acting is unbelievable (or should I say ultra-believable) and Jake Gyllenhall gave, to me, the most powerful performance in the film, which saw a number of great performances. The direction is superb and so is the cinematography, with the poignant script evoking both sadness and humor, joy and heartbreak. It truly is a remarkable and thoroughly believable film, a quality which sets it apart from other stellar films this year (I’m thinking of “Crash” here) and should help garner Brokeback a Best Picture win.

All of that said, the film is unabashedly homosexual in theme and pulls no punches in its depiction of the relationship between its leads. Their relationship is based almost entirely on sexual gratification, and the film celebrates this in a graphic way that other films including gay characters (like “Philadelphia”) do not. What Ennis and Jack do when they are together is wrong, and they do it so many times for so long that the film numbs the viewer’s feeling toward the act and thus make the premise of the film inherently wrong. After all, it is ultimately fornication that is anti-Biblical, and not any kind of gay emotional connection. Love between a man and a man is not in itself anti-Christian, as someone’s involuntary sentiments cannot, by themselves, be judged. It is only when we as sinners give into our temptations that we fall short of God’s grace. Just as premarital sex and all manner of sexual perversion is contrary to God’s word, so is gay sex…
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 5
—Doug Coleman, age 23
Neutral—I want to thank the author of the original review of “Brokeback Mountain” for her comments, as well as Mr. Wilkins. I was so encouraged by them! It has been a tough day for me since I viewed “Brokeback Mountain”. I was so entranced by the story, and felt such compassion for the characters, the two lonely men, and such shame at the horrible death of the one, that I felt weak and unable to confront this issue well myself from a Christian perspective. I agree that the film is incredible in realistic portrayal and cinematography, but extremely dangerous as far as its ability to cloud the issue of homosexuality and make it seem good.

It’s funny. As someone who has been very affected by homosexuality in the lives of others around me, as well as having struggled, whether personally in my own life or more as a question of moral belief, it is hard to tell, with this issue, I felt a little hesitant yet also anxious to watch this movie. But when I was sitting in front of the TV, God spoke to me, in much more clear a voice than He usually speaks, saying “Don’t see this movie.” I thought, “that could be my own fear to see this, or it could be God.” And I chose to watch the movie anyway. I now regret that choice and wish I could have those 2 hours and 14 minutes back, to spend with my God.

I would not advise seeing this movie, especially for Christians who struggle deeply mentally or as a personal matter with the issue of homosexuality. I do not think it will necessarily do much to change your mind on the rightness of homosexuality, but it will make your heart ache and cause you pain.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 1
—Anonymous, age 21
Negative—…The Hollywood set are saying “No, it’s a love story, it’s not just a gay western.” For those who haven’t seen it, here’s what “Brokeback Mountain” really is: It’s a long, drawn-out movie about two men who are so incredibly selfish that they lie to their wives for as long as they stay married (which is not so long for one of them) and have an affair with each other that lasts 20 years. I found the sexual elements to be offensive, but I really found it offensive that they got married and messed up their family’s lives because of something they chose to do. Homosexuality aside, they lied to their wives, they sleep with someone other than their wives, they don’t honor their marriage bed, and they aren’t there emotionally for their wives.

…I think the way they treated their wives due to their homosexual behavior was the most repulsive of all. They had loving wives and loving children. The character Ennis’s wife left him early in their marriage and the character Jake was ready to leave his family for Ennis. How is that a beautiful love story? That’s a selfish story of self-love in my opinion.

I’m sure there are those who will say that this film was so beautiful and sad, and how sorry they were for the poor men who shared a love that “dare not speak its name.” I think otherwise. Their “love” wasn’t sacrificial love like Christ’s love for us. They weren’t willing to sacrifice anything for their family; instead, they were willing to sacrifice their families for what they wanted to do. Ennis may not have ever left his family, but it was out of a sense of what bad thing might happen to him in his small town than out of any sense of being there for his family.

“Brokeback Mountain”’s ending is actually an interesting point to make. Jake is dead, and Ennis is left with nothing but two shirts and a picture of the mountain. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” Proverbs 14:12. I saw death not only in the one character, but all around the character who lives. He’s left with nothing. If they would only have turned to Jesus, but they didn’t.

Is that a well made film? The ultimate offense in this film is not the homosexual activity, the lying, or even the adultery. The ultimate offense is that these two characters could have turned to the Lord, but they never did. The Bible proclaims freedom for the captives, but, sad to say, Proverbs 14:12 was proved true once again on “Brokeback Mountain”.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 2
—Richard McCoy, age 32
Negative—I’m not going to discuss the film’s moral issues. Those have been discussed at length. This movie is nothing more than a dull take on a theme that you’ve seen done to death. At its foundation is a typical forbidden romance, star-crossed lovers story. There is nothing groundbreaking here, but the critics adore this film because it deals with homosexual characters. Take the recent “Tristan and Isolde”, the framework of the story was nearly identical to that of Brokeback, but the critics trashed the film. As for the acting, it is ridiculous. Heath Ledger just mumbles his way through the entire film, Jake Gyllanhall is nothing more than whiny and annoying, and Anne Hathaway proves that she needs to stick to playing princesses and keep her clothes on, because this film will do nothing for her career. A total mess and one of the most overrated films in history.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1
—Leo, age 28
Negative—I have just seen “Brokeback Mountain” and agree wholeheartedly with your reviewer. The technical quality of this film is astounding. The scenery is most beautiful, and the music a delight. The performances are very strong, too, from all the leads. A problem for me was actually understanding a lot of the dialogue, which most of the time seemed to be mumbled. However, this could be a problem just from my end, because I am writing from Australia, and maybe I was just finding the dialect hard to follow. But a film is more than its technical elements, and it is in these other areas that the film falls to pieces. It offends on so many levels. The “love” between Ennis and Jack is so abhorrent. Like your reviewer, I was disgusted by many of the scenes. In fact, I had to close my eyes during the tent scene. People who have seen the film will know which scene I speak of. … My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 4
—Paul Watts, age 39
Negative—In a year with so many great films, how did THIS one get so many nominations? It doesn’t hold a candle to any of the other nominees for Best Picture, and is, perhaps, the most over-hyped movie of the year. For a film to be great, it must have something to say and must say it in a way that adheres to quality standards of art. I find it frustrating when a film is lauded because of its message when the movie itself isn’t all that great. It frustrates me when Christians do it with Christian films (“Left Behind” movies, anybody?) and the same applies to mainstream movies.

The first thing that struck me about “Brokeback Mountain” was how beautiful a film it is to look at. The mountains and grasses and country landscapes are simply breathtaking. The cinematography certainly deserves its nomination. The acting, for the most part, is fine. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall are both very effective as Ennis and Jack, although the effect is slightly diminished as they age, certainly so in the performances of their wives. Gyllenhall has the movie’s most involving scene, during a Thanksgiving dinner when he finally stands up to his father-in-law. THAT is good film-making. And having seen two full seasons of “Six Feet Under”, I would say the homosexual content was pretty tame. Was it still a bit uncomfortable? Uh, yeah! But one thing it was not was graphic. Not in the least. more »
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Jason Eaken, age 22
Negative—DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE!! …I didn’t even get 30 minutes into it before I had to walk out. Easily one of the most offensive movies I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been watching the Oscars since I was 5. Please don’t support this abomination of film.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 5
—Jessica, age 16
Negative—“Brokeback Mountain” is by far one of the most controversial movies of the decade and deservedly so. Personally I believe that the movie’s biggest controversy is not because this is a “Gay Cowboy” lust story, but has more to do with the fact that the critical masses have come out in droves to praise this movie as a critical masterpiece.

Personally, I am appalled at the left-leaning movie industry. Not only did they close their eyes to the lack of storyline and complete lack of any humanity or morals, but they actually called this trash, not just good but great. Put aside the fact that this movie is totally about homosexuality and put in its place that the whole movie is about adultery-centered around two incredibly selfish human beings. Jack (Jake Gyllenhall) and Ennis (Heath Ledger) end up screwing up everyone’s lives around them for the pursuit of a quarterly tryst. This to me is the most disturbing part of the movie.

“Brokeback Mountain” is the story of two incredibly selfish cowboys who go off into the mountains one summer to tend sheep. During their experience in the mountains, they fall madly in lust with one another …They make an agreement that their lives will go back to normal when they get back home and assure one another they are not “queer.” Both go back home, and over time they each marry two absolutely wonderful women. They begin to start their lives and things are as normal and as loving as can be, until one day, Jack decides to come for a visit. Ennis’ wife immediately notices Jack and Ennis making out, and her spirit is crushed in ways no one could imagine. Through the years, she turns a blind eye to the fact that her husband is gay and suffers with a truly broken heart. Jack has become a successful sales person for his wife’s father’s company and appears to have a blossoming marriage. Through the years, both Jack and Ennis neglect their wives for the sake of meeting each other at “Brokeback Mountain” where they really do nothing but look at the stars and have sex. These rendezvous are supposed to be in secret and occur once every 3 or 4 months. Both Jack and Ennis destroy their marriages by completely neglecting their families and by putting one another first, all of which is portrayed as acceptable.

…“Brokeback Mountain” does indeed push the homosexual agenda as strong as it possibly can, however, if I were gay I would hate this movie because the first major homosexual hit is about two selfish guys who really have no care about their families, jobs, or responsibilities. They are only about one another. That’s it. It would have been so much more effective with a better script and stronger morals. A movie that tries to counteract the belief that homosexuality is immoral should do so by showing a moral code not by compounding the belief with torturous and unending adultery.

“Brokeback Mountain” is not only an incredibly weak script that really leads nowhere, but it leaves you emotionally empty. I have such a hard time dealing with the horrible behavior toward their families that I am not really drawn into the romance. You leave the movie feeling numb, not heart broken or empathetic.

Ang Lee who directed this movie did a great job. The cinematography was nothing less than perfect and spectacular. The views of the mountains and the countryside where jaw dropping. If you are someone like me who pays attention to detail, you will notice one of the worst makeup jobs I have honestly ever seen. Heath Ledger’s makeup is caked on the whole time and you can actually see the makeup cracks in his face. Its atrocious. The acting by Gyllenhall and Ledger was very good. The best acting by far was the wife of Ennis played by Michelle Williams. She does deserve to be nominated for an Academy Award. The shocker and very sad part about the movie was the role played by Anne Hathaway who, in a break from the innocent characters she usually plays, goes for broke revealing her body in its full glory. Watching the princess from Princess Diaries sell out was just sad. Unfortunately, Hathaway had become somewhat of a role model to kids, and now that vision is gone.

“Brokeback Mountain” is a sad, torturous, and morally corrupt movie that validates the liberal and left wing agenda to the fullest showing that, if you are homosexual and in love with another person, adultery is justified. The movie is centered not on the lives that are destroyed but the love that the two have for one another, portraying that love should conquer all, putting aside morals and commitment. This was a disturbing movie on many levels but mostly because Hollywood loves it. I will say that I could actually understand giving this movie major kudos if it was about homosexuals and had a good plot, but it doesn’t. This movie proves that Hollywood just wants to promote an agenda and they don’t care about the quality of the movie.

Warning: There are MANY, MANY scenes with nudity, sex scenes (both gay and straight), and lots of language and vulgarity. This movie does not soft pedal the male-on-male scenes and does show complete male nudity when both Ennis and Jack go skinny-dipping. To say the least, the Eeewwww Factor is major for straight people. 2 of 4 Stars, and the stars go specifically to the directing and cinematography
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 2
—John Kehrli, age 31
Comments from young people
Negative—I absolutely hated this movie. There is no way to even describe my disgust for this film. The reason for my disgust was not because it was a story between two gay men, it was the story in its entirety! It was just boring. Everyone is saying “oh, this was the most beautiful love story,” the only reason they are saying this is because they are happy to finally see a love story between two Gay people, it wouldn’t matter what the plot was as long there were Gay men in it. If they really wanted to make a good film between Two Gay people they should have made the plot more interesting, without so many offensive things, so that at least some conservative people could stand to watch it. If the story just wasn’t so ridiculous I—being a Christian—may have even stood to watch it. I fell asleep at least twice, and then just finally gave up and turned it off after 2 hours. Not only was it monotonous, but I was appalled by the amount of raunchy sexual scenes between the two men. Do yourself a favor and don’t waste your money renting “Brokeback Mountain”, trust me on this one.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Stephanie Theobald, age 17
Positive—“Brokeback Mountain” is one of the most important movies I’ve ever seen. A large amount of Christ’s followers reject this movie, calling it an abominable, repulsive, and sinful waste of time without even watching it. While I do agree that the homosexual images in this movie are nothing short of disgusting, the movie itself is essential for a Christian to understand what these people go through. Now let me say this: I have no tolerance for the sin of homosexuality. It’s an abomination that goes completely against God’s design. It’s a product of the enemy’s twisted attempts to drag humanity down from its God-given potential. Now, when you watch “Brokeback Mountain,” you’ll be seeing that in order to help homosexuals break free of their sins, it’s essential that we do what Jesus would do: instead of hating them and pushing them away, showing God’s love to them not by supporting their lifestyle, but by reaching out to them and helping them in their struggles.

In that way, we can teach them about the One who helps us with our problems so they might be enlightened, begin a relationship with God, and eventually leave their sins behind.

Movies today tend to portray homosexuality in a comic tone, with effeminate stereotypes played entirely for laughs. “Brokeback Mountain” doesn’t have that intention whatsoever. Its portrayal of homosexuality is painful and realistic. It demonstrates the destructive nature of this sin and how it ruins the lives of many. It’s a movie so well-made and thought-provoking that I was crying at the end not only in sadness for the sympathetic, ultimately unredeemed characters, but also in repentance that I had feared and hated homosexuals to such an extent in the past.

God doesn’t want us to hate sinners. Have we forgotten that we ourselves are sinners? Have we forgotten that God chose to forgive us despite all we’ve done in the past? That’s something we can never forget. And we can’t ignore the fact that God desires to receive people struggling with homosexuality into his arms and cleanse them of their sins. “Brokeback Mountain” can inspire us to carry out God’s message to homosexuals. It’s an urgent mission and one we shouldn’t dismiss.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Joseph, age 15 (USA)
Neutral—“Brokeback Mountain” is movie that is against the word of our lord. It has a lot of language and a lot of nudity and things that no movie should have. Read the Bible and pray for Jake Gyllenhaal and the ones who are in this movie. Do what the spirit inside you tells you. Stay away from this movie and hope that Heath Ledger came to know the true before he died
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Joshua Sites, age 17 (USA)