... Brokeback Mountain, about which my friend and colleague Jeff Weinstein wrote a deeply moving column. My wife and I thought the film was pretty good, but not worth a four-star rating. I thought the actors were far better than the material they had to work with. Heath Ledger's performance in particular is an extraordinary demonstration of the actor's art.
That said, the film struck both Debbie and me as maybe too long and definitely too slow. I've argues for years that short stories and novellas make the best films, but this one mounted a powerful rebuttal.
I think the problem may lie with the Annie Proulx story. I've never been able to get into Proulx's stuff myself, and this tale seemed contrived. Take away the gay dimension and you have the same problem you have with a lot of illicit romance tales: It's easy to stay in love with someone you see only from time to time and under favorable circumstances. Things are a good deal different when you share a life with someone day in and day out. Then, if it works out, you come to love the other person, not in spite of their foibles, but actually because of them (as well as for a good many other reasons).
The film has some great moments, notably when Jack tells off his overbearing father-in-law and the wonderful scene toward the end between Ennis and his daughter. But I thought having Jack looking surreptiously at Ennis in the rearview mirror of his pickup right at the beginning was one of the more ham-handed telegraphings I've seen. And I thought that in real live these guys would have been more circumspect when Jack comes for his first visit to the married Ennis.
Sunday Bloody Sunday remains for me the best film yet about gay love.