Review Date: December 19, 2005
Director: Ang Lee
Writer: Larry McMurtry, Diana Ossana
Producers: Dianna Ossana, James Shamus
Heath Ledger as Ennis
Jake Gyllenhaal as Jack
Anne Hathaway as Lureen
In fact, as cowboys, I found myself connecting and interested in their lives as they drank like fish, smoked like Marlboro Men, fought like drunk smokers and ranched like the cowmen ranchers that they were! I’m a wuss when it comes to the outdoors, but I’ve always respected the lives of real cowboys, and along with the gorgeous settings in this film (go Canada!), its essence was idyllically presented by Lee. But other than its runtime and the fact that Ledger mumbled a little too much for my taste (dude, I didn’t understand the film’s last line!!), I also didn’t connect entirely to the love story, despite it being reproduced so well, with a touch of emotion near the end, but mostly a distance – like I was watching the whole thing as a documentary. That said, I don’t think too many people watching this film can honestly say that they weren’t hanging by the edge of their seats waiting for these two great looking actors to jump all over each other and make out like the gay cowboys that they are in this movie…I know I was! (and make out they do…and do…and do). I think some of the “distance” that I felt had to do with the whole point of the film, which was a certain brand of incomplete love, but personally, I need to feel for characters like this – in fact, I want to get into their skin and cry like the man-child that I am, when the shit goes down. With this film, I felt a little tender here and there, but nothing truly grappled me by the heartstrings.
That’s not to take anything away from either actor, who both present fine performances here, particularly Ledger who (despite the mumbling) really builds a rock-of-a-man character who apparently can’t commit to anything or anyone, whether man, woman or anything else – typical man, right? The film also offers a handful of memorable scenes including one featuring Gyllenhaal, his awesome 80s mustache and a Thanksgiving dinner. A wonderfully presented awkward family moment. Ultimately, I enjoyed much of what the film had to offer as it was pretty to look at, presented a couple of solid characters with interesting lives over a period of two decades and I definitely appreciated the “twist” on the more typical western romance. Oh, and if you’re homophobic (or you just don’t want to admit that you’re gay just yet), stay tuned past the film’s man-on-man action as the two lovely actresses in the movie, Anne Hathaway and Ledger’s real-life love Michelle Williams, also present us with their nakedness. That’s right…the film has a little bit for everybody!