As Rick mentioned, there is indeed a short story
by Annie Proulx (pronounced "prue") that the film was
based on. I read the story several months ago, before
the film was released. Though Proulx's novel THE
SHIPPING NEWS is quite interesting, I have never been
a fan of her short stories, which tend toward the
bizarre (especially her collection CLOSE RANGE).
Though director Ang Lee doesn't seem to notice,
the film's screenplay has significant differences from
the short story, which to me are vast improvements to
the power of the story. One change is the tone toward
the men's sexuality and how much is presented in the
narrative itself. In the short story, the compounding
of sexual details turns the relationship into an
animalistic one. Another significant change is the
ending, which to me casts a wonderfully complicating
light on the entire story.
I value it as a film because it shows the limited
satisfaction that can/will meet our desires in this
life. I had a hard time seeing it as a love story in
either the short story or the film, since each man was
used and became merely an object that the other
exploited in his attempt to pursue a love he sensed
and felt in himself. The ending was fairly devastating
even while it was inevitable.
Not unexpectedly, when I saw this in the theatre,
though the room was technically half-full, people had
spread themselves as far apart from each other as
possible, and no one spoke to each other when the film
had ended. Quite an interesting reaction.
--- Kate Troy <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> So, he said how about a movie and I said okay and he
> said, Goodnight and
> Good luck? And I said, Brokeback Mountain. He
> raised his eyes and then left
> for the video store. I called him five minutes
> later. It only takes a couple
> of minutes to get there. He was already there. I
> said, I believe that you
> would be embarrassed to check Brokeback Mountain
> out. He laughed, said he'd
> see me in a minute. He walked in the store, said
> to me, I saw that there was
> this new Kevin Costner comedy at the store. I
> raised my eyes. You are
> kidding, I said, very irritated. He handed me the
> DVD. It said: Brokeback
> It was an amazing movie.
> Is there a novel? Was it based on a book or a
> screenplay? Does anybody
> My husband was equally impressed with it.
> I fear that the first 15-20 minutes may be difficult
> for some heterosexual
> men to get through, but I think that if they could
> get through the first part
> of the move, then even the most conservative and
> biased men would gain in
> understanding and compassion.
> Brokeback Mountain is, in fact, a beautiful and
> compelling love story.
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