Photo: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry

Photo: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry
Brokeback Mountain

Even before I came out as gay in my junior year of high school, I was scrounging every available platform to watch gay-themed films. Though I didn’t watch many gay movies prior to coming out, I do remember watching both Shelter and Geography Club on YouTube. Neither of those films are favorites of mine, but they’re perfectly acceptable, if undemanding, movies.

In either my junior or senior year of high school (probably junior year, pre-relationship), my dad bought me a copy of Brokeback Mountain on Blu-Ray. I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure I cried when it ended.

Roughly three years passed, and then this weekend I watched Brokeback for the second time. It’s a film that means a lot to me for not only its artistry (which is reason enough), but also because it’s one of the only LGTBQ films I’ve been able to watch with my mother and not have the viewing end in an argument.

Though this viewing of Brokeback was less than desirable, I still found myself more captivated by the film than the first time around. I’d forgotten how beautifully photographed  it is. I was drawn into Heath Ledger’s restrained, mumblecore performance.

Brokeback is an interesting film and one I don’t think most of my peers give enough credit. It’s funny that almost everyone I’ve ever had a discussion with about LGBTQ representation in mainstream media, when asked if they’ve seen Brokeback, the answer is always a resounding “no.”

Unfortunately, Brokeback seems to have a stigma associated with it. A stigma of being the “gay cowboy movie” or sort of “that gay movie.” It’s a heartbreaking reality that such a fantastic film gets overlooked for whatever reason. Sure it’s not a happy watch, but it’s undeniably worth the over  two-hour runtime.

Brokeback is groundbreaking for being one of the first LGBTQ films to be a major Oscar contender (even winning three statues). It also has (perhaps accidently) set the template for other awards-contending LGBTQ films. It’s the golden standard by which all other LGBTQ films are judged. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

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