Brokeback

I wrote this in 2005 about ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and it strikes me how applicable it is to ‘Weekend’ in 2011. These days I’d have far more to say about how gay people themselves create their own tensions and difficulties in allowing relationship happiness in a ‘traditional’ sense:

I’ve been amazed by the depth of reaction that many gay men I know have had to ‘Brokeback Mountain’. One advanced the opinion that it was because he felt ‘represented’ for the first time. Perhaps, and the obvious thing of everyone aspiring to an all-consuming love that rages through the years. However I think an important part of it is the whole ‘outsider’ thing that is so poignantly portrayed. If these men were happily heterosexual then their paths would be quite clearly marked out for them, as indeed we see from their conforming to expectations and getting married with children. As it is, they find that their world has no way of accommodating who they really are and what they really want. Beating a path for a gay relationship is messy and difficult, and involves dealing with a lot of your own issues in the process. You have to balance up what is expected of ‘a relationship’ with the very real differences that homosexuality can bring to interpersonal dynamics and the possibilities within said relationship. You also have to balance your own expectations against that of your partner, something that is surely far less of a problem in heterosexual couplings?? I don’t imagine it’s very common that one half of a heterosexual couple wants monogamy while the other wants quite open relations with other people, for example. I suppose the new civil partnerships could be the first step in formalising a set path for gay relationships, but against an identity that is still largely defined by sex it feels like a stone thrown against a tidal wave. In ‘Brokeback Mountain’ we see two men torn apart (and tearing themselves apart) not only due to prejudice but also due to these internal confusions and lack of any sense of how to proceed, and I think that can stike a powerful chord.

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