Customer Review

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary love story, April 21, 2006
This review is from: Brokeback Mountain: Story to Screenplay (Hardcover)
I don't go to many movies anymore, but I did go see "Brokeback Mountain" recently, because it seems to be the pivot around which the culture is turning right now. I wasn't sure I liked it at first. But the story of two cowboys who find their one true love in each other, but can't be together, continues to haunt me.

I decided to read the original story by Annie Proulx, so I got myself a copy of "Brokeback Mountain: Story to Screenplay." This book contains the story as well as the script by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, which won the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay. In accompanying essays, Proulx talks about where the story came from - "The scraps that feed a story come from many cupboards," she says - and how it felt to have it turned into a movie, and the screenwriters offer insights into the process from thought to finish.

I didn't think I'd be able to relate to a story about gay cowboys. What an idiot I was. As Proulx says, it isn't about gay cowboys, "it is a story of destructive rural homophobia." According to McMurtry in a television interview, "It doesn't present any kind of agenda, any politics at all.... It just says life is not for sissies." What I fully related to was their feelings. Their love - and I don't believe that word was ever spoken - was revealed subtly and very powerfully. The emotions the story evokes are universal: passion, frustration, anger, denial, complete joy and agonizing loss. When the two men kept insisting they weren't gay, it confused me. Then I got it - they were confused! We're all confused. Labels are meaningless.

I noticed, while searching for the screenplay, that there are now plenty of movie scripts available in book form. Reading screenplays - especially good ones - is a good way for an aspiring writer to learn the craft and for an aspiring actor to practice. It's also a good way to enjoy a movie from a different perspective. And hearing from the writers themselves is always good.
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