In the Dark

Can’t Get No Satisfaction

Brokeback Mountain
Produced and distributed by Focus Features
Directed by Ang LeeScreenplay by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana from a story by Annie Proulx

An enlightened colleague recently asked me what I thought of director Ang Lee’s film Brokeback Mountain. When I told him I thought it a dreary, sappy soap opera, he smiled pityingly as if he had checkmated me in three moves. “I knew you wouldn’t like it,” he chirped. He, of course, had liked it very much, as any decent, in-step liberal would. Rather than get into a fruitless discussion, I got off the elevator we were sharing a floor earlier than I had intended, thinking, That does it. Brokeback’s off my list of reviewable films. If I say what I think, I’ll be charged with homophobia, the crime that dare not speak its name. Who needs it? Since then, Brokeback has won three Academy Awards and proved itself a veritable American phenomenon. There’s no choice, I decided. It must be addressed.

As I sat down to compose my thoughts, however, I was still hesitant. I have had many homosexual acquaintances and friends, some quite close, over the years. Four have been lost to AIDS, including two cousins, all at piteously young ages. Many of these people were and are highly accomplished individuals, men and women you could and can rely...

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