Brokeback Mountain

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Brokeback Mountain Movie Poster Image
Mature, intense film about a forbidden gay relationship.
  • R
  • 2005
  • 134 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 24 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 25 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Characters struggle with homophobia (internalized and directed at them).

Violence

Sexual tension and homophobia lead to fights; a father describes for his son a terrible murder of a gay man; a scene near the end shows a character's beating death at the hands of brutal homophobes.

Sex

Gay cowboys' first encounter is rough and surprising to both; later trysts are more poetic, and mostly offscreen.

Language

Cowboy talk, including slang (derogatory for "homosexual", genitals, and sex acts) and cursing (f-word).

Consumerism

Tobacco and canned foods show labels.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking, cigarette rolling and smoking; a brief scene where characters smoke a joint.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a mature, emotionally complicated film that isn't appropriate for kids. The movie is focused on a lifelong relationship between two male cowboys. Their meeting and discovery of mutual desire at film's start is pictured in a rough-seeming sex scene (with fairly explicit activity); from then on, their physical relationship is less overt. They argue, wrestle, and occasionally come to sexual-tension-filled blows. Characters curse (including use of "f--k" and homophobic slang), smoke, and drink hard liquor in a "manly" manner. Married couples also argue, as wives come to resent their husbands' "other" interests.

User Reviews

Adult Written bydepewcampbell November 9, 2010

Kids who understand sex and homosexuality.

This movie isn't as vulgar as it is made out to be. It's not full of gay sex, not even conversations of gay sex. There is only one sex scene between t... Continue reading
Adult Written bynjcronk April 9, 2008

Teaches kids to care - better than violent crap

I would take my kids, ages 10-17, to see Brokeback Mountain in a heartbeat. It would teach them to be compassionate human beings, just like God wants them to b... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bysmellyleaf October 11, 2009

Fine for Teenagers

If your child WANTS to see Brokeback Mountain, they are probably old enough to see it. It's not like some movies; they don't want to see it because of... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byscreenname911 April 5, 2011

good for mature teens

i love this movie so much! i watched it when i was about 11 or 12 and i didn't fully understand it. i watched it just now at the age of 13 and i understood... Continue reading

What's the story?

When cowboys Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) meet during a month of sheep ranching in Wyoming, they share lust, passion, and genuine affection -- though in 1963, they can't imagine their feelings defining themselves. Their silence lasts for years: Each goes home, Ennis marries his girlfriend Alma (Michelle Williams), Jack longs for Ennis. They agree to meet again and then feel unable to stop. They can't articulate their feelings, only marvel at their own passion and tell their families they have gone "fishing." Alma discovers the truth (which she keeps to herself); horrified and angry, she silently watches him leave every few months and return with no fish. The men can't acknowledge their relationship as a choice and a commitment, only as a "thing."

Is it any good?

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN is a thoughtful, lyrical, eventually frustrating examination of two men's romance over many years. Though Ennis and Jack never call themselves "gay" or "queer," they do love each other and share a sexual relationship. The film is as much about silence and repression as it is about passion. It's Alma's silence that makes the film feel so serious. Her pain is neither exquisite nor elegiac. It's only hard. As soon as she sees the men embrace, Alma becomes the tragic bearer of knowledge.

Ennis' lack of language, initially clench-jawed mumbling, is eventually subtler, especially in his relationship with his daughter, Alma Jr. (at 19, played by Kate Mara). She observes her father closely and does her best to keep him from taking up -- after his divorce from her mom -- with a perky barmaid. "You don't say much," notes the girlfriend as the two sit together at a table, watching Ennis lean over jukebox. "But you get your point across." Brokeback Mountain gets its point across, too: The men are anguished. They act on their pain in different ways, and the big wide Wyoming landscape -- so mighty, so simple, so overwhelming -- reflects their efforts to be together, to stay apart, to resist expectations and to succumb to them.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film's treatment of Jack and Ennis' relationship. How do their lying and betrayal affect their wives and children? Also, families can talk about whether or not it was "brave" for Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger to take their roles.

Movie details

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