Brokeback Mountain is a 2005 Canadian/American romantic drama film that depicts the complex romantic and sexual relationship between two men in the American West from 1963 to 1983. The film was directed by Taiwanese American director Ang Lee from a screenplay by Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry, which they adapted from the short story "Brokeback Mountain" by Annie Proulx. The film stars Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, and Michelle Williams. Brokeback Mountain won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and was honored with Best Picture and Best Director accolades from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Golden Globe Awards, Producers Guild of America, Critics Choice Awards, and Independent Spirit Awards among many other organizations and festivals. Brokeback Mountain had the most nominations (eight) for the 78th Academy Awards, where it won three: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score. The film was widely considered to be a front runner for the Academy Award for Best Picture, but lost to Crash. At the end of its theatrical run, Brokeback Mountain ranked eighth among the highest-grossing romantic dramas of all time.
Brokeback Mountain is the story of ranch hand Ennis del Mar (Heath Ledger) and rodeo cowboy Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal), two men who fall in love on the fictional Brokeback Mountain in Wyoming in 1963. The film documents their relationship over the next twenty years. Ennis and Jack meet when they are hired by Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid) to herd his sheep through the summer. After a night of heavy drinking, Jack makes a sexual pass at Ennis, who initially rejects, then allows Jack's advances. Although he warns Jack it is a one-time incident, they develop a physical and emotional relationship. Shortly after learning their summer together is being cut short, they briefly fight, during which each is bloodied. After Jack and Ennis part ways, Ennis marries his long-time fiancée Alma Beers (Michelle Williams) and fathers two children. Jack returns the next summer, but Aguirre, who witnessed Jack and Ennis on the mountain, does not hire him. Jack meets, marries and starts a family with rodeo rider Lureen Newsome (Anne Hathaway). After four years, Jack visits Ennis. Upon meeting the two kiss passionately, which Alma accidentally witnesses. Jack broaches the subject of creating a life together on a small ranch, but Ennis, haunted by a childhood memory of the torture and murder of a man suspected of homosexual behaviour, refuses. He is also unwilling to abandon his family. Ennis and Jack continue meeting for infrequent fishing trips. The marriages of both men deteriorate. Alma and Ennis eventually divorce. Ennis sees his family regularly until Alma finally reveals her knowledge of the nature of his relationship with Jack and has a violent argument with Ennis. Lureen has abandoned her rodeo days and become a businesswoman with her father and expects Jack to work in sales. Hearing about Ennis's divorce, Jack drives to Wyoming hoping they can live together, but Ennis refuses to move away from his children. Jack finds solace with male prostitutes in Mexico. Ennis meets and has a brief romantic relationship with a waitress, Cassie Cartwright (Linda Cardellini). Jack and Lureen meet and befriend another couple, Randall and Lashawn Malone. At the end of a fishing trip, Ennis attempts to push back their next meeting. An argument erupts over Jack's frustration at seeing Ennis so infrequently and Ennis blames Jack for being the cause of his own conflicted emotions. Jack attempts to hold him and there is a brief struggle, but they end up locked in an embrace. A flashback of Ennis saying goodbye to Jack during their summer on Brokeback Mountain fades back to Jack watching Ennis drive away. Sometime later, a postcard Ennis sends to Jack is returned stamped "Deceased". In a telephone conversation, Lureen tells Ennis that Jack died when a tire he was changing exploded, while Ennis imagines Jack being beaten to death. Lureen tells Ennis that Jack wanted to have his ashes scattered on Brokeback Mountain, but she does not know where it is. Ennis travels to see Jack's mother and father (Roberta Maxwell and Peter McRobbie), where he offers to take Jack's ashes - but the father refuses, preferring to enter the ashes in a family plot. In Jack's childhood bedroom, Ennis finds the bloodstained shirt he thought he lost on Brokeback Mountain, realizing that Jack kept it hanging with the bloodstained shirt Jack himself wore during that fight. Ennis holds them up to his face, breathing in their scent and silently weeping. Jack's mother allows him to keep the shirts. Later, 19-year-old Alma Jr. (Kate Mara) arrives at her father's trailer with the news that she is engaged. She asks Ennis for his blessing and invites him to the wedding. Ennis asks her if her fiancé really loves her, and she says "yes". After Alma's departure, Ennis goes to his closet. Hanging on a nail pounded into the door are the shirts, with a postcard of Brokeback Mountain tacked above. Now Jack's shirt is tucked inside of Ennis's. Ennis fastens the top button of Jack's shirt, and with tears in his eyes mutters, "Jack, I swear..." while straightening the postcard, before closing the door and walking away.