#91. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Directed by: Ang Lee
Written by: Larry McMurtry, Diana Ossana (based on Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx)
Starring: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams
2005 was a landmark year in Hollywood for the LGBT community – featuring at least three critically acclaimed and financially successful films exploring themes of homosexuality and transgenderism in Capote, Transamerica, and Brokeback Mountain. Ang Lee’s massively successful film starring the late Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as two young cowboys who become engaged in a complicated and controversial love affair. Brokeback Mountain broke both hearts and barriers in 2005, drumming up nearly universal critical acclaim, earning over $170 million at the box office, and racking up eight Academy Award nominations in the process. While it was certainly controversial for a notable Hollywood film to explore homosexuality so bluntly, Ang Lee and writers Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana did so with the utmost sincerity and respect for the subject matter. The film features incredible performances from relatively fresh actors Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal – both of whom manage to convey the story’s emotional weight and importance without skipping a beat. Supporting the performances of the leading men are terrific turns from Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway, who never once let their male counterparts outperform them without a heck of a fight. Brokeback Mountain is a truly important, beautiful, and heartbreaking film, and one that I think deserves a hell of a lot more respect than it has received since its initial release.