Welcome to Queerty’s latest entry in our Queerantined: Daily Dose series. Every day as long as the COVID-19 pandemic has us under quarantine, we’ll release a suggested bit of gloriously queer entertainment designed to keep you from getting stir crazy in the house. Each weekend, we will also suggest a bingable title to keep you extra busy.
The Seminal: Brokeback Mountain.
Straight actors get a lot of flack these days–somewhat deservedly–for playing gay characters as a sort of “awards bait.” That was not true back in 2005 when teen heartthrobs Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal opted to star in Brokeback Mountain for director Ang Lee. The story revolved around two ranch hands that have a love affair over a 20 year period. For two major stars to star in a gay-themed project at a time when George W. Bush had called for a constitutional amendment to prevent marriage equality, and when homophobic humor like that of Dane Cook and Todd Phillips packed audiences into cinemas, was a bold risk indeed.
The resulting film is a classic of queer cinema, even if it was directed by and stars two straight men. The reason: Brokeback Mountain doesn’t dwell on the sex between its two lead characters, though it doesn’t shy from it either. The movie focuses instead on the nature of enduring love, and the shame of homophobia that prevents two men from living and loving openly together. It’s no coincidence that Brokeback appeared at the time the fight for marriage equality had just begun, or that the film would help take LGBTQ stories to the mainstream. 15 years later, it remains a seminal film, featuring a director and a pair of actors at the height of their craft.
We just can’t quit.