Oscar-winning director Ang Lee's film has widely been praised as a love story. It is that, but the film could just as readily be called a hate story. This acclaimed film follows the twenty-year love story of two cowboys, detailing the struggles each has with his forbidden passion and the terrible consequences of crossing the line drawn by a fearful society. The film is highly controversial because of its homosexual theme and its refusal to condemn such relationships. The R-rated language also might be a problem for some.
Two rugged young men are thrown together herding sheep high up in the meadows of Wyoming's Brokeback Mountain. There they discover a love, or maybe more accurately a passion, for each other that will change their lives forever--and not only their lives but those of their families as well. Regarded by some critics as a groundbreaking film because of the positive way in which it tackles the subject of homosexuality, the film offers a good opportunity for Christians to discuss how they might deal with this issue, which so deeply divides Christians. And this is where the hate story intrudes. Homophobic society is the fifth major character, after the two men and their wives.
This study examines three clips from the film and discuss some of the ethical and theological issues they raise. Does this film promote or glamorize homosexuality, as some have claimed, or is the agenda of the film's makers something else? How can Christians deal with this issue without being overly negative or judgmental? Is our society more similar to the Old Testament or the New? Brokeback Mountain becomes a symbol of longing and acceptance for Ennis and Jack--how does this bear at least a faint resemblance to Martin Luther King Jr.'s concept popularized in his sermons, "the beloved community"? The film ought to challenge both those who are pro-gay and those who are anti-gay.