Many Christian filmgoers will condemn Brokeback Mountain because they will assume that it is evil due to its subject matter. That’s the worst kind of reaction to it. It leads us to become reactionary and judgmental, and it prevents us from learning to be patient, to look closely, to discern.
What I like about Steven D. Greydanus’s review at Decent Films is that, even though he gives Brokeback Mountain a failing grade, at least he did the work of thinking through it and seeing it for what it is, acknowledging what is well done and what is faulty, rather than merely judging it and ignoring it.
This is a powerfully written review, and I recommend you read it.
I also recommend that the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops read it and compare it to their own official review. Who’s really doing the necessary work of discernment and service here?Here’s a clip:
Brokeback Mountain is a work of art, more concerned with telling a story about characters than with making sure that the viewer feels a certain way about a moral issue.
That’s not to say that Brokeback Mountain doesn’t have a point of view. It does have a point of view — a profoundly problematic one, one that makes it potentially far more insidious than mere propaganda. All the same, it doesn’t commit the artistic fraud of shaping every single element in its story to move the viewer’s sympathies in one and only one direction. That sort of one-sidedness is increasingly the single thing that I find most quickly sabotages a film’s persuasiveness; nothing else so glaringly announces that the filmmaker himself hasn’t really put his own point of view to the test, and doesn’t trust the audience to see things his way unless he stacks the deck in his own favor.