The CT Mailbag: Brokeback Mountain

What’s sad is how far short of grace and tact some of these messages fall…

What’s even sadder is how predictable it was that this would happen…

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, LookingCloser.org. His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/jeffreyoverstreethq.

  • Cielle Eden

    Yes! Of course you should review movies like “Brokeback Mountain.” If you don’t, why bother to review any movie at all? Frankly, I am embarrassed by the ignorance of fellow believers in regard to the arts and in regard to the Bible. Has anyone ever read and openly discussed the Old Testament? Nothing in “Brokeback…” even comes close to what was going on during the times of the Judges! Sin isn’t something to stick our heads in the sand about; it shows us how far away from God we truly are and how much we need Christ to form any connection with Him! “Brokeback Mountain” is another example of Ang Lee on a good day. It sumptuously tells a story (written by the distinguished author Annie Proulx) that raises a whole lot of questions that it doesn’t even pretend to answer. The love between Ennis and Jack is portrayed achingly and tragically. Their intense mutual need for community and companionship is undeniable and should be quite familiar to us all. They reached out for one another as the only convenient sources for staving off the hunger in their souls. The physical act of sex between the two men gave a concreteness to the confusion of swirling desires within them. The relationship could have been between a man and a woman, two women or any other combination. How could one not feel compassion for these two? Because we bond with those who meet our needs—however immorally or incompletely or inconsistently the needs are met—we make ourselves vulnerable to any manner of wrong and unhealthy relationships. Infants and children bond with a mother who meets their needs only to have the very same mother drown these children in a bathtub someday. As Christians, I’d like to see us reach out and meet the needs of unbelievers and believers alike, needs they don’t even understand or validate. We say we have The Answer, the One Who Satisfies. But I’m afraid we are so busy putting on blinders, plugging our ears and irresponsibly tossing Scripture (out of context, as usual) from such a distance that reaching out to anybody and actually touching him or her is difficult if not downright impossible. By the way, the review was awesome (though somewhat measured), and I’d have given the film 3.5 stars. Believe it or not, I think it could have used another 15 minutes!
    Blessings,
    Cielle

  • Martin

    I skimmed the page and saw a greater number of positive comments than I expected…

  • CTDelude

    Personally I am heartened by the fact that more responded positively than not. It is so easy to focus on the fact that our faith indeed has some of who look with hate first rather than love (as the mass media is so apt to do) but Christians themselves cannot fail to see that what we believe is represented more by the good then the bad. I notice often times that Christians who take an interest in the arts often have a rather low opinion of their fellow believers and it seems to color their attitudes towards anything Christian overall. It’s a fine line to walk between condemnation and love but it is something we ,who think we “know better,” must balance. Because if we cannot look positively upon our own faith and those who adhere to it how can we expect the rest of society to?

    (None of this is to say you, Jeffrey, think this way but others have taken up a rather negative perspective.)


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