When it was released in 2005, Brokeback Mountain was one of the most talked-about films of the year. More than a decade later, Ang Lee’s epic romance drama is viewing as a stunning achievement and a ground-breaking film in mainstream Hollywood.
The film stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as two men who fall in love while working as sheepherders in the 1960s. The movie is a beautiful and moving story about a love that is deemed unacceptable in their society. It makes for an unforgettable movie to experience. Here are some of the best quotes from Brokeback Mountain.
A Private Matter
Jack: “It’s Nobody’s Business But Ours.”
When Ennis and Jake first have sex with each other, Ennis is filled with worry about what others will think and the need to keep it a secret. Jack reassures him that no one will find out but also insists that it is just their business.
This hints at the tragic divide between these two men. Ennis continues to live in fear of society while Jack keeps encouraging them to live together and be happy. He feels that other people have no right to decide on their own business. But it turns out not to be so easy.
A Shared Connection
Jack: “Friend, That’s More Words Than You’ve Spoken In The Past Two Weeks.”
Before their romantic relationship begins, Ennis and Jack share a chemistry while they are alone on the mountain getting to know each other. These early scenes are very charming, and it is especially interesting to see the reserved character of Ennis open up to his new friend.
As the two share a quiet moment together, Ennis becomes more vulnerable than usual Jack jokes that he spoke more words in that sentence than their entire time together. With Ennis’s guard down, it is easy to see how things progress.
Out Of Their Hands
Ennis: “For As Long As We Can Ride It. There Ain’t No Reins On This One.”
As their relationship goes through the years with occasional meet-ups, the difference in how Ennis and Jack view things develops into a greater divide. Jack is under the impression that they will eventually be able to simply be together, but it becomes clear that Ennis never sees that as a possibility.
During an intense confrontation, the true pain of Ennis’s character is shown as he simply feels that they have no control over where this relationship goes. They can continue sharing moments with each other for as long as they can, but it will not last.
Jack: “There Ain’t Never Enough Time.”
For Ennis, stealing these moments with Jack is what keeps him going and offers a brief bit of happiness in his life. But as time goes on, all Jack can focus on is the time they are losing together.
He laments that these fishing trips are not enough and there is never enough time for them to be together. It is a heartbreaking sentiment made worse by the fact that it is also the last time they will see each other. Jake Gyllenhaal’s excellent performance sells this moment even more.
All That Remains
Jack: “But What We Got Now Is Brokeback Mountain. It’s All Built On That.”
The time Ennis and Jack had together ignited their relationship, but it also ends up being the happiest they would ever be together. When they are older men, Jack confronts Ennis on the fact that they could have had a life together, but all that they have now is trying to recapture that first summer together.
It adds to the tragedy of the romance that they found happiness so early and it then evaded them the rest of their time together. They were able to be themselves on that mountain, but then returning to the real world robbed them of that freedom.
Aguirre: “You Boys Sure Found A Way To Make The Time Pass Up There.”
The two men at the center of the story, Ennis Del Mar (Ledger) and Jack Twist (Gyllenhaal), fall in love while working together on the titular mountain. While it seems like a secluded paradise for them, they are unaware that their boss, Aguirre (Randy Quaid) was keeping an eye on them.
When Jack returns to Aguirre the next year, looking for work, Aguirre not-so-subtly hints that he knows what was happening between those men and that he does not approve. It’s a reminder that no matter how secret they think their relationship is, prying eyes are always out there.
A Memorable Greeting
Ennis: “Jack F ** king Twist.”
“Jack f ** king Twist,” is a repeated line throughout the film that Ennis says to his companion. It’s a simple quote, but each time Ennis says it in a new context, it’s a reminder of how their relationship grows deeper.
In one instance, it is said as a greeting, in one instance it is said in amazement, and it is said in anger in another instance. It spans the years of their relationship together and shows how much they go through together despite having to keep their distance.
Jack: “Brokeback Got Us Good, Don’t It?”
A few years after they first met, Jack takes a trip to visit Ennis and they fall back into each other’s arms immediately. Although Ennis is married, he cannot fight his feelings for Jack, and they find themselves spending the night together at a motel.
As they reflect on being back together after so long, Jack says, “Brokeback got us good,” referring to where they first met. For decades that follow, they continue to chase that time they had together on Brokeback Mountain when it was just them.
A Potential Future
Jack: “Ya Know It Could Be Like This, Just Like This, Always.”
When reuniting and seeing how good it feels to be back together, Ennis sees it as a happy return to something he missed a great deal. However, Jack sees it as an opportunity for them to have a happy future just like this.
He tells Ennis that this feeling does not need to be fleeting and they could build a life together. It could be naïve on his part, or it could be that he is willing to make an attempt at happiness despite what others might think.
A Dangerous Secret
Ennis: “This Thing, It Grabs Hold Of Us Again At The Wrong Place, At The Wrong Time, And We’re Dead.”
For Ennis, a threatening cloud hangs over his entire relationship with Jack. And it all comes from a memory he had as a young boy. His father showed him and his brothers the body of a man who was tortured and killed for being homosexual.
That memory still affects Ennis and he knows it is too dangerous for them to make any attempt at being together. Despite his deep, painful love for Jack, he lives in fear of ever getting too close.
The Pain Of Being Apart
Jack: “Sometimes I Miss You So Much I Can Hardly Stand It.”
As the two men get older, their visits to see each other get less frequent, but their longing for each other never diminishes. While Ennis continues to bury his feelings as deeply as he can, Jack becomes more desperate for them to be together.
As older men, they meet for their usual camping trip and talk about their lives. Then Jack makes a personal and heartbreaking admission about how badly he misses Ennis. He can no longer bottle it up and stand the pain.
Living With The Pain
Ennis: “If You Can’t Fix It, Jack, You Gotta Stand It.”
Heath Ledger gives such an amazing performance in the film with so much of it being internalized. Ennis denies himself happiness because he’s afraid of what might happen if he follows his heart. In that way, he is the complete opposite of Jack.
Every time Jack talks about them having a life together or how painful it is to be apart, Ennis just reaffirms that they have to make the best of the situation and live with it. This becomes more and more heartbreaking as we see what these two are denying themselves.
Alma Knows The Truth
Alma: “You Didn’t Go Up There To Fish.”
Michelle Williams is another powerful member of the cast, playing Alma, Ennis’ wife. They have their own marital struggles, but things are made worse when Alma sees Ennis and Jack kissing when they reunite.
Like Ennis, Alma buries Ennis’s shocking infidelity deep down inside herself. But when the two are divorced, Alma finally reveals that she knows his fishing trips were a lie. It is Alma finally voicing her anger, but it is also a moment of confirming Ennis’ fears of people finding out.
A Final Promise
Ennis: “Jack, I Swear.”
At the end of the film, Ennis learns of Jack’s death and visits his parents. In Jack’s bedroom, he finds his shirt Jack kept all these years. Now living alone, Ennis hangs up the short with a photograph of Brokeback Mountain. With tears in his eyes, he says “Jack, I swear.”
It is an unspoken promise, but the audience can understand what he means. Ennis promises to do what Jack had been telling him to do for years, and try to be happy. It is also a reassurance that, though he could not show it, he loved Jack all these years.
An Inescapable Love
Jack: “I Wish I New How To Quit You.”
This is a line that has become iconic in film history and is well-known by people who have not even seen the movie. It has been repeated and parodied many times, but in the film itself, it is a gut-wrenching moment between these two men.
During their last trip together, Ennis and Jack fight over what they have lost throughout these years and how painful it has been. As Jack says this line, it is a moment of realization that things would be easier if only they did not love each other so much.
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