[Lee's] tortured secret is the tragedy and the ecstasy of this powerful and moving film, a smart study of relationships that could but can’t and never will be.
— Damon Wise, Empire
Set against the sweeping vistas of Wyoming and Texas, the film tells the story of two young men – a ranch-hand and a rodeo cowboy – who meet in the summer of 1963 and unexpectedly forge a lifelong connection, one whose complications, joys, and tragedies provide a testament to the endurance and power of love.
Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) meet while lining up for employment with local rancher Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid). Both young men seem certain of their set places in the heartland and yet hunger for something beyond what they can articulate. When Aguirre dispatches them to work as sheepherders up on the majestic Brokeback Mountain, they gravitate towards camaraderie and then a deeper intimacy.
At summer’s end, the two must come down from Brokeback and part ways. In the years that follow, Ennis and Jack struggle to keep their secret bond alive.
Directed by Ang Lee.