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BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN => Scene-by-Scene => Topic started by: Melisande on January 07, 2006, 10:34:53 AM

Title: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Melisande on January 07, 2006, 10:34:53 AM
You can talk about Ennis' visit to Lightning Flat here in detail.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on January 08, 2006, 10:16:38 PM
This is the most beautifully acted scene, for the ensemble, in the film.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: peteinportland on January 09, 2006, 08:09:10 AM
IMO, the three scenes including the last scene with Jack/Ennis, the phone call scene, and this scene are the dramatic heart of this film. A devastating 20 minutes in film making and the best 20 minutes in the movies I have ever seen. And yes, IMO, the movie has a dramatic culmination in the scenes at Jack's parents.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: jack on January 09, 2006, 06:45:37 PM
IMHO, this is not a single, self-contained scene, it is a series of vignettes, for lack of a better term.  it is easily broken into 3 parts, at the kitchen table, up in jack's room, and leaving with the shirts.  however, the way my mind saw it, peculiarly, was almost a sentence or a gesture at a time.  i could have studied just about any series of frames and found technique, meaning and feeling. 

the three actors were each specatular at there job, and the house itself became a 4th member of the ensemble.  i was particularly taken by roberta maxwell, who shone without stealing the scene, and her interaction with heath ledger. 

watching heath ledger, in this scene alone proves that he did not just coast on jake gyllenhaal's emotional fields, but is posessed of enornous acting gifts that haven't even begun to be tapped.  just watching the tight shots of his face as john twist twists the knife in nhis guts is a movie in itself.

spectaclar, but hardly a "scene".   
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: canmark on January 09, 2006, 08:34:40 PM
I believe the term "sequence" is often used to describe a series of scenes that make up a whole--like sentances make up a paragraph. Jack's parent's house would be a sequence of three scenes (a scene changes when you change time or location): kitchen, Jack's bedroom, kitchen (I suppose technically there is the arrival outside the house, the stairway landing, and leaving, but we'll ignore that for now).
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: waynerman on January 09, 2006, 08:51:24 PM
Sequence, scene, or whatever you want to call it, this is the part of the movie that tore my heart out. To see Jack's mother's face, as she comes to understand who Ennis is, and why Jack was important to him...to see her understanding and compassion...

I would have given anything to see that understanding and compassion on my mother's face. It's too late now. She died eight years ago...without ever knowing (or did she?) that I was gay.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Pug on January 09, 2006, 10:32:16 PM
I keep playing the scene at Jack's parent's house over in my mind as I listen to track 15 on the CD. If memory serves me, the music takes that melancholy down turn as Ennis finds Jack's denim jacket. I listen to it often on the way to and from work and my eyes just swell up!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Nado on January 10, 2006, 09:25:44 AM
One of the questions that lingered for me after reading Proulx's book 100x over the last couple of years was, "Did Jack's parents know?"

It took 2 or 3 viewings of the BBM film to be able to answer, yes and with confidence:

1. When Ennis reenters the kitchen with the shirts, the father turns. Instead of fixing his gaze on Ennis, he blankly stares at the bloodstained shirts and follows them as Ennis walks across the room. He knew of the shirts existence the entire time. And instead of demanding that the shirts be returned, he doesn't say a word until the end of the scene.

2. When the mother turns to look at Ennis, she immediately sees the shirts and instinctively knows that they have found its rightful owner. It becomes clear that she knows this when she mercifully turns to get the paper bag for Ennis. The father continues to be silent.

3. Finally, it became clear to me that both parents had discussed, in depth, Jack's tragic fate, his sexuality, the shirts and even Ennis del Mar. I really believe that they accepted and validated Jack's sexuality. They may have even recognized the love Jack had for Ennis. The parents were obviously heartbroken and in pain throughout Ennis's visit, Jack's room was kept the way it was, the shirts were preserved, etc.

It led me to wonder what conversations did Jack have with his parents when he made stops at Lightning Flat. Did the parents encourage Jack to quit Ennis for they somehow knew that Ennis wasn't going to come help whip the ranch back into shape. They also seemed to accept that Jack had found a replacement to Ennis when he brought the rancher up from Texas.

Perhaps this is why the ashes weren't given to Ennis? Perhaps they felt he wasn't deserving? Perhaps they were angry with Ennis for making Jack unhappy? Perhaps they blamed Ennis for Jack's fate?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Scott88 on January 10, 2006, 09:47:08 AM
I think it's problematic to lump Jack's mother and father together when you ask the "they" questions, because they are polar opposites when it comes to the issue of Jack's sexuality and Jack & Ennis's relationship.

Jack's mother is a kind, compassionate woman who accepted her son's sexuality and paid Ennis the respect afforded a grieving spouse because she appreciated that her son had been loved.

In contrast, Jack's father was a hateful man whose disdain for his son's sexuality and his relationship with Ennis was abundantly clear.

It was equally clear, to me, that the refusal to give Jack's ashes to Ennis was a unilateral decision made by Jack's father.  Jack's mother is clearly regretful and uncomfortable with the decision; she nervously massages her neck when Jack's father announces the decision. 

In my view, Jack's mother has nothing but the utmost reverence for what Ennis and Jack shared, and she's genuinely grateful for the obvious love Ennis had showered upon Jack (the Roberta Maxwell interview is excellent on this point).  If it had been in her hands, she would have gladly given him the ashes so that Ennis could have spread them on the one place that had given their lives meaning. 

As a last note, I'm highly doubtful Jack's parents ever verbally discussed these issues.  But I agree there was an unspoken understanding of the situation, though, as I mentioned before, Jack's parents responded in radically different ways.  One with compassion and love, the other with ignorance and hatred.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Nado on January 10, 2006, 10:37:45 AM
Interesting response.

Will have to think about this one. I'm not quite sure if the father's behavior was acted out of hatred or disdain. It could have instead been anger that was directed at Ennis for not having been able to make Jack the happy man he wanted to be.

The mother also seemed to be somewhat in control of the situation. The mother was the first one out the door upon Ennis's arrival. She also didn't look over to the father to seek consent to having the shirts leave with Ennis. She just went right for the paper bag. The mother knew where Brokeback Mountain was - if it was what she wanted, I think she could have easily gotten her way and brought the ashes to the mountain.

Nevertheless, regardless of whatever pain or unhappiness Jack experienced, it was his wish that his ashes be brought to Brokeback. No one, and not even a loving parent, should be denying that wish.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Scott88 on January 10, 2006, 10:57:19 AM
Quote
Will have to think about this one. I'm not quite sure if the father's behavior was acted out of hatred or disdain. It could have instead been anger that was directed at Ennis for not having been able to make Jack the happy man he wanted to be.

Your mileage may vary, of course, but I thought the actor who played the father very vividly conveyed the disdain and disgust he felt for his son (which, of course, included his sexuality).  "But like most of Jack's talk, none of it came to pass" -- this is not a man angry about Ennis not making Jack happy.  This is a man who had absolutely no affection or respect for his son.

And this is further evidenced by the bitter way Jack spoke of his father (never being able to please him, never teaching him how to rodeo, etc.).

Quote
The mother also seemed to be somewhat in control of the situation. The mother was the first one out the door upon Ennis's arrival. She also didn't look over to the father to seek consent to having the shirts leave with Ennis. She just went right for the paper bag. The mother knew where Brokeback Mountain was - if it was what she wanted, I think she could have easily gotten her way and brought the ashes to the mountain.

Oh, I'd disagree that Jack's mother had control over the decision about the ashes.  Yes, she snuck the shirts away (out of Jack's father's view), but that was an exceptional action taken by a woman who clearly lived in fear of (and in submission to) her husband.  Just look at her expression when Jack's father contempuously says they will be putting Jack's ashes in the family plot -- she's ashamed and very clearly heartbroken that her son's wishes won't be realized.  I'm certain she desired otherwise, but could not object to Jack's father out of her own fear of him.

But, yeah, the bottom line is the tragedy that Jack's wishes were ultimately not carried out.  Even beyond the grave, things didn't go his way.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: scot5636 on January 10, 2006, 11:55:13 AM
I completely agree with Scott on this scene.  It's exactly how I interpreted it.  Jack's father is a mean, nasty SOB, who takes out his anger, frustrations and disappointments on anyone within reach.  On that remote farm, that would have been Jack (before he left) and Jack's mother.  Jack's mother walks on eggshells all the time, trying not to provoke her husband.  She's timid and fearful.  That's why her compassionate and tender treatment of Ennis is so heart-wrenching, because we know she is taking some risk by doing it.

And the meanness of Jack's father gets its fullest expression when he spits out (quite literally in that scene) that Jack had started talking about someone else to move up to the ranch with him.  He knows exactly who Ennis is, how much Jack meant to him, and how much pain he's in.  He throws that out because he knows it will hurt, and hurt badly.

I'm sure this has probably been raised somewhere else (and maybe it's even in the book -- I haven't seen it [getting a copy today]), but Jack was clearly run off by his father.  In the bar, after he and Ennis have just come from Agguire's (sp?) office, that's one of the first questions Jack asks Ennis -- did his parents run him off?  The way that line is delivered -- in such a matter-of-fact way -- it's clear that Jack assumes that's what happened.  And that assumption stems from his own experience.


But, yeah, the bottom line is the tragedy that Jack's wishes were ultimately not carried out.  Even beyond the grave, things didn't go his way.

I'm not sure I agree with this.  That specific wish might not have happened but, if you're Jack, with respect to that wish I think you might be pretty content with the idea that Ennis has taken those shirts that represent that treasured, perfect moment when they fell in love.  Brokeback Mountain was the idyllic setting, but the prize was Ennis.  And now, Ennis quite literally has a part of jack with him -- the blood in the shirt that has never been washed out.  The symbolism of blood in matters of the heart doesn't really need explanation.   To me, the tragedy of this specific piece of the story is that they were together after Jack's death in a manner that they were never capable of while he was alive. 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Nado on January 10, 2006, 12:02:09 PM
I'm not sure I agree with this.  That specific wish might not have happened but, if you're Jack, with respect to that wish I think you might be pretty content with the idea that Ennis has taken those shirts that represent that treasured, perfect moment when they fell in love.  Brokeback Mountain was the idyllic setting, but the prize was Ennis.  And now, Ennis quite literally has a part of jack with him -- the blood in the shirt that has never been washed out.  The symbolism of blood in matters of the heart doesn't really need explanation.   To me, the tragedy of this specific piece of the story is that they were together after Jack's death in a manner that they were never capable of while he was alive. 

Beautifully said. I agree with both of your perspectives now. Thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: lynn on January 10, 2006, 12:08:04 PM
After Ennis offers to take the ashes, Jack's father says, with a look of disdain and hatred, "Tell you what, I know WHERE Brokeback Mountain is..".

This reminded me of the earlier scene in Aguirre's trailer, when Jack returns the second summer seeking both work and Ennis, and Aguirre says, with a similiarly evil expression and tone of voice, that he knew about their relationship.

I think this is another of Ang's parallel scenes, with the subtext that Jack's father is really saying, I know WHAT Brokeback Mountain is, meaning, I know what YOU are, and what you were to my boy...

I agree that the father was also disgusted with Jack for never carrying through on his plans, and the wife was afraid of him, as both Scotts have described, but I also think there is another layer here of homophobia.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: David on January 10, 2006, 02:34:03 PM
I have a different take on the last scene. Previous posters have suggested that Jack's father, John, was not quite the man he used to be, perhaps either compromised physically or mentally or both. He looks right at the shirts as Ennis is walking by...they are not hidden from his view. He says nothing about them. I think that John Twist is a bitter, aged man (maybe not all there mentally) who is more upset that he didn't get help with his farm, than who Ennis was or even Jack's death. He may have known on a deeply subconscious level about Jack and who Ennis would have been to Jack, but I don't think this man would have ever allowed those thoughts to reach the surface of conscious thought.

I was surprised to read that Annie P. sent her note to Roberta Maxwell confirming that Jack's mom did know who Ennis was to Jack. But I guess women/mom's are generally more intuitive.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: David on January 10, 2006, 02:39:13 PM
I have been thinking lately about the fact that those shirts were hanging in that closet for 20 years.

He pressed his face into the fabric and breathed in slowly through his mouth and nose, hoping for the faintest smoke and mountain sage and salty sweet stink of Jack but there was no real scent, only the memory of it, the imagined power of Brokeback Mountain of which nothing was left but what he held in his hands.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: PetterG on January 10, 2006, 02:56:21 PM
the imagined power of Brokeback Mountain
what power is Anne P talking about here?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: MellorSJ on January 10, 2006, 03:22:04 PM
There's a rather moving review over on Yahoo (among all the trash) that is especially in love with this scene:

http://movies.yahoo.com/mvc/dfrv?mid=1808403312&s=rc_d&rvid=255-628017&i=1&spl=1&ys=YRVWHtUTldPEcu5q0YqHOg--
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: sapstar on January 10, 2006, 05:58:22 PM
There's a rather moving review over on Yahoo (among all the trash) that is especially in love with this scene:

http://movies.yahoo.com/mvc/dfrv?mid=1808403312&s=rc_d&rvid=255-628017&i=1&spl=1&ys=YRVWHtUTldPEcu5q0YqHOg--


Wow...  that IS a great review.   A refreshing one.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: ImEnnisShesJack on January 10, 2006, 06:45:46 PM
There's a rather moving review over on Yahoo (among all the trash) that is especially in love with this scene:

http://movies.yahoo.com/mvc/dfrv?mid=1808403312&s=rc_d&rvid=255-628017&i=1&spl=1&ys=YRVWHtUTldPEcu5q0YqHOg--


That is a beautifully written review.  (and I'm not biased.  ;) )  He does capture the essence of Jack's mother.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Sam in Chicago on January 10, 2006, 09:37:32 PM
Gee, that's such a touching and heartfelt review, I wish I could tell him "Thank you!".
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on January 10, 2006, 09:55:09 PM
PetterG, Reply 17,  This may be an aside to the audience, like some of the remarks Hamlet makes in asides (including his very first line in the play).

Remember the author at the beginning refers to the protagonists being "brought together on paper" by Farm and Ranch Employment?  They were really brought together on paper by the author.

So, as the book draws to its tragic close (prefigured in the two italicized paragraphs omitted from the first publication in NYer), the reference to the "imagined power of Brokeback Mountain" is, at least in part, a reference, or appeal,  to the reader's imagination.

"De te fabula narratur."
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Caroline on January 10, 2006, 10:19:42 PM
Gee, that's such a touching and heartfelt review, I wish I could tell him "Thank you!".

HMG, I just read it too, is there any way to write to this reviewer,.,,, It brought tears to my eyes as I remember the scenes with Roberta..wow was that well written. I would love to ask him to review other scenes just to get his reaction... this is one review that should be sent to someone like Gene Shallit,, A**hole that he is...   
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: scot5636 on January 11, 2006, 10:33:34 AM
Gee, that's such a touching and heartfelt review, I wish I could tell him "Thank you!".

HMG, I just read it too, is there any way to write to this reviewer,.,,, It brought tears to my eyes as I remember the scenes with Roberta..wow was that well written. I would love to ask him to review other scenes just to get his reaction... this is one review that should be sent to someone like Gene Shallit,, A**hole that he is...   

Because it's a Yahoo review, I think if you can reach him at txgrandpa65@yahoo.com.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: justmeincal on January 11, 2006, 04:20:46 PM
Caroline,
There is a yahoo profile listed for txgrandpa65.  Perhaps you should write him and let him know how much you (we) enjoyed his review.  I would be honored to meet such a kind, observant fellow.
Maybe even invite him to join our discussions here!
Steve
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: ImEnnisShesJack on January 13, 2006, 05:39:16 AM
the imagined power of Brokeback Mountain
what power is Anne P talking about here?

Maybe the same power that has brought all of us here, Petter. 

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: outrageous4u on January 13, 2006, 10:35:36 AM
when Jacks dad tells Ennis about the other man Jack talked about and how they were going to help out at the farm, was this true or just something made up to hurt Ennis...and is it is true who is the other man...the guy at the dance whose wife talked a lot....i am surprised Jack would be involved with another guy...i thought Ennis was the only one, relationship-wise..anyone?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Jack Nasty on January 13, 2006, 10:55:40 AM
when Jacks dad tells Ennis about the other man Jack talked about and how they were going to help out at the farm, was this true or just something made up to hurt Ennis...and is it is true who is the other man...the guy at the dance whose wife talked a lot....i am surprised Jack would be involved with another guy...i thought Ennis was the only one, relationship-wise..anyone?

I think it is Randall (from the dance). I think Jack may have given up on Ennis after the last meeting. I am not sure if I feel comfortable with my interpretation but I am wondering if Jack's flashback to Brokeback was him cementing that perfect memory of Ennis in his mind to replace the tortured, tormented soul he (Ennis) has become. Perhaps he moved on to Randal (who might be happy to get rid of Lashawn) to try and eek out something close to real happiness.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: scot5636 on January 13, 2006, 11:04:20 AM
when Jacks dad tells Ennis about the other man Jack talked about and how they were going to help out at the farm, was this true or just something made up to hurt Ennis...and is it is true who is the other man...the guy at the dance whose wife talked a lot....i am surprised Jack would be involved with another guy...i thought Ennis was the only one, relationship-wise..anyone?

I think most of us assume this refers to Randall, the ranch foreman Jack met at that Dancehall/Country Club in Texas.  Outside, while their wives powder their noses, Randall suggests that he and Jack get away to a fishing cabin.  The tension in that scene certainly implies that there's more than fishing on Randall's mind.  And, of course, fishing has always been the ruse that Jack and Ennis have used as the smokescreen for their get-aways, so it's pretty clear that "fishing" is the "wink, wink, nod, nod" term for sex.  It has also been posited that, in their last time together, when Jack claims that he is having an affair with the ranch foreman's wife, he's actually referring to the affair he's having with Randall.  That admission (even though it was a lie) is followed by Jack's more telling admission "Truth is . . . sometimes I miss you so bad, I just can't stand it."  Ennis is the love of his life, but Ennis has never been willing to give Jack what Jack desperately needs.  He's not like Ennis -- he can't just "stand it" and do without the physical relationship.  So he seeks it out other places.

Hope that's helpful.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: lauren on January 13, 2006, 11:16:31 AM
when Jacks dad tells Ennis about the other man Jack talked about and how they were going to help out at the farm, was this true or just something made up to hurt Ennis...and is it is true who is the other man...the guy at the dance whose wife talked a lot....i am surprised Jack would be involved with another guy...i thought Ennis was the only one, relationship-wise..anyone?

I think most of us assume this refers to Randall, the ranch foreman Jack met at that Dancehall/Country Club in Texas.  Outside, while their wives powder their noses, Randall suggests that he and Jack get away to a fishing cabin.  The tension in that scene certainly implies that there's more than fishing on Randall's mind.  And, of course, fishing has always been the ruse that Jack and Ennis have used as the smokescreen for their get-aways, so it's pretty clear that "fishing" is the "wink, wink, nod, nod" term for sex.  It has also been posited that, in their last time together, when Jack claims that he is having an affair with the ranch foreman's wife, he's actually referring to the affair he's having with Randall.  That admission (even though it was a lie) is followed by Jack's more telling admission "Truth is . . . sometimes I miss you so bad, I just can't stand it."  Ennis is the love of his life, but Ennis has never been willing to give Jack what Jack desperately needs.  He's not like Ennis -- he can't just "stand it" and do without the physical relationship.  So he seeks it out other places.

Hope that's helpful.

Scott, that's my take on that scene on the bench as well. Randall is just a tempting physical outlet, a poor replacement for Ennis. That look on Jack's face in that scene when Randall mentions the fishing...he knows what's going on, and he looks so tortured. During the silence before the women come out, his eyes are downcast, sad. He's thinking about Ennis. He only wants to be with Ennis. You really feel the agony Jack is going through.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: scot5636 on January 13, 2006, 11:31:07 AM

Scott, that's my take on that scene on the bench as well. Randall is just a tempting physical outlet, a poor replacement for Ennis. That look on Jack's face in that scene when Randall mentions the fishing...he knows what's going on, and he looks so tortured. During the silence before the women come out, his eyes are downcast, sad. He's thinking about Ennis. He only wants to be with Ennis. You really feel the agony Jack is going through.
Quote

Jack's look in that scene had escaped me the first two times I saw the movie.  Somebody (possibly you, Lauren) had mentioned it in another thread, so I paid closer attention the third time.  It's pure desolation -- he's thousands of miles away. He just stares off into the distance, with a completely wounded look on his face.  There's aboslutely no sign of pleasure or excitement at the invitation that has clearly been made.  He wishes it was Ennis sitting next to him.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: 909dot on January 13, 2006, 11:38:29 AM

Scott, that's my take on that scene on the bench as well. Randall is just a tempting physical outlet, a poor replacement for Ennis. That look on Jack's face in that scene when Randall mentions the fishing...he knows what's going on, and he looks so tortured. During the silence before the women come out, his eyes are downcast, sad. He's thinking about Ennis. He only wants to be with Ennis. You really feel the agony Jack is going through.
Quote

Jack's look in that scene had escaped me the first two times I saw the movie.  Somebody (possibly you, Lauren) had mentioned it in another thread, so I paid closer attention the third time.  It's pure desolation -- he's thousands of miles away. He just stares off into the distance, with a completely wounded look on his face.  There's aboslutely no sign of pleasure or excitement at the invitation that has clearly been made.  He wishes it was Ennis sitting next to him.

Agree...there is not the slightest hint of excitement in the prospect...just empty at the thought of it not being Ennis
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Jack Nasty on January 13, 2006, 11:49:16 AM

Scott, that's my take on that scene on the bench as well. Randall is just a tempting physical outlet, a poor replacement for Ennis. That look on Jack's face in that scene when Randall mentions the fishing...he knows what's going on, and he looks so tortured. During the silence before the women come out, his eyes are downcast, sad. He's thinking about Ennis. He only wants to be with Ennis. You really feel the agony Jack is going through.
Quote

Jack's look in that scene had escaped me the first two times I saw the movie.  Somebody (possibly you, Lauren) had mentioned it in another thread, so I paid closer attention the third time.  It's pure desolation -- he's thousands of miles away. He just stares off into the distance, with a completely wounded look on his face.  There's aboslutely no sign of pleasure or excitement at the invitation that has clearly been made.  He wishes it was Ennis sitting next to him.

Agree...there is not the slightest hint of excitement in the prospect...just empty at the thought of it not being Ennis

I think I agree with you but wasn't this right after Ennis asked him if he thought other people out on the pavement were looking at him funny? Guessing about him. I wonder if he was shocked at being spotted so easily. I am sure those country boys had no concept of gaydar!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: scot5636 on January 13, 2006, 12:30:35 PM
Just a personal opinion, but i think Jack was aware that other people might know his secret since he hit on that rodeo clown.  He  may not have been happy about it, but I don't think it bothered him like it would Ennis.  Concern about how easy it was for Randall to figure him out might be what's written on his face, but that's not the way I read that scene.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Jack Nasty on January 13, 2006, 01:10:10 PM
Just a personal opinion, but i think Jack was aware that other people might know his secret since he hit on that rodeo clown. He may not have been happy about it, but I don't think it bothered him like it would Ennis. Concern about how easy it was for Randall to figure him out might be what's written on his face, but that's not the way I read that scene.

Yeah. I am kinda thinking it is a combo. Scared about being hit on (he is outgoing but deffo not OUT), wishing it were Ennis, anguish that it isn't Ennis,  and somewhat turned on at the prospect of a man in closer proximity.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: outrageous4u on January 13, 2006, 02:44:50 PM
thanks for the clarification everyone :)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: lauren on January 13, 2006, 03:50:32 PM
Just a personal opinion, but i think Jack was aware that other people might know his secret since he hit on that rodeo clown. He may not have been happy about it, but I don't think it bothered him like it would Ennis. Concern about how easy it was for Randall to figure him out might be what's written on his face, but that's not the way I read that scene.

Yeah. I am kinda thinking it is a combo. Scared about being hit on (he is outgoing but deffo not OUT), wishing it were Ennis, anguish that it isn't Ennis,  and somewhat turned on at the prospect of a man in closer proximity.

I agree with Scott that I don't see the scared of being hit on in this scene. He wasn't as concerned about this as Ennis is. He is aware of it in that clown in the bar scene but he just gets out of that situation. He is fearful there, but generally I don't think it's on his radar in that way.  (later when Ennis asks him about whether he believes anyone knows, Jack shrugs). It's not fear in his eyes in this scene, but sadness (and discomfort at what's taking place) at not having Ennis sitting next to him, as Scott said. 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Jack Nasty on January 13, 2006, 05:11:53 PM
I agree with Scott that I don't see the scared of being hit on in this scene. He wasn't as concerned about this as Ennis is. He is aware of it in that clown in the bar scene but he just gets out of that situation. He is fearful there, but generally I don't think it's on his radar in that way. (later when Ennis asks him about whether he believes anyone knows, Jack shrugs). It's not fear in his eyes in this scene, but sadness (and discomfort at what's taking place) at not having Ennis sitting next to him, as Scott said.

Okay. I guess I'm convinced (for the most part). ;)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: peteinportland on January 13, 2006, 09:18:10 PM
This thread has gotten sidetracked to the Jack and Randall thread, but I think it is important to work out what was meant by Jack's dad, so I will continue the thoughts:

Someone else pointed out that when Jack says "You wanna dance" he is looking right at Randall. I noticed this and there is a very shocked look on Randall's face. Then LaShawn says yes. Watch for that next time you see the movie. I also think we get the message when LaShawn is telling Jack that Randall isn't any good at fixing cars that Randall might bat for Jack's team (although I find it interesting the writers use a blatant stereotype of this sort about gay men when the movie is in some ways about breaking down such stereotypes). Randall hitting on Jack is subtle to the point that if Jack were not gay, he would not know he was being hit on, but since he is, he knows exactly what is going on. It is the way gay men in rural areas still hit on one another today (with great care and subtlety).

Back to Jack's parents: frankly, I find it odd that Jack would tell his dad about either Ennis OR Randall. What would his dad think, Jack divorcing his wife and moving to the ranch with another man? I have always found this an odd note in the book and film. And why does the old man even mention it? To let Ennis know that he knows what went on between him and Jack? Do we think the father put two and two together? And why does the father mention Randall? To hurt Ennis? It is the one part of the movie/book where my suspension of disbelief is not complete.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: aintnoreins on January 13, 2006, 11:01:34 PM

Back to Jack's parents: frankly, I find it odd that Jack would tell his dad about either Ennis OR Randall. What would his dad think, Jack divorcing his wife and moving to the ranch with another man? I have always found this an odd note in the book and film. And why does the old man even mention it? To let Ennis know that he knows what went on between him and Jack? Do we think the father put two and two together? And why does the father mention Randall? To hurt Ennis? It is the one part of the movie/book where my suspension of disbelief is not complete.

I struggled with this one too! I just can't picture that conversation happening between Jack and his father. Unless Jack's dad gave him trouble over abandoning the ranch (being the only son and all), and Jack, to ward him off on a few different levels, promised to bring Ennis and later Randall to help run the place. Which would explain part of John Twist's bitterness about Jack's plans never coming to pass - partly because they didn't, and partly because if they had happened as Jack wanted, that situation wouldn't have been to his father's liking either.

That said, did Jack ever mention going to live at his parents' place to Ennis? The only two suggestions I can recall (I loaned out my screenplay  :-\) are that they get a "little cow-and-calf operation" going "somewhere" and, later, that Ennis move down to Texas. Do we think Jack could have brought Ennis home with him, just like that? Maybe as an act of defiance against his father, but I'm not convinced.

I think John Twist mentions Randall to first gauge Ennis's reaction in order to confirm his own suspicions about his son, knowing that if they're true, the remark will hurt Ennis, which (imho) is his intention. Or at least to cast some doubt in Ennis's mind, enough to make him back down about Jack's ashes perhaps.

I don't know... I'm still all conflicted about this part; this is the best i've come up with so far, but I'm still scratching my head.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Ranchgal on January 13, 2006, 11:18:15 PM
My own thought is that Jack did probably tell his dad he would bring Ennis up to help---but the fact that he never asked Ennis to actually come there and help--is also significant to me.  It meant that as much as Jack might want it, he was dreaming, and he knew it couldn't have happened esp. not on his father's place.   He never brought it up to Ennis, cause he already knew it would fail.    AND I believe, if he would have asked Ennis to come up there and help with some specific tasks/chores---Ennis probably would have.   But Jack was as afraid of failing in this as Ennis was to even consider it.

PLUS I did not get the feeling that Jack's Dad really wanted any help---and he certainly was not going to hand over any income to Jack or anyone with him for helping do whatever needed to be done---He would have taken the help--but I for one never saw him offering an actual HOME even to Jack, and Jack knew it--that is why he only passed through occasionally, and never tried to get any stock of his own to run with his dad's.   Dad ran the place, and will till he dies---and NO ONE will ever be on there that doesn't take orders from him.  Stud duck is the right phrase for him.

I also think Jack knew full well Ennis would never leave where he was---no matter what---TX was out of the question.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on January 14, 2006, 05:23:22 AM
Ranchgal, reply 41: I agree totally.  One thing about the author's technique, it captures the extreme compression of speech common in the early settlers throughout the midwest and west.  the father's "angry, knowing" look when he first sets eyes on Ennis, I think, only comes from inferences drawn from J's mention(s) of bringing E up to "lick the ranch into shape".  J would never have referred to E to the parents in the sense of setting up housekeeping with him.  As I said earlier,  father thinks back to J's (probable) mention of the story about the "rancher's wife" (only mentioned once in the book), guesses (like the screenwriters) this may be another "outlet" (without any evidence this is really the case) and then changes the gender and throws the remark in E's face to punish him.  Another point about father's posture in the "wake" scene:  How would you like it if someone you never met before showed up at your door and offered to take your only son's remains and scatter them on some hillside?  Would you bring up the "half-baked idea" that involved that son's dream, then twist it in such a way as to punish your son's partner who thwarted that dream?  Maybe. That's what close relatives do sometimes at wakes.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on January 14, 2006, 05:46:26 AM
Peteinportland, Yes, I noticed that the invitation to the dance and the cutaway to "Randall" implied all that you say.  It also points up, imho, how very different the film is from many aspects of the book, though of course certain crucial scenes are almost verbatim from the book (final parting at trailhead, wake scene).  Viewers of the film need to remind themselves that "Randall" does not exist in the book, and "rancher's wife" and "woman in Riverton" are mentioned only  once in passing.  I think of the book as transcending the stereotypes; as you indicate, some of the screenwriter interpolations, on the other hand, rely on them as crutches to move the story to that medium.  Did they really have to do that? And did they really have to resort to the Hollywood ending?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: ImEnnisShesJack on January 14, 2006, 06:56:39 AM
Quote
Jack's look in that scene had escaped me the first two times I saw the movie.  Somebody (possibly you, Lauren) had mentioned it in another thread, so I paid closer attention the third time.  It's pure desolation -- he's thousands of miles away. He just stares off into the distance, with a completely wounded look on his face.  There's aboslutely no sign of pleasure or excitement at the invitation that has clearly been made.  He wishes it was Ennis sitting next to him.

Agree...there is not the slightest hint of excitement in the prospect...just empty at the thought of it not being Ennis

And the even emptier thought of not being alone.  (if that makes sense)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: marius on January 14, 2006, 11:08:49 AM
Does anyone remember what a sadistic man this father of Jack is? that's how Jack found out the One physical difference between him and his father  :o
The way I see it is: this man is too selfish to care about his son's sexuality. Hence his complain doesn't go beyond the lack of help he could have got from the boys.
After all he never taught his son anything and never went to see him ride...
And the selfishness has turned sour than vinegar with age.
By the way, I have my little doubts about his sexuality. To pee all over his son just to punish him? sounds more like an inhibited pervert to me :-[
(it's in the book)

Marius
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: David on January 14, 2006, 11:59:17 AM
Marius, I agree. I think John Twist was a bitter, compromised old man whose primary concern was that he was not going to get any help with his ranch. I don't believe for a minute any of his comments were directed at hurting Ennis or pointing out anything in particular. John Twist only thought of himself, and his thinking certainly did not run very deep.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: bb on January 14, 2006, 12:55:15 PM

I struggled with this one too! I just can't picture that conversation happening between Jack and his father. Unless Jack's dad gave him trouble over abandoning the ranch (being the only son and all), and Jack, to ward him off on a few different levels, promised to bring Ennis and later Randall to help run the place. Which would explain part of John Twist's bitterness about Jack's plans never coming to pass - partly because they didn't, and partly because if they had happened as Jack wanted, that situation wouldn't have been to his father's liking either.

This is what I'm thinking also - from the text: The old man spoke angrily. "I can't get no help out here."  No, not if you're a mean old son of a ***, as I'm sure was very well known around town from that remark.  I think Jack loved to dream he could have a good relationship with his father and was hopeful every time he visited, but probably could take no more than a week at a time, and reality set in.  Gosh, just realized this is starting to sound like Jack and Ennis....
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: David on January 14, 2006, 01:07:45 PM

I struggled with this one too! I just can't picture that conversation happening between Jack and his father. Unless Jack's dad gave him trouble over abandoning the ranch (being the only son and all), and Jack, to ward him off on a few different levels, promised to bring Ennis and later Randall to help run the place. Which would explain part of John Twist's bitterness about Jack's plans never coming to pass - partly because they didn't, and partly because if they had happened as Jack wanted, that situation wouldn't have been to his father's liking either.

This is what I'm thinking also - from the text: The old man spoke angrily. "I can't get no help out here."  No, not if you're a mean old son of a ***, as I'm sure was very well known around town from that remark.  I think Jack loved to dream he could have a good relationship with his father and was hopeful every time he visited, but probably could take no more than a week at a time, and reality set in.  Gosh, just realized this is starting to sound like Jack and Ennis....

You hit the nail on the head. There is so much subtext with Jack's father, it makes one's head swim: In the short story it says that Jack came up every year to help his father; Jack undoubtedly wanted to emulate his father's bull-riding success, hopefully to be accepted by him; and he talked of moving back up to the ranch to live. One reviewer noted that Jack was attracted to a brooding, violent man like his father. Interesting fodder for thought.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: David on January 14, 2006, 01:10:47 PM
Regarding the shirts: those shirts were in that closet for 20 years. Ennis may never have found them had he not gone to Jack's parents. Jack didn't know he would be killed. I think that is what completely overwhelms us with that scene: the accidental discovery by Ennis of how much and for how long Jack loved him.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Pug on January 14, 2006, 02:38:18 PM
The feeling in Jack's bedroom was so haunting; a whisper of his life growing up. Somehow when watching that scene, I hope it was all a dream and that Jack is alive.....
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: pdxbennett on January 14, 2006, 06:02:58 PM
It is ironic that Ennis's ability to love anyone including Jack was as stripped as Jack's childhood room.  That room was bare bones with just enough to survive but nothing more to really live on. 

The last time I saw this movie was early morning on a Saturday with mostly older white straight couples.  When Ennis found and kissed the shirts there was an older lady not far from me who just lost it.  Her ragged breath just underscored what the rest of us was feeling. 

The other side to this scene is Jack's mother.  Most mothers know their children.  Mine certainly did.  Jack's mother knew who and what her son was.  She was the kind of mother who could raise her son to be open and decent despite the evil asshole she married.   Jack's mother knew what was in the closet.  This is why she sent Ennis up.  She had the bag ready and told him to come back.  She was trying to hold onto a piece of her son.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on January 14, 2006, 07:47:39 PM


The last time I saw this movie was early morning on a Saturday with mostly older white straight couples.  When Ennis found and kissed the shirts there was an older lady not far from me who just lost it.  Her ragged breath just underscored what the rest of us was feeling. 


My guess, she was remembering hugging and inhaling thru some old shirt, too, just like Ennis.  When my kid brother died unexpectedly a few years ago, the duty of going to his place and gathering his stuff fell to me.  Closetful of shirts, and I had seen him in a lot of them.  Every one the same size as him, the same shape... I grabbed one just like Ennis, caressed, inhaled hoping anything at all was left, crying rivers....  Years later, when I came across the "discovery of the shirts" passage in Proulx' story, I realized many people must do the same thing, if two (I and Proulx or her informant) had done so. 

Or not -- guess the scene is touching enough to set off waterworks, without that specific detail of personal resonance!

Dal
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on January 14, 2006, 08:24:30 PM
It is ironic that Ennis's ability to love anyone including Jack was as stripped as Jack's childhood room.  That room was bare bones with just enough to survive but nothing more to really live on.  [.....]

Ouch!  Poor Jack found some comfort in E's arms that first summer -- pity he had to keep trying to take it further, for even more years than he'd lived in that impoverished room. 

Loved the room in the movie.  Seen a few like it in West Texas.  The room's hot in the story; in the flick, Ennis opens the window, to reveal... nothing.  Very claustrophobic. 

Quote
Jack's mother knew what was in the closet.  This is why she sent Ennis up.  She had the bag ready and told him to come back.  She was trying to hold onto a piece of her son.

In the middle of nowhere with that old man, no one to share her grief... what a life.  Jack's visits were the highlights of the year for 20 years, that's for sure. 

In the story, Ma Twist is "careful in her movements as though recovering from an operation."  Maybe she's just arthritic... or maybe Proulx is telling us the old lady still sobs so much around the house that her tummy is sore? 

Dal





Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Danny on January 14, 2006, 09:35:12 PM
I like the thoughts of John Twist being a selfish man and being mad at Jack for running off and leaving the farm, "being the only son and all" but In the beginning of this someone mentioned Jack being "Run Off" as when he asked Ennis "Did your parents run you off!?"  John Twist being a coniving type of man surely wouldnt have "Run Jack off" but probably guilted him in to staying while making his life there miserable all at the same time.  Misery loves company you know.

Also, what stems John Twists contempt for Jack and maybe even his wife if that is what we believe to be the case?  How about his young rodeo cowboy days of fun, fancy free life being cut short by a pregnant girlfriend that he is forced to marry out of respect and decency which was the "duty of that day and time"  Maybe he takes that out on Jack and blames him for some loss of his own youth.  Being forced to settle down and provide, although im sure because of his personality, he feels the responsibility to do so.

And while we're giving food for thought... Everyone thinks Randall is hitting on Jack for a good time.  Randall is NEW in town and has a NEW job.  What if Randall is "PUT UP" by some people to find out if Jack has some gay tendencies and he feels compelled to oblige in order to show that he can be a "team player" in the good ole boy club and earn a seat in the saloon.  There are many opinions on in the end wether or not what Lureen tells Ennis is the truth and Ennis imagines the worst when he hears it, or is Lureen trying to be compassionate and not tell the bad thing that actually DID happen. (JAck being tire ironed to death)  If he was tire ironed for his "tendencies"... how did they find out?  Was it because of Randalls advances being accepted?  If someone knows for sure on the death, please let me know.  Even if Lureens dad didnt like Jack, he WAS the father of his grandson... 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwiersma on January 15, 2006, 08:30:07 AM
I think it's problematic to lump Jack's mother and father together when you ask the "they" questions, because they are polar opposites when it comes to the issue of Jack's sexuality and Jack & Ennis's relationship.

Jack's mother is a kind, compassionate woman who accepted her son's sexuality and paid Ennis the respect afforded a grieving spouse because she appreciated that her son had been loved.

In contrast, Jack's father was a hateful man whose disdain for his son's sexuality and his relationship with Ennis was abundantly clear.

It's interesting to speculate (much information) about Jack's parents, and especially his father.  I suspect it is more likely that Jack's father was "in between" the good, charitable version of his intentions (angry because Ennis couldn't make Jack happy) and the S.O.B. version, which would, if fully developed, have certainly removed or destroyed the shirt years ago and would probably not even speak to Ennis.  (Maybe spat at him instead of in front of him.)  Jack's (probably long-suffering mother) is less mysterious, but no less heart-wrenching. 

I think Father Twist was probably sad and disappointed with his son, his personal condition, and the condition of his farm, which was probably the (pathetic) culmination of his life's work.  Everything seems to have disappointed him.  I didn't get the feeling that he would have kicked Jack and Ennis out if they decided to help him, so probably the gay thing was less tragic than the deteriorating farm thing. 

I think that Jack's parents, Ennis, and everybody else in the film that loved Jack (and probably most of us!) loved Jack as best they could, even though it probably wasn't enough.  This is one of the central themes of the film and story.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on January 15, 2006, 10:37:03 AM
mwiersma, you are correct.  In the "wake" scene, many viewers lack life experience.  They haven't lost a child; they haven't lost a parent.  There are different dynamics in those circumstances.  I noted in earlier posts, evidence suggests J is an only child, and this in itself is a distinguishing point in the perceptions of the three characters in the "wake". 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: aintnoreins on January 15, 2006, 07:55:22 PM

It's interesting to speculate (much information) about Jack's parents, and especially his father.  I suspect it is more likely that Jack's father was "in between" the good, charitable version of his intentions (angry because Ennis couldn't make Jack happy) and the S.O.B. version, which would, if fully developed, have certainly removed or destroyed the shirt years ago and would probably not even speak to Ennis.  (Maybe spat at him instead of in front of him.)  Jack's (probably long-suffering mother) is less mysterious, but no less heart-wrenching. 

I think Father Twist was probably sad and disappointed with his son, his personal condition, and the condition of his farm, which was probably the (pathetic) culmination of his life's work.  Everything seems to have disappointed him.  I didn't get the feeling that he would have kicked Jack and Ennis out if they decided to help him, so probably the gay thing was less tragic than the deteriorating farm thing.

this is a really interesting reading of jack's father to me - while it doesn't line up entirely with what we know of his father in the book (that one scene from jack's childhood comes to mind), it does allow for his maturing...

and it does explain some of his behavior towards ennis. john twist is curious, i think, about who else his son had tried to find love with, and maybe wants to hurt him a little for various reasons, but mainly out of a kind of rage and spite that may well have little to do with ennis himself and more with what you described.

thanks for the food for thought... now i want to see that scene again...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: scot5636 on January 16, 2006, 01:13:38 PM
I grabbed one just like Ennis, caressed, inhaled hoping anything at all was left, crying rivers....  Years later, when I came across the "discovery of the shirts" passage in Proulx' story, I realized many people must do the same thing, if two (I and Proulx or her informant) had done so. 

Or not -- guess the scene is touching enough to set off waterworks, without that specific detail of personal resonance!

Dal

I think a lot of us have done something like that.  I met my partner 18 years ago at an east coast college.  Two months later, I had to move to Los Angeles for a summer job, and he couldn't follow.  I took one of his shirts with me (one that he'd just worn).  That's why I knew Ennis' shirt would turn up again after Brokeback.  Still wasn't prepared for it when Ennis pulls the shirts out from Jack's closet.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: shonuff07 on January 16, 2006, 11:31:36 PM
  I took one of his shirts with me (one that he'd just worn).  That's why I knew Ennis' shirt would turn up again after Brokeback.  Still wasn't prepared for it when Ennis pulls the shirts out from Jack's closet.

   I knew Jack took it too.....as soon as Ennis said " Can't believe I left  my shirt up there " and Jack says ( with the " can't believe that  either " look )....." Yeah ".......I said ....Jack took it...


But even knowing that.........I'd completely forgotten that fact...and was not ready for the shirts in the closet scene.........went right thru me......!


4Sho
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: shonuff07 on January 16, 2006, 11:41:51 PM
Marius, I agree. I think John Twist was a bitter, compromised old man whose primary concern was that he was not going to get any help with his ranch. I don't believe for a minute any of his comments were directed at hurting Ennis or pointing out anything in particular. John Twist only thought of himself, and his thinking certainly did not run very deep.
                         I agree also, Jack's dad is disappointed only in the state of his property.....Never once spoke about missing Jack....just what Jack & Ennis missed out on doing......Helping him with his farm.....And so naturally, he keeps
 talking about Jack's plans about whippin his farm into shape....the fact that it was another guy coming other than Ennis doesn't mean a thing to this old man.......He's just upset that now, none of it from any man ( help for  his farm ) will come to pass...........

& I agree....Jack certainly did seem to find a man, much like his Dad....That was a really good observation.......tough, brooding  man focused mostly on self, yet....getting very Little done for self......Ennis & Jack's Dad are similar in this regard.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: shonuff07 on January 16, 2006, 11:55:57 PM
  I think Jack loved to dream he could have a good relationship with his father  and was hopeful every time he visited, but probably could take no more than a week at a time, and reality set in.  Gosh, just realized this is starting to sound like Jack and Ennis....



                             Great correlation.........but a week with Ennis is too little, & a week with Daddy Twist is too much.......
Always looking for the quiet, tough, brooding, man to take a real intrest in him ( Daddy or Ennis ) complete and fill this empty hole of acceptance and love that is what a son is owed....never got it.......Ennis never came to see Jack either.....Jack never really got what he needed from either of them.......but he continued trying with both of them......till the end
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: wjp58 on January 17, 2006, 02:44:31 PM
Help me understand this line in the book:

At Jack's parents, after his father recounts how Jack had "another one" he was gonna bring up there --

"So now he knew it was the tire iron."
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: 3m on January 17, 2006, 03:39:21 PM
Hi all,

I'm loving these post, even though I've not gone through them all yet.

My question: When Ennis goes up to the bedroom he picks up the toy cowboy from the desk. Wasn't there an earlier scene, on the mountain, with one of them in the tent (I can't remember which one, Ennis I think - I've only seen the movie twice) carving what looks like a horse and rider?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: shonuff07 on January 17, 2006, 04:11:30 PM


               It was Ennis who was carving the horse & rider figurine....I do not know if this one on Jack's desk is the one Ennis would eventually have finished,,,but I did notice how it made Ennis' face grimace ( maybe only because it reminded him of Rodeo Jack ) as if maybe he had given it to him......But, maybe not.......Saw that the 3rd time.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: sapstar on January 17, 2006, 04:56:41 PM
Help me understand this line in the book:

At Jack's parents, after his father recounts how Jack had "another one" he was gonna bring up there --

"So now he knew it was the tire iron."


Ah...  wjp.....  another excellent example of what I was telling you earlier....  another "hole" in the story for you to fill with your own life experience...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: wjp58 on January 17, 2006, 06:13:56 PM
Help me understand this line in the book:

At Jack's parents, after his father recounts how Jack had "another one" he was gonna bring up there --

"So now he knew it was the tire iron."


Ah...  wjp.....  another excellent example of what I was telling you earlier....  another "hole" in the story for you to fill with your own life experience...


JP, you're probably right.  But then again it can't hurt to ask.

The whole "open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe" line probably comes into play here.  And all of us readers are invited to examine our own "open spaces".
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: sarah on January 18, 2006, 08:00:38 AM
Does anyone think that reference to the abusive way that Jack's father treated him  :'(( the bathroom incident when Jack was 3 or 4, included in the book)  should've been brought into this movie scene (as in a flashback  either of the event or of a conversation between Jack and Ennis -- as in the  story?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: wjp58 on January 18, 2006, 08:58:55 AM
Does anyone think that reference to the abusive way that Jack's father treated him  :'(( the bathroom incident when Jack was 3 or 4, included in the book)  should've been brought into this movie scene (as in a flashback  either of the event or of a conversation between Jack and Ennis -- as in the  story?

I posted something about this on the "What you didn't like ..." thread.  Not the fact that it wasn't included.  I can see the difficulties.  At what point in the movie would you insert this scene?  The thing I find troubling about the scene in the book is that it seems that, of this whole traumatic experience, what seems to be most traumatic, or at least most memorable, is Jack's discovery that his father had "extra material."
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on January 18, 2006, 09:24:12 AM
Does anyone think that reference to the abusive way that Jack's father treated him  :'(( the bathroom incident when Jack was 3 or 4, included in the book)  should've been brought into this movie scene (as in a flashback  either of the event or of a conversation between Jack and Ennis -- as in the  story?

I think the film did need a scene showing Pa Twist brutalizing Jack as a child, but not so graphic, and no urine.   You get a strong sense of the emotional deprivation of Jack's home, from his early comments about "Dad never came to see me ride" etc, and later during Ennis' visit; but a shot of Jackie getting knocked over for a childish fumble would  have made a strong image, and Lee makes his points in those images, right?  Guess Ossana/McMurtry thought the scene unnecessary...

Poor little Jack!  "...for he always loved a little dog."  The tractor scene "No hands."  Great.

Dal
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on January 18, 2006, 01:19:08 PM
Sarah, actually the "bathroom" incident in the book is one the NYer editors might have omitted rather than the 2 italicized paragraphs in the later edition.  It really doesn't "explain" very much (but it is an analog to E being taught the lesson to sucker punch himself out of difficult situations), and seems a part of a larger canvas, a longer version, approaching "novella" length, that probably should have been abandoned.  Ang Lee felt it impossible to fit in and disruptive to the narrative flow.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on January 18, 2006, 01:31:04 PM
Dal, I don't know if it has been made explicit here before, perhaps because it is so obvious, but the father in J's case is rejecting and distant because he senses J's basic orientation and can't accept it. This has to go back to early childhood.   That is a well known phenomenon.

Notwithstanding  that, J is a faithful son, far more so than most.  This quality is not limited to his treatment of the parents; as I have stated, and as several posters have disagreed pointedly, he is also faithful to E during the 17 years.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: huntinbuddy on January 18, 2006, 04:25:16 PM
Maybe it has been mentioned in the thread already, and I just overlooked it, but don't think so......when Jack's mother says to Ennis, to the effect "I have kept Jack's room just the way it was since he was a child, you are free to go up and look..."   Well, we know that from the story line that Jack has been back to Lightning Flat to help his dad out, because the shirts are there in the closet.  But before that scene, with the shirts in the closet, when Ennis first walks into the room, he picks up on the little desk, a wooden carved figure of a cowboy on a horse.  If you recall, back at the first summer together on BBM, while Jack was on the ridge watching the sheep, Ennis is in the base camp tent, and it is raining, and he is carving a little wooden horse.  If I recall correctly, it was just a horse, with no rider yet.   Could this be the same figure that Ennis working on that summer that he may have give Jack at some point in time that first summer....and it made it back to Lightning Flat along with the shirts?  Just a thought.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: shonuff07 on January 18, 2006, 06:19:14 PM
Ennis is in the base camp tent, and it is raining, and he is carving a little wooden horse.  If I recall correctly, it was just a horse, with no rider yet.   Could this be the same figure that Ennis working on that summer that he may have give Jack at some point in time that first summer....and it made it back to Lightning Flat along with the shirts?  Just a thought.
                    I saw and recalled the wooden horse carving the 3rd time I saw it....you can see the way Ennis' face frowns sentimentally when he picks it up.......in a room with so little....the value of this ( possible ) gift from Ennis' to Jack would have great value. Of course, it could just be a boys toy having nothing to do with Ennis...But, it certainly had me thinking what you were thinking Charlieh.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: trcarr on January 18, 2006, 08:53:36 PM
Ennis' discovery of the shirts also provides a splendid cinematic example of how "less is more."  The conventional directorial approach would interject a momentary flashback to the rough-play on the mountain some 19 years before when the fabric got bloodied or how Jack discreetly swiped Ennis' shirt.   (Gotta remind the audience!)

But Lee creates a rising, uninterrupted line of dramatic tension by avoiding the typical -- instead relying on the viewer to recall, deduce, and then grasp the monumental significance of those shirts.

It's the perfect setup for the even more gut-wrenching final scene where we learn (without explicitly seeing) that Ennis had switched their relative positions on the hanger.

In those scenes, a further masterstroke of symbolism that truly resonates with any gay person: The CLOSET.

I have to wonder how many of those subtleties fly right over the heads of the casual viewer.



Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on January 18, 2006, 10:27:00 PM
trcarr, "less is more" is truly engrained in the author's technique.  Recall the recessed hiding place is in the north end of the closet, and the ranch itself, nr. Lightning Flat, is on the extreme north border of WY.  This correlates to the dualities of (to name but a few and leave some for others to discuss) cold/warmth, north/south, the intrusion of the elements upon the protagonists' brief time together, the fact that the shirts "shudder" in the cold draft on the day of Ennis' expulsion from the ranch at the end of the story.  Etc.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DeeGilles on January 18, 2006, 10:33:15 PM
Ennis is in the base camp tent, and it is raining, and he is carving a little wooden horse.  If I recall correctly, it was just a horse, with no rider yet.   Could this be the same figure that Ennis working on that summer that he may have give Jack at some point in time that first summer....and it made it back to Lightning Flat along with the shirts?  Just a thought.
I saw and recalled the wooden horse carving the 3rd time I saw it....you can see the way Ennis' face frowns sentimentally when he picks it up.......in a room with so little....the value of this ( possible ) gift from Ennis' to Jack would have great value. Of course, it could just be a boys toy having nothing to do with Ennis...But, it certainly had me thinking what you were thinking Charlieh.

I finally caught this on the 3rd viewing too.  I believe it's another example, like the shirts, of a souvenir of summer of 63 that Jack kept.  Don't know if Ennis gave that to him, or if Jack stole that too!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on January 18, 2006, 10:36:17 PM
trcarr, I forgot another important duality: life/death; world/afterworld.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DeeGilles on January 18, 2006, 10:39:45 PM
Maybe it has been mentioned in the thread already, and I just overlooked it, but don't think so......when Jack's mother says to Ennis, to the effect "I have kept Jack's room just the way it was since he was a child, you are free to go up and look..."

I also got the impression that Jack's mother knew ( either Jack told her or she gleaned) about Jack and Ennis's relationship. I think she was fine with it.   It is a little unusual to say to someone'' go up to his room and have a look if you want" and also they way she didn't question him taking Jack's shirt.  (Oddly, Jack Sr had nothing to say about this behavior)

I can't tell if Jack Sr knew his son was gay.  I'm inclined to say yes, the way he was openly sneering about the "other fella" etc.  Could have been Ennis's paranoia rising it's ugly head again.  Ennis was definitely afraid of Jack Sr's implication though. 

So I think it's significant to note that, despite his fear of Jack Sr, he took his lover's shirt anyway. It's a small act of bravery and defiance.

Good for you, Ennis Del Mar.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: 3m on January 20, 2006, 08:31:37 AM
Hi all,

I haven't read through all the posts so it may be covered already so forgive me but it seems to me a big step forward for Ennis in how he sees his relationship with Jack that he actually goes to see the parents to try and retrieve the ashes. He used to be so concerned with how others might view hisr elationship with Jack that to put himself out there like that would have been out of character in other circumstances. What was it he said at the table about "you wouldn't  begin to believe how good of friends we were"? I can't remember the exact words nor if there were reaction shots from the parents. Maybe it's time for viewing number three......

On a related note, what do you think of the fact that Lureen nor Jack's son never met the parents or visited Lightning Flats or did I misinterpret what she said to Ennis in the phone conversation?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: crcj on January 20, 2006, 06:29:11 PM
This segment was absolutely one of my favorite of the movie.  For many of the reasons posted on this thread.

I absolutely believe that Jack's mother not only knew about him, but knew who Ennis was and what he represented to her son.  I know before I was out to my own family, I would often talk about someone I was dating a bit too much and it was clear that my mother was clued into who that person was.  The scene played the exact same way.  Jack was so excited to be with Ennis and loved him so much, he would not have had the ability to keep it hidden like Ennis.  We all have to enjoy some kind of outlet for our emotions.  Ennis' problem is he had none.  Jack was more capable than him and would have taken more chances at home.  I don't think he would have ever said anything too direct.  But Ennis would have been an easy and often topic of conversation I am sure.

I think Jack's father may have known as well and did not care so much.  I think some of the irony of the scene is that Ennis became aware that maybe he could have been with Jack.  I think he saw how he was not turned away, ridiculed, or hated by the family Jack did have.  And that (along with finding the shirts) was very powerful.

I loved how it also became clearer to Ennis just how much he was loved by Jack.  Jack's dad basically said, "You are about all he talked about for 20 years."  How powerful to have your lover's father say that to you.

The scene has a lot going on, and it does really drive you to finally have a totally broken heart.  Jack was such a lovable and sweet character.  His love for Ennis was overwhelming enough that Jack's parents knew more about Ennis that Jack's wife and child.  Very telling.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: marktd on January 20, 2006, 06:40:46 PM
The interpretation of Jack's father as disgusted, hateful, etc. seems a little too simplistic--maybe becasue too many of our own fathers were, we are too quick to see him that way. I don't think either Jack's mother or father were sophisticated enough to understand the real nature of their son's relationship with Ennis. They probably knew their son was "queer," but I doubt either of them really knew what that meant.

I think Jack's father truly loved his son. He may have been dissapointed in him for any number of reasons, and certainly couldn't begin to comprehend him or his relationship with Ennis, but something that I haven't seen mentioned here is the fact that his father INSISTED that Jack's ashes were burried in the family plot--he said so twice. If he was really so disgusted by his son, I think he would have been more than happy to see his ashes on the mountain--or anywhere else.

He made a point of saying he knew where Brokeback Mountain was, but they had a family plot and Jack was going in it. He said Jack thought he was "too special" to go into the family plot, but that was where he was going to put him. I don't think if he were so cruel, hateful, etc., he would have wanted his son's remains forever with the family.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: alterboy on January 20, 2006, 09:58:09 PM
I've been lurking for a couple of weeks, but this is my first post.  Thanks to everyone for being here--this movie really knocked me for a loop, and you all have been good company while I've been processing it.

I think one reason this scene is so hard to interpret is that we want the answers to be simple.  Jack's father hated him or he loved him.  Jack's parents knew he was gay or they didn't.  But life is more complicated than that.  In both the story and the movie, this scene leaves more blanks to be filled in than just about any other.  As sapstar said, we have to fill them in with our own experiences.  Some of my thoughts:

Jack and his dad had the kind of conflicted father-son relationship that actually is not all that uncommon in our society.  They both loved and hated each other.  They couldn't bear to completely sever the connection, but they couldn't stand being in each other's company very long either.  Jack's father is embittered, cruel and abusive (that bathroom scene is really over the top), but that doesn't mean that he didn't also love Jack. 

I doubt that Jack ever "came out" to his parents, in the sense of explicitly telling them he was gay.  Such a thing would have been a very rare occurence at that time and place in the country.  However, based on what we see of him as an adult, I think it's a fair guess that Jack was a sensitive child, a dreamer, and a bit of a rebel.  In a world where men were supposed to be stoic and strong (like Ennis) this would have marked him as different; not "queer" exactly, but different enought to disappoint his father and get his mother's antennae up.  I don't see how Jack's saying he was going to leave his wife to move back home with another man could have appeared anything but unusual, even if it was covered with the line about "licking the place into shape."  As other posters have noted, Jack's mother clearly knew what was up.  The father must have known on some level, too, but protected himself from absorbing the information by placing it in the context of what he saw as Jack's main character flaw--being a starry-eyed dreamer whose "big ideas never came to pass." 

To me, the loving presence of Jack's mother in this scene totally transforms the movie (to a lesser degree the story, where her character isn't quite as strong), and Roberta Maxwell's five minutes on screen is one of the best short performances I've ever seen.  The second time I saw the film, I noticed that she stands over Ennis with her hand on the back of his chair during the interview with Jack's father.  It flashed through my mind--she's protecting him from the father, just like she tried to protect Jack.  It occurs to me now that in those few moments she essentially adopts Ennis, giving him the same kind of unconditional love that she had given her son.  (One of my "happy ending" fantasies: after Jack's father dies, Ennis goes to visit Jack's mother on the pretense of seeing if she needs help around the ranch, and they are able to talk about Jack, which is healing for both of them).  The love Jack received from his mother is what gave him the ability and the need to commit to a loving relationship as an adult, in spite of all the obstacles he would face as a gay man.  Ennis, unfortunately, never had this kind of loving presence in his life until he met Jack, and it wasn't enough for him to overcome his fears.  It seems to me Jack's mother represents the persistence and resilience of love even in the most unforgiving of circumstances, which is one of the most beautiful messages of the film.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: rabbar on January 20, 2006, 11:29:00 PM
I wonder how many of us, like "alterboy" (Heh!), have fantasized our own "happy ending" for Jack and Ennis. Whenever I get to the end of the short story, I keep right on imagining different scenarios for our guys, otherwise I'm gonna be very sad for a long time.

Speaking of being sad, but kind of happy/sad, check out these imaginings from another BBM fanatic. Warning:  Keep some tissues close at hand...I'm just sayin'..

http://stevehtx.livejournal.com/
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: ImEnnisShesJack on January 21, 2006, 08:33:40 AM

Speaking of being sad, but kind of happy/sad, check out these imaginings from another BBM fanatic. Warning:  Keep some tissues close at hand...I'm just sayin'..

http://stevehtx.livejournal.com/

omg!  *sob*  That was beautiful!!!  I'd like to think that Jack would be looking out for him like that!!!

**empties tissue box**
damn, now I have to go to Costco on a saturday morning!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: ImEnnisShesJack on January 21, 2006, 08:41:05 AM
I do want to say, regardless of whether Jack's parents knew anything and/or condemned him for anything, the acting by Roberta Maxwell and Peter McRobbie was fantastic.  Amazing how it seems like even the smallest characters in this movie did such phenomenal work.

And I need a new thesaurus b'c I'm overusing all declensions of "amazing" and "phenomenal" in my ranting and raving.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: In Tears on January 21, 2006, 10:16:44 AM
Does anyone think that reference to the abusive way that Jack's father treated him  :'(( the bathroom incident when Jack was 3 or 4, included in the book)  should've been brought into this movie scene (as in a flashback  either of the event or of a conversation between Jack and Ennis -- as in the  story?

In my view, the simple answer is that inclusion of the urination, abuse, circumcision material this would have crossed too many lines for any general-distribution film.

1.  It would portray the two principals in the film, and by implication, all gay men, as unfortunate products of horrific abuse.  I think the Lee film walks this line, as it does so many tightropes, perfectly.
2.  It would move the focus of the story to a tragedy about the consequences of parental abuse.
3.  It would forever be the film where "the kid gets pissed on;"  it is bad enough being the "gay cowboy movie!"
4.  It would give rise to pointless dabates over "what causes it."  Pat Robertson, et al would go nuts. We'd be talking about circumcision, water sports, man-boy stuff; none of these have a thing to do with the heart of the story we all love.

I would appreciate other thoughts on this.

BTW, somewhere in the story there is a line about "beating babies" that also seems (to me) to be missing from the film.  I think the filmmakers omitted this for exactly the same reason.  Does anyone know where the line is and if it made it to the film?

Finally, to an extent, I believe J's father(in-law), who has not real part of the published story, is used to fill this void and illustrate J's humiliation.  I noticed that John Twist (story) and Lureen's dad (film) are both referred to as "stud duck." 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Scott88 on January 21, 2006, 10:26:05 AM
Quote
Does anyone know where the line is and if it made it to the film?

This line can be found in the short story during the final fishing trip.  Annie writes that Jack missed Ennis so much that he could "whip babies."

In the film, this line is replaced by Jack's statement, "The truth is...sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it."

I prefer the film's version.  The story's lines wouldn't translate well to film, and the film's line ties in to the theme about "standing" it.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: wjp58 on January 21, 2006, 03:18:25 PM
Re: Jack and his father -- There's a line in the book when Jack is telling Ennis about how his father never came to see him ride, and then: "though he had put him on the woolies when he was a little kid."

What are "the woolies"?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: shonuff07 on January 21, 2006, 03:24:42 PM
To me, the loving presence of Jack's mother in this scene totally transforms the movie (to a lesser degree the story, where her character isn't quite as strong), and Roberta Maxwell's five minutes on screen is one of the best short performances I've ever seen.  The second time I saw the film, I noticed that she stands over Ennis with her hand on the back of his chair during the interview with Jack's father.  It flashed through my mind--she's protecting him from the father, just like she tried to protect Jack.  It occurs to me now that in those few moments she essentially adopts Ennis, giving him the same kind of unconditional love that she had given her son. 

                Now I'm crying again from this portion of your post alterboy...hmm.
Jack's mother is so incredibly expressive....." you come back and see us again "........her face, you can see and feel the intensity.....Ennis is all she has left of her Son ( not doing good over here guyz ).
                And you're right..she is protective of Ennis....looming around the room like a safeguard.......and on the back of the chair.....sensing the potential danger in the room from her husband...protecting him with her kindness and accepting demeanor. She no doubt protected Jack this way from time to time..." You may go up to his room if you like..... I kept his room just the way he had it when he was a boy........"  ( like she was trying to idicate something to him secretly ) .....then.... the little horse and rider figurine on Jack's table ( Ennis was carving one similar to it in his tent when he was 19 while it was raining up on Brokeback Mountain ) and then the shirts.......damn....those shirts.......she nodded in approval of his keepsake and bagged it ........." You come back and see us again " ( almost begging with her eyes )

Mothers......... :'(
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: 909dot on January 21, 2006, 03:52:21 PM
And you know he will never go back...he couldn't... there is no comfort in that house for Ennis. He has taken the only thing that is Jack to him..."He pressed his face into the fabric and breathed in slowly through his mouth and nose, hoping for the faintest smoke and mountain sage and salty sweet stink of Jack but there was no real scent, only the memory of it, the imagined power of Brokeback Mountain of which nothing was left but what he held in his hands.." they couldn't have filmed that better....

Todd
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: HunterPDX on January 21, 2006, 04:20:36 PM
And you know he will never go back...he couldn't... there is no comfort in that house for Ennis. He has taken the only thing that is Jack to him..."He pressed his face into the fabric and breathed in slowly through his mouth and nose, hoping for the faintest smoke and mountain sage and salty sweet stink of Jack but there was no real scent, only the memory of it, the imagined power of Brokeback Mountain of which nothing was left but what he held in his hands.." they couldn't have filmed that better....

Todd

Though I could conceivably see him returning if Jack's mom were ever widowed. 

I had a funny little *wish*, too...when she gives Jack the paper bag, it sure looks to me like there is already something in it.  Would be nice to think she slipped Ennis a small jar with some of Jack's ashes.  I doubt it--and it's certainly not keeping with Annie's story--but imagination is allowed some license, right?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on January 21, 2006, 04:44:05 PM
WJP58: 

Woolies are sheep.  From this remark I infer dad did this when J must have been very very young, to start to teach him to ride.  Then, as dad became aware of his son's orientation, he never took it any further, never showed him any of his craft as a rider, because he rejected what he sensed in his son.

  Both protagonists are high school dropouts.  I infer J must have hung around a horsefarm or so and been self-taught to a large extent as a rodeo rider (the way my brother was in the 50's).
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: phlmale on January 21, 2006, 04:56:25 PM
And you know he will never go back...he couldn't... there is no comfort in that house for Ennis. He has taken the only thing that is Jack to him..."He pressed his face into the fabric and breathed in slowly through his mouth and nose, hoping for the faintest smoke and mountain sage and salty sweet stink of Jack but there was no real scent, only the memory of it, the imagined power of Brokeback Mountain of which nothing was left but what he held in his hands.." they couldn't have filmed that better....

Todd

Though I could conceivably see him returning if Jack's mom were ever widowed. 

I had a funny little *wish*, too...when she gives Jack the paper bag, it sure looks to me like there is already something in it.  Would be nice to think she slipped Ennis a small jar with some of Jack's ashes.  I doubt it--and it's certainly not keeping with Annie's story--but imagination is allowed some license, right?

I really try hard not to give in to any softening of the tragic end to this story...but I tell ya, during my last (3rd) viewing of the movie, eyes wet, I was imagining the exact same thing...would Ennis be back to Lightning Flats after Jack's father died, arrange with Jack's mother to dig up the ashes, and go up to Brokeback as Jack requested...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: shonuff07 on January 21, 2006, 05:01:24 PM
I had a funny little *wish*, too...when she gives Jack the paper bag, it sure looks to me like there is already something in it.  Would be nice to think she slipped Ennis a small jar with some of Jack's ashes.  I doubt it--and it's certainly not keeping with Annie's story--but imagination is allowed some license, right?
     


                             Now that, would have been cool....of course this would have given we the audience too much closure ;) So, no go.
But I can totally see the mother doing just that HunterPDX.....I like it.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: 909dot on January 21, 2006, 05:11:32 PM
I really try hard not to give in to any softening of the tragic end to this story...but I tell ya, during my last (3rd) viewing of the movie, eyes wet, I was imagining the exact same thing...would Ennis be back to Lightning Flats after Jack's father died, arrange with Jack's mother to dig up the ashes, and go up to Brokeback as Jack requested...
Quote

Thats so sweet...one can only hope... but Annie knew what she was doing with the end..."he didn't want to know Jack was going in there, to be buried on the grieving plain..." if you cant fix it, you gotta stand it
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: shonuff07 on January 21, 2006, 05:30:08 PM
I really try hard not to give in to any softening of the tragic end to this story...but I tell ya, during my last (3rd) viewing of the movie, eyes wet, I was imagining the exact same thing...would Ennis be back to Lightning Flats after Jack's father died, arrange with Jack's mother to dig up the ashes, and go up to Brokeback as Jack requested...
Quote

Thats so sweet...one can only hope... but Annie knew what she was doing with the end..."he didn't want to know Jack was going in there, to be buried on the grieving plain..." if you cant fix it, you gotta stand it

                      Well, I saw it again last night too......He knew what his buddy's dying wish was............and Ennis is starting to make some baby steps in responding to the needs of the ones you love ( i.e...his daughters wedding instead of his job )...........maybe he would have returned to feel the potential widow out concerning Jack's ashes...who was all but to inviting..." you come back again   "..............( eyes wet ) It certainly is a pleasant possibility.
            And let's remember " If you can't fix it...you gotta stand it..."           well, he just might be able to fix this one....
                                                                                             
                                                                                            " Jack...I swear "
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: phlmale on January 21, 2006, 05:55:04 PM
well said shonuff07..true or not it's a nice thought
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: raku on January 21, 2006, 07:43:33 PM
I'm interested to know what people make of the shirts being at Lightning Flat instead of in Childress. I would have thought Jack would keep the shirts with him.  I know they're with Jack's parents in the short story, and I don't think Ang Lee changes much from the novella so much as omits events in the novella, but I had some trouble reconciling the clear importance of the shirts to Jack, with their location where he don't hardly never see them.  Seemed a bit odd.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Scott88 on January 21, 2006, 08:18:44 PM
Raku, I believe Jack kept the shirts at his parent's place because it had always been his wish to bring Ennis up to his parent's ranch under the pretense of "whipping it into shape" (per his father's words). 

That is where he harbored the hope that he and Ennis could live a life together.  So it's fitting he kept the shirts there.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: David on January 21, 2006, 08:30:49 PM
Raku, I believe Jack kept the shirts at his parent's place because it had always been his wish to bring Ennis up to his parent's ranch under the pretense of "whipping it into shape" (per his father's words). 

That is where he harbored the hope that he and Ennis could live a life together.  So it's fitting he kept the shirts there.

Also, in Wyoming the shirts would be away from Lureen. She might try to wash them, ask, "Why is their blood on them?", or wonder why two shirts are together.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: phlmale on January 21, 2006, 08:31:55 PM
I agree..the shirts were safely hidden from Lureen up there.  in addition, he often went up to see his folks at the end of a visit with Ennis...the shirts at his parent's place allowed him to be with Ennis a little longer, in a sense..allowed him to try and experience that Brokeback Mtn moment again before returning to his miserable life in Texas.

odd any mother would let bloody shirts just sit there..that always struck me as odd..i'm certain she knew they were there
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: cricket99999 on January 21, 2006, 08:32:52 PM
I'm interested to know what people make of the shirts being at Lightning Flat instead of in Childress. I would have thought Jack would keep the shirts with him.  I know they're with Jack's parents in the short story, and I don't think Ang Lee changes much from the novella so much as omits events in the novella, but I had some trouble reconciling the clear importance of the shirts to Jack, with their location where he don't hardly never see them.  Seemed a bit odd.


Hi Raku,

I think Jack thought of the shirts as safest there.  He appreciated that his mother never changed things around in his boyhood bedroom.  Contrast that with Jack asking Lureen where his parka went; he coulda swore it was in that room, and we see him look in that closet and it's her office supplies...

Of course the real reason Annie Proulx had the shirts in Wyoming is that Ennis never would have found them if Jack kept them in Texas.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: David on January 21, 2006, 08:37:13 PM
odd any mother would let bloody shirts just sit there..that always struck me as odd..i'm certain she knew they were there

When asked about them, Jack undoubtedly told his mother to "leave them be" and "don't wash them."
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: phlmale on January 21, 2006, 08:39:14 PM

Of course the real reason Annie Proulx had the shirts in Wyoming is that Ennis never would have found them if Jack kept them in Texas.

LOL--like the Las Vegas slogan..what happens in Wyoming stays in Wyoming!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: phlmale on January 21, 2006, 08:40:45 PM
odd any mother would let bloody shirts just sit there..that always struck me as odd..i'm certain she knew they were there

When asked about them, Jack undoubtedly told his mother to "leave them be" and "don't wash them."

you must be right...but did that ever work with your mother?  Never did with mine... ;)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: cricket99999 on January 21, 2006, 08:41:00 PM
odd any mother would let bloody shirts just sit there..that always struck me as odd..i'm certain she knew they were there

When asked about them, Jack undoubtedly told his mother to "leave them be" and "don't wash them."
Hope Ennis thinks to say so to Alma Junior if he moves in with her (as per short story: might have to stay with married daughter until he finds work.)

Remind me it is fiction!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: raku on January 21, 2006, 09:43:02 PM
I'm interested to know what people make of the shirts being at Lightning Flat instead of in Childress. I would have thought Jack would keep the shirts with him.  I know they're with Jack's parents in the short story, and I don't think Ang Lee changes much from the novella so much as omits events in the novella, but I had some trouble reconciling the clear importance of the shirts to Jack, with their location where he don't hardly never see them.  Seemed a bit odd.


Hi Raku,

I think Jack thought of the shirts as safest there.  He appreciated that his mother never changed things around in his boyhood bedroom.  Contrast that with Jack asking Lureen where his parka went; he coulda swore it was in that room, and we see him look in that closet and it's her office supplies...

Of course the real reason Annie Proulx had the shirts in Wyoming is that Ennis never would have found them if Jack kept them in Texas.

Yeah, that parka -- I considered that was partly a way of showing the differing econ circs of Jack and Ennis -- Ennis is still stumbling around in various inadequate jackets, and Jack is turning up for reunions in increasingly nice clothes, including a parka.  Plus, it gives Jack a reason to see Lureen at work, which he describes to Ennis later.

But the shirts still bother me -- IMHO they should be with Jack; they're too important to be left behind.  20 years later, he certainly hasn't left Ennis behind.  Ah well.  AP's story, not mine. 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: raku on January 21, 2006, 10:17:26 PM
Something occurred to me tonight while watching the film for the seventh time.  The exact sequence of these lines:

Mr. Twist:  Tell you what, we got a plot and he's going in it.

Ennis:  Yes sir.

Mrs. Twist:  (Pleading in her eyes.) You'll come back again sometime.

She's telling Ennis to come again ... because she's going to switch the ashes on the old bastard and give them to Ennis.  (I know that's the last thing Ms. Proulx meant, but I'm trying to find at least one bright spot in this movie.)

And here's something else about this scene, specifically the cake.  She offers him a piece of cherry cake but when you see it, you realize they are so poor there's only one cherry in the actualy cake.  That always makes me laugh and cry.

Yes, tedh, that cherry cake really hit me too.  Out in the absolute back of beyond -- where the hell did she get cherries? It struck me as such a brave gesture, not to mention she actually has a cake ready in case anyone comes by.  Doesn't look like they get tons of guest traffic at their house, and yet here's cherry cake ready to go.  Amazing.  And then she's right there with the spare paper bag -- you can see Jack gets his optimism and care for others (grabs Lureen's hat so's it doesn't get squashed) from her.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: dudnkink on January 21, 2006, 10:43:24 PM
There's a rather moving review over on Yahoo (among all the trash) that is especially in love with this scene:

http://movies.yahoo.com/mvc/dfrv?mid=1808403312&s=rc_d&rvid=255-628017&i=1&spl=1&ys=YRVWHtUTldPEcu5q0YqHOg--


This is an old post, and I'm playing catch up --but thank you for this link.  For those who don't know, this gorgeous review is written by a senior (gentleman?)  OH Dear God, did I cry when I read this review.  I SOOO much want to show it to my mom and dad and make them see this brilliant work of art!  I noticed in every one of my viewings, the audience demographic is suprisingly older people.  What's up with that?  Gay kids?  The "Western" genre?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on January 21, 2006, 11:34:19 PM
phmale, no not odd.  They were in a hidden recess.  She must have guessed their significance at some point.  Mothers usually go through all a child's belongings left behind, especially an only child's.  She probably knew the second shirt was not J's, and knew why it was carefully placed inside the first.  She wouldn't have disturbed it.  And she gives permission to E to visit the room.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: fishinbuddy on January 21, 2006, 11:36:46 PM
My take on this scene is unchanged aftert ten viewings: It is obvious Jack's mom knows who Ennis is. She picked it up, as people do, from the way her son talked about him, the way he'd say his name, the way he looked when thinking and talking about him. And she loves Ennis for loving Jack and for bringing love into Jack's life. As for Jack's dad, he is I think quite what he seems, an old bitter man who has never been happy, never loved another person. It's clear from the way he says "Ennis Del Mar, Jack used to say" that he is using a mocking tone, mocking Jack's caring for this man, making as dramatic and gay-like voice as he can manage. He knows (even he picked it up from how Jack spoke), but has never approved. Never approved of Jack either. As for the mention of the 'other man this spring..." I believe Jack said it, and the old man is still mocking Jack. He has made it clear in the cold and hard way he said "I know where Brokeback mountian is" that he knows and knows Ennis was involved with Jack in some way...and that he disapproves of it (spits, figuratively on them). They both know why Ennis has come for the ashes and not letting him have them is one way of asserting himself over Jack again and repudiating what his son had become, denying Ennis's right to the ashes. I am sure the mom wouldn't have washed the shirts as she never changed anything in the room. They were obviously a shrine in their special location. And were there to keep them away from having to explain them to Lureen. I think it's marvelous how Heath had Ennis with tears in his eyes, weeping the entire time from when Jack's dad mentions the other guy, through the departure, without ever bawling. If you notice the tears in his eyes downstairs before he goes up, then when he sets the little figurine down and for just a split second the light reflects off his face, you can see it's wet under his eye where he is fighting crying but failing. The shirt scene is possibly the most human moment I have seen in a movie; so potently basic to our being, so common to so many of us who have faced loss, yet never discussed, never mentioned. There is a shirt incident in my past, too. unfortunately more than one, and I think it's great she put it in. As for Jack's dad not objecting to the shirts being taken, I don't think he cared. If he did he probably figured he had pushed Ennis as far as it was safe to go.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: peteinportland on January 21, 2006, 11:47:09 PM
Fishinbuddy, welcome!

Just so you are aware, you may not write lines like these:

"The shirt scene is possibly the most human moment I have seen in a movie; so potently basic to our being, so common to so many of us who have faced loss, yet never discussed, never mentioned. There is a shirt incident in my past, too."

They make the moderator cry, and I'm sure that is disucssed in the terms of use as something you should not do (especially as he has cried twice now in just three threads).

That was very beautifully put. Thank you.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: dudnkink on January 21, 2006, 11:54:03 PM
Oftentimes, Pete, reading these posts makes me cry more than when I actually see the film!   :'(
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: crcj on January 22, 2006, 12:20:00 AM
Tonight was the second viewing of the movie for me.  I went in a larger group this time and that was bad.  The movie has such a personal connection for me, that I was not able to appreciate everyone else's reactions.  Some people were not that emotionally touched by the film, and I found myself actually resenting that.  I feel emotionally spent and I wish I had my own Jack to turn to for comfort and love.  Alas, I am alone in my bed feeling very sad.

The magic of the second viewing is that you can forget about catching the story and focus on the nuances.  The two guys were so amazing when they were together.  I love Ennis a lot more after the second time, and I feel that Jake's performance has been so underrated.  He was truly spot on all the way through.

The scene with Jack's parents hit me in a different way tonight.  First, the lead-up to the scene was more powerful tonight.  I saw all of Ennis' anguish and the power/depth of his love tonight.  He wanted so desperately to be with Jack, but his fear so dominated his life.  The paradox of the longing with the absoluteness of his refusal to take a risk had to have crushed him.  By the time we got to this scene, I was so convinced of his love and commitment to Jack.

This set up a bit of a devestating second interpretation of the scene and the final "I swear" scene.  I think that as he sat in the kitchen with the parents, he had to have realized that his fears may have been misfounded to a degree.  He was interacting with the parents of his dead lover.  They welcomed (to a degree) him into their home.  He was not ridiculed or hated.  Instead, Jack's mother wanted him to feel welcome and connected to her son.  She let him take the shirts, and asked him to come back to visit again.  He had to have been struck with the reality that Jack's dream was more possible than Ennis had ever imagined.  Maybe they could have been together on that ranch.

The final scene then plays out a bit different as well.  I saw no more doubt in my interpretation.  Ennis was devestated at having lost 20 years of time with Jack.  His eyes were teary when talking to his daughter and he was practically breaking down when touching the shirts.  He recognized the lost opportunity to experience the happiness of Jack more fully.  And it was overwhelming for him.  Plus -- where did he have to go with those emotions, that trauma?  Nowhere.  How incredibly poignant and sad.  I wanted to reach out and hold him and comfort him.  And to have him comfort me in return.  How crazy is that!!!  So much for keeping fact and fiction separated.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DonFL on January 22, 2006, 02:05:27 AM
I agree that Jake's performance is seriously underrated. Heath did some tremendously fine acting but it wouldn't be the movie it is if jake hadn't been just perfect.

To you guys who posted earlier that its  strange that Mrs Twist had a cherry cake prepared, you must be city folk! My grandmother baked  a couple of times a week on a farm. You baked for your husband. He was home for lunch and  dinner and dessert was always part of the meal. Its not just about serving company.

Don
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: shonuff07 on January 22, 2006, 04:44:07 AM
                             Thanx dudnkink'
I never saw the interview link....this old man with fine eyes really hit the nail on the head with Jack's mother didn't he?



 "    In our opinion one of the best parts in the entire movie occur when Ennis goes to the ranch of Jacks parents. Mrs. Twist feels an immediate connection with him and tries to mother him with Cherry cake and coffee. She has heard the name Ennis Del Mar often from Jack and in her heart of hearts she knows WHO he is. In order to confirm her thoughts she invites him to go up to Jacks childhood room knowing what Jack had put in the closet twenty years ago. As Ennis comes back down the stairs she sees the contents in his hand and knows there could be only one other person in the world except Jack that would know the importance of it. The look in her eyes and her small gestures as she hands him the sack is simply heartbreaking. You can almost hear that mothers heart shattered by the loss of a child scream out "I loved my boy Jack and I don't know and I don't care why you were so important to him but I know you were and I love you for it." But all she can actually say is that he is welcome back anytime. You can feel her total isolation as she watches him leave knowing she has just lost another piece of her sons life. Roberta Maxwell as Jacks mother is pure perfection   "

mmmm.  Moms :'(
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: phlmale on January 22, 2006, 07:41:06 AM
I agree that Jake's performance is seriously underrated. Heath did some tremendously fine acting but it wouldn't be the movie it is if jake hadn't been just perfect.

Don

an amazing film that brought together a brillant cast, crew, director, screenwriters, music and original story...this could have flopped so badly...regressing to cheap sentimentalism..but it didn't...they all understood what the focus was....and look at the reaction..I never go back to see films again in the movie theater (sure, maybe later with dvd, on tv )..yet I've seen BBM 3 times, and the only reason I haven't gone back for the 4th time is that I need to function in real life, and this movie rips my soul a little more each time...

for me it's Heath's portrayal that was just perfect..from all the comments similar to the one above throughout the threads, i suspect we all connected so deeply to the movie because we see something about our lives on screen, and we connect with that character....I have to say though that while my first viewing was dominated by Ennis' storyline, as he's the lead, the 2nd viewing let me watch Jack's situation and plot line..it was as if I went to see a completely different film that night.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on January 22, 2006, 08:26:40 AM
fishinbuddy, you are correct.

"He had some half-baked idea the two a you was goin a move up here, build a log cabin, and help me run this ranch and bring it up.  Then this spring he's got another one's goin a come up here with him and build a place and help run the ranch, some ranch neighbor a his from down in Texas.  He's goin a split up with his wife and come back here...."

Father does not mention the sex of the "other one".  I don't think Jack told two stories, one to Ennis and one to his father a few days later.  In both instances, I think he talked about fooling around with the rancher's wife.

The first mention was in response to Ennis' mention of the "woman in Riverton".  I think both were "lies" mentioned by the author.  But the father used the reference, twisted it into the statement above. No doubt to punish Ennis. (And in the beautifully acted scene in the film, he succeeds: Ledger's eyes are filled with tears from that point on, something I didn't notice before.  Father's statement also lets Ennis know how far Jack had developed his dream of a life together.)

Both parents knew Jack's orientation.  Father started teaching him to ride on the "woolies", then stopped, wouldn't share his expertise, a form of rejection I think because he sensed Jack's orientation.  As many have said already, mothers always know.

As bitter as father is, there is still some deep residue of the parental bond.  The most devastating loss is the death of a child, particularly an only child.  So, keeping him in the family plot, while it also thwarts Ennis and disregards the deceased's wish, reflects that father, like mother Lureen and  Ennis, all have a claim on Jack in death.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: In Tears on January 22, 2006, 10:55:50 AM
The shirt scene is possibly the most human moment I have seen in a movie; so potently basic to our being, so common to so many of us who have faced loss, yet never discussed, never mentioned. There is a shirt incident in my past, too. unfortunately more than one, and I think it's great she put it in.

Indeed.  Bless you for this beautiful and brave insight.

I don't find that I care about the location of J's ashes; it is the shirts' resting place that is sacred to me!

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on January 22, 2006, 10:58:07 AM
Also, the performance of the actor playing Jack's father is just as brilliant as the other two in the "wake" scene.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: raku on January 22, 2006, 02:14:33 PM
I agree that Jake's performance is seriously underrated. Heath did some tremendously fine acting but it wouldn't be the movie it is if jake hadn't been just perfect.

To you guys who posted earlier that its  strange that Mrs Twist had a cherry cake prepared, you must be city folk! My grandmother baked  a couple of times a week on a farm. You baked for your husband. He was home for lunch and  dinner and dessert was always part of the meal. Its not just about serving company.

Don
Hi, Don, not city folk, just folk from cherry country (me, anyhow).  Cherry trees don't much grow in the kind of land we were shown around the Twist ranch.  I suppose the obvious thing to use would be apples -- longer growing season, less prone to rot, marginally easier to store, etc.  But Annie Proulx doesn't waste a word:  I took "cherry cake" to be some kind of beacon.  Mrs. Twist desperately hoping for visitors?  Somehow expecting Ennis to arrive and wanting to do her level best by him? (which she does, of course).  I dunno, something like that.  But cherries per se struck me as so unlikely as to be noteworthy. 

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DonFL on January 22, 2006, 11:35:25 PM
I agree that Jake's performance is seriously underrated. Heath did some tremendously fine acting but it wouldn't be the movie it is if jake hadn't been just perfect.

To you guys who posted earlier that its  strange that Mrs Twist had a cherry cake prepared, you must be city folk! My grandmother baked  a couple of times a week on a farm. You baked for your husband. He was home for lunch and  dinner and dessert was always part of the meal. Its not just about serving company.

Don
Hi, Don, not city folk, just folk from cherry country (me, anyhow).  Cherry trees don't much grow in the kind of land we were shown around the Twist ranch.  I suppose the obvious thing to use would be apples -- longer growing season, less prone to rot, marginally easier to store, etc.  But Annie Proulx doesn't waste a word:  I took "cherry cake" to be some kind of beacon.  Mrs. Twist desperately hoping for visitors?  Somehow expecting Ennis to arrive and wanting to do her level best by him? (which she does, of course).  I dunno, something like that.  But cherries per se struck me as so unlikely as to be noteworthy. 



I was focusing more on the "cake" part rather than the "cherry" part.  Some said it was odd that Mrs T has cake at the ready to offer. Maybe Annie P did have some symbolism in mind when she specified "cherry cake". I hadn't thought about it like that. Based on the pictures of the Twist ranch, it didin't look like anything grew there, not apples, not nothing. My ancestor's farm was, ahem, modest, but it looked palatial next to that Swift place. An earlier post says that you can see that the cake has only one cherry in it. I didn't notice that level of detail and I'm not seeing the movie again because I'm still crying from the first 2 times. As I remember it, my grandmother wasn't above using Thank You Brand cherries, etc. so maybe the can opener theory is the right answer.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: happycamper on January 23, 2006, 11:09:03 AM
The scene with Jack's parents hit me in a different way tonight.  First, the lead-up to the scene was more powerful tonight.  I saw all of Ennis' anguish and the power/depth of his love tonight.  He wanted so desperately to be with Jack, but his fear so dominated his life.  The paradox of the longing with the absoluteness of his refusal to take a risk had to have crushed him.  By the time we got to this scene, I was so convinced of his love and commitment to Jack.

This set up a bit of a devestating second interpretation of the scene and the final "I swear" scene.  I think that as he sat in the kitchen with the parents, he had to have realized that his fears may have been misfounded to a degree.  He was interacting with the parents of his dead lover.  They welcomed (to a degree) him into their home.  He was not ridiculed or hated.  Instead, Jack's mother wanted him to feel welcome and connected to her son.  She let him take the shirts, and asked him to come back to visit again.  He had to have been struck with the reality that Jack's dream was more possible than Ennis had ever imagined.  Maybe they could have been together on that ranch.
crcj, this is a good point. Jack's father, although he was angry and mean, didn't seem that opposed to Jack's scenario. Even though he didn't approve of his son, it sounded like he would have liked the help with the ranch.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lucee on January 23, 2006, 11:47:15 AM
To me, the loving presence of Jack's mother in this scene totally transforms the movie (to a lesser degree the story, where her character isn't quite as strong), and Roberta Maxwell's five minutes on screen is one of the best short performances I've ever seen.  The second time I saw the film, I noticed that she stands over Ennis with her hand on the back of his chair during the interview with Jack's father.  It flashed through my mind--she's protecting him from the father, just like she tried to protect Jack.  It occurs to me now that in those few moments she essentially adopts Ennis, giving him the same kind of unconditional love that she had given her son. 

                Now I'm crying again from this portion of your post alterboy...hmm.
Jack's mother is so incredibly expressive....." you come back and see us again "........her face, you can see and feel the intensity.....Ennis is all she has left of her Son ( not doing good over here guyz ).
                And you're right..she is protective of Ennis....looming around the room like a safeguard.......and on the back of the chair.....sensing the potential danger in the room from her husband...protecting him with her kindness and accepting demeanor. She no doubt protected Jack this way from time to time..." You may go up to his room if you like..... I kept his room just the way he had it when he was a boy........"  ( like she was trying to idicate something to him secretly ) .....then.... the little horse and rider figurine on Jack's table ( Ennis was carving one similar to it in his tent when he was 19 while it was raining up on Brokeback Mountain ) and then the shirts.......damn....those shirts.......she nodded in approval of his keepsake and bagged it ........." You come back and see us again " ( almost begging with her eyes )

Mothers......... :'(

As with most, this scene was heart-wrenching for me.  On my second viewing of the movie I was more clearly able to see her protectiveness and understanding of Ennis, and of Jack.   In talking with someone about the loss of her son you most likely would find her next to her husband, finding comfort in him (or because of his controlling nature), not finding that comfort in a stranger.  But to her, Ennis is no stranger.  She probably knew about those shirts for quite some time and I'm guessing never quite knew their true meaning until she sees Ennis with them.  You can see the look on her face and there is no doubt in her mind anymore about why those shirts have been there for so long.  I also think Ennis's bravery and resolution in his love for Jack in this scene floors me.  Jack's mom is the first person he's ever tolerated knowing so clearly what he and Jack meant to one other.  At long last he finally doesn't run from such an encounter...and that's what is so sad for me, that it takes Jack's death for this to happen.


And correct me if I'm wrong, but Lureen has never been to Lightening Flat correct?  This would explain why...it's where he "kept" Ennis and their dream alive.  And he would never have let his Dad around her after telling him his plans for he and Ennis.

Damn, gotta control the waterworks while here at work.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: GSN on January 23, 2006, 12:07:28 PM
I have seen the movie twice and have read the short story several times.  The question of whether Jack's dad knew about Jack being gay is a hotly contested matter between me and my partner.  My partner says yes, undoubtedly Jack's dad knew.  I say that whether or not he knew (subconsciously or otherwise), that scene (as buttressed by that same section of the short story) was about Jack's dad needing to be a stud duck in front of "the" man that Jack had always said would join him to lick his dad's ranch into shape.  I think Jack's dad behavior in that scene could be better characterized as one of incredulity that his son would not only think that he needed help but also that his son never came through with his promises in the first place.  In other words, I believe that Jack's dad had disappointment and hatred for his son - not directly because he was gay, but just because (some parents are just born to hate their children).  The book mentions that Jack's dad pissed all over him because Jack had a tendency to wet his bed.  The book and movie also mention how Jack's dad never shared his rodeoing secrets with Jack.  I seriously doubt that such bad behavior stemmed from his knowledge of Jack's orientation.  I think these historical facts are what makes that scene (as well as all of the characters in this scene) so compelling.  Some people are just born to hate.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: jim ... on January 23, 2006, 03:32:58 PM
ok...so here's my attempt to lighten things up here for a second.  I'm curious as to what you all think about Jacks' father spitting in his coffee cup.  Other than it's pretty disgusting, here are a few options I came up with.

a)  it's a symbol of his basic disgust for his son and/or for Ennis

b)  it's a raunchy habit .... period!

c)  he's saving money on creamora   :-\

d)  none or all of the above

thoughts?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: helen_uk on January 23, 2006, 03:40:36 PM
I think that it was probably a habit - but in this instance it was also to show his disgust.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: In Tears on January 23, 2006, 04:20:31 PM
I have seen the movie twice and have read the short story several times.  The question of whether Jack's dad knew about Jack being gay is a hotly contested matter between me and my partner.  My partner says yes, undoubtedly Jack's dad knew. 

IMO, "I know where Brokeback Mountain is!" is John Twist's proclamation that he knows exactly what his son was and who E is.  John's detailed description of J's dreams of leaving his wife and bringing other men to live with him at Lightning Flat resolves any doubts about what he knew, doesn't it?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: David on January 23, 2006, 04:21:20 PM
I have seen the movie twice and have read the short story several times.  The question of whether Jack's dad knew about Jack being gay is a hotly contested matter between me and my partner.  My partner says yes, undoubtedly Jack's dad knew.  I say that whether or not he knew (subconsciously or otherwise), that scene (as buttressed by that same section of the short story) was about Jack's dad needing to be a stud duck in front of "the" man that Jack had always said would join him to lick his dad's ranch into shape.  I think Jack's dad behavior in that scene could be better characterized as one of incredulity that his son would not only think that he needed help but also that his son never came through with his promises in the first place.  In other words, I believe that Jack's dad had disappointment and hatred for his son - not directly because he was gay, but just because (some parents are just born to hate their children).  The book mentions that Jack's dad pissed all over him because Jack had a tendency to wet his bed.  The book and movie also mention how Jack's dad never shared his rodeoing secrets with Jack.  I seriously doubt that such bad behavior stemmed from his knowledge of Jack's orientation.  I think these historical facts are what makes that scene (as well as all of the characters in this scene) so compelling.  Some people are just born to hate.

GSN, I agree with your take.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: shonuff07 on January 23, 2006, 04:32:32 PM

               
                           what you all think about Jacks' father spitting in his coffee cup ?             

                                                 
                        It's   b) & c)    it's a raunchy habit that helps him save on creamora    8)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: shonuff07 on January 23, 2006, 04:41:41 PM
IMO, "I know where Brokeback Mountain is!" is John Twist's proclamation that he knows exactly what his son was and who E is.  John's detailed description of J's dreams of leaving his wife and bringing other men to live with him at Lightning Flat resolves any doubts about what he knew, doesn't it?

                        It does for me....." I know where brokeback mountain is" ......the mother is fidgeting nervously, cause she knows too.
In that environment, what man wouldn't be thought to be Homosexual in nature , who would continue to speak of coming back to his parents place, building a cabin with another man, and work on the ranch..................and then, when that doesn't happen,  speak of leaving your wife to take up with some other man in the same to be built cabin...........THEY GOT THE GIST OF IT EVEN IF IT WAS NEVER SAID OUTRIGHT BY JACK.

And that's 4Sho!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: trcarr on January 23, 2006, 05:47:45 PM
Upon my 4th viewing yesterday, I (belatedly) caught another sublety which makes it quite clear that "Mom Knew" about Jack and Ennis.

As Ennis leaves the house, he turns, gestures to the bag, and silently mouths "thank you" to Mrs. Twist in the doorway.   She responds with a silent nod of the head, a faint wistful smile amdist the noble dignity of a grieving mother.

Perhaps she had come to this realization many years before.  Or maybe it was only after finally meeting the much-talked-about Ennis when she completed that section about her son, the enigmatic jigsaw puzzle.   We'll never know ...

I fully agree with others that Roberta Maxwell gave a magnificent performance in her few brief moments.

As for Jack's father -- what a vile, wretched excuse for a human being!  His emphatic spit into the coffee cup spoke volumes: he likewise knew.  But however unsympathetic the character was, praise is also due for a vivid portrayal by Peter McRobbie.   




Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on January 23, 2006, 07:50:30 PM
GSN, remember in the wake scene, father also says "I can't get no help up here" and author notes all the other ranches are abandoned, blanked out windows on the houses every 10 miles  and fences down (that would be about right for 1983, the Reagan recession)  on the drive up.  So, I think he was open to some help from Jack and whomever else.

Also, recall father started teaching Jack to ride on the "woolies", then stopped, wouldn't impart any more of his expertise.  Why?  I've suggested he stopped teaching Jack because he sensed his orientation very early and withdrew/rejected Jack.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: David on January 23, 2006, 08:22:30 PM
Who knows but Ennis may have been the only friend of Jack to ever visit the Twists. The Twists never met Lureen, didn't come to Jack's wedding, nor went to his funeral. Interesting that the only "friend" to probably visit was the only person Jack ever truly loved.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: In Tears on January 23, 2006, 08:32:15 PM
Upon my 4th viewing yesterday, I (belatedly) caught another sublety which makes it quite clear that "Mom Knew" about Jack and Ennis.

As Ennis leaves the house, he turns, gestures to the bag, and silently mouths "thank you" to Mrs. Twist in the doorway.   She responds with a silent nod of the head, a faint wistful smile amdist the noble dignity of a grieving mother.

Perhaps she had come to this realization many years before.  Or maybe it was only after finally meeting the much-talked-about Ennis when she completed that section about her son, the enigmatic jigsaw puzzle.   We'll never know ...

I fully agree with others that Roberta Maxwell gave a magnificent performance in her few brief moments.

As for Jack's father -- what a vile, wretched excuse for a human being!  His emphatic spit into the coffee cup spoke volumes: he likewise knew.  But however unsympathetic the character was, praise is also due for a vivid portrayal by Peter McRobbie.   

Agreed on all points.  Yes, mothers always know.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: GSN on January 23, 2006, 09:35:11 PM
GSN, remember in the wake scene, father also says "I can't get no help up here" and author notes all the other ranches are abandoned, blanked out windows on the houses every 10 miles and fences down (that would be about right for 1983, the Reagan recession) on the drive up.  So, I think he was open to some help from Jack and whomever else.

Also, recall father started teaching Jack to ride on the "woolies", then stopped, wouldn't impart any more of his expertise.  Why?  I've suggested he stopped teaching Jack because he sensed his orientation very early and withdrew/rejected Jack.

DaveL -  OK, OK  after re-reading (which I haven't done in a while), my partner was right after all, Jack's dad knew.  I hate it when that happens.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: case on January 23, 2006, 11:25:24 PM
Up in Jack's bedroom, it was very moving to see the bench where Jack sat looking out his window. (OK, I'll admit it. I wept. Like crazy.) It's such a brief image yet it speaks volumes to me. Jack sat there many, many times throughout his life imagining what it would be like to leave everything; to be with Ennis. I'm sure he was sitting there after hanging their shirts in his closet.

It dovetails so nicely when Ennis is looking out his apartment window thinking about nearly the same thing. Their romance is starting anew. He's giddy just imagining what it will be like after Jack arrives in Riverton. Another nice parallel.


Ennis sits on Jack's bench and looks out the window. I know this may be a stretch for some, but for me it's a comforting bit of completion (a bookend, if you will) to see Ennis breifly sharing Jack's vision of a f*ckin real good life together.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: petetown on January 24, 2006, 04:00:44 AM
Caught this the last time.
When Ennis is sitting at the table with the old man in the begginning of that scene, he glances quickly at the chair in the middle of the table.....as if to say, "Jack should be there."
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: In Tears on January 24, 2006, 12:03:10 PM
Up in Jack's bedroom, it was very moving to see the bench where Jack sat looking out his window. (OK, I'll admit it. I wept. Like crazy.) It's such a brief image yet it speaks volumes to me. Jack sat there many, many times throughout his life imagining what it would be like to leave everything; to be with Ennis. I'm sure he was sitting there after hanging their shirts in his closet.

It dovetails so nicely when Ennis is looking out his apartment window thinking about nearly the same thing. Their romance is starting anew. He's giddy just imagining what it will be like after Jack arrives in Riverton. Another nice parallel.


Ennis sits on Jack's bench and looks out the window. I know this may be a stretch for some, but for me it's a comforting bit of completion (a bookend, if you will) to see Ennis breifly sharing Jack's vision of a f*ckin real good life together.

Very true.  Then there is also the trailer window in the last scene....
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on January 25, 2006, 12:21:57 AM
well, not to pile on, but I believe you will notice on the wall shelf in the bedroom an ancient stuffed toy animal that mother has kept. teddy bear or ----?  Are there any more emotional stops to be pulled out in that particular room?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: marius on January 25, 2006, 03:48:01 AM
To me, the loving presence of Jack's mother in this scene totally transforms the movie (to a lesser degree the story, where her character isn't quite as strong), and Roberta Maxwell's five minutes on screen is one of the best short performances I've ever seen.  The second time I saw the film, I noticed that she stands over Ennis with her hand on the back of his chair during the interview with Jack's father.  It flashed through my mind--she's protecting him from the father, just like she tried to protect Jack.  It occurs to me now that in those few moments she essentially adopts Ennis, giving him the same kind of unconditional love that she had given her son. 

                Now I'm crying again from this portion of your post alterboy...hmm.
Jack's mother is so incredibly expressive....." you come back and see us again "........her face, you can see and feel the intensity.....Ennis is all she has left of her Son ( not doing good over here guyz ).
                And you're right..she is protective of Ennis....looming around the room like a safeguard.......and on the back of the chair.....sensing the potential danger in the room from her husband...protecting him with her kindness and accepting demeanor. She no doubt protected Jack this way from time to time..." You may go up to his room if you like..... I kept his room just the way he had it when he was a boy........"  ( like she was trying to idicate something to him secretly ) .....then.... the little horse and rider figurine on Jack's table ( Ennis was carving one similar to it in his tent when he was 19 while it was raining up on Brokeback Mountain ) and then the shirts.......damn....those shirts.......she nodded in approval of his keepsake and bagged it ........." You come back and see us again " ( almost begging with her eyes )

Mothers......... :'(

As with most, this scene was heart-wrenching for me.  On my second viewing of the movie I was more clearly able to see her protectiveness and understanding of Ennis, and of Jack.   In talking with someone about the loss of her son you most likely would find her next to her husband, finding comfort in him (or because of his controlling nature), not finding that comfort in a stranger.  But to her, Ennis is no stranger.  She probably knew about those shirts for quite some time and I'm guessing never quite knew their true meaning until she sees Ennis with them.  You can see the look on her face and there is no doubt in her mind anymore about why those shirts have been there for so long.  I also think Ennis's bravery and resolution in his love for Jack in this scene floors me.  Jack's mom is the first person he's ever tolerated knowing so clearly what he and Jack meant to one other.  At long last he finally doesn't run from such an encounter...and that's what is so sad for me, that it takes Jack's death for this to happen.


And correct me if I'm wrong, but Lureen has never been to Lightening Flat correct?  This would explain why...it's where he "kept" Ennis and their dream alive.  And he would never have let his Dad around her after telling him his plans for he and Ennis.

Damn, gotta control the waterworks while here at work.
I would like to point out one shot in that most moving scene. Which is when Ennis appeared to be deeply hurt by learning there was someone else in Jack's plan.
Ledger's expression was so heartbreaking that you expect him to breakdown in tears in front of the old man. At this precise moment a hand came to touch his right shoulder. It was the mother's hand. Then she started to tell him about Jack's room. The invitation to visit Jack's room seemed to be rescue to ease Ennis' pain. If that was true. Then I think this is the moment when she fully understood who Ennis really is in Jack's heart . For she Had been watching Ennis from the minute he entered their house.
Also someone said that she was protecting Ennis from Jack's father. I agree with this idea. She looked very terrified by her husband. The expression of her eyes reveal this fear of her man. And yet, she will most of the time physically stand as close to Ennis as possible. We don't see her standing next to the father, where one would expect her to be standing by.


Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: wjp58 on January 26, 2006, 09:54:35 AM
For all of dad's flaws, I don't really see him as homophobic, especially by the standards of his time and place.  He's upset at, and contemptuous of, Jack for thinking he was too good and for all his dreams and schemes that never amounted to anything, but the fact that Jack's plans involved bringing another man up there doesn't seem to bother him per se.  And maybe that, combined with mom's warmth and understanding, made Ennis see that Jack's dream for them wasn't as impossible as he had thought.

And I just love mom in these scenes.  The gentle hand on E's shoulder.  The way she's almost ready and waiting to wrap up the shirts when E comes down the stairs.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: happycamper on January 26, 2006, 09:56:56 AM
And I just love mom in these scenes.  The gentle hand on E's shoulder.  The way she's almost ready and waiting to wrap up the shirts when E comes down the stairs.
The way she clutches her throat when dad says that Jack is going in the family plot instead of back up on Brokeback with Ennis!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lucee on January 26, 2006, 10:35:56 AM

I would like to point out one shot in that most moving scene. Which is when Ennis appeared to be deeply hurt by learning there was someone else in Jack's plan.
Ledger's expression was so heartbreaking that you expect him to breakdown in tears in front of the old man. At this precise moment a hand came to touch his right shoulder. It was the mother's hand. Then she started to tell him about Jack's room. The invitation to visit Jack's room seemed to be rescue to ease Ennis' pain. If that was true. Then I think this is the moment when she fully understood who Ennis really is in Jack's heart . For she Had been watching Ennis from the minute he entered their house.
Also someone said that she was protecting Ennis from Jack's father. I agree with this idea. She looked very terrified by her husband. The expression of her eyes reveal this fear of her man. And yet, she will most of the time physically stand as close to Ennis as possible. We don't see her standing next to the father, where one would expect her to be standing by.



I agree that I think when she touches him to tell him about his room is her moment of full understanding of what Ennis meant to Jack.  I think weather Ennis had come down with those shirts or not she would have still known....it was just a confirmation that the shirts had just found their way to their new rightful home, even if Jack's ashes couldn't.

Well dang...in sitting here thinking about the shirts I can't believe I haven't remembered how many times I myself have done this very thing.  Trying to come up with any excuse to take home a guy's sweatshirt so you could wear it the next day and feel wrapped up and warm inside it, with the faint smell of them still on it.  And of course the smile and comfort it brings as the memories wash back over you....**sigh**  I can only imagine those shirts help Jack keep the memories alive of that wonderful first summer, especially until he saw Ennis again.

But I digress...lol....I too saw that look of fear in her eyes, but also a subtle look of determination.  Despite being afraid of how her husband might react, she was still going to do what she could for this young man (somehow I just think that's what she would have thought of him in that endearing motherly way) because it's what her beloved son would have wanted.

Roberta Maxwell's performance was spot on and so powerful in those scenes, and so important, because that was one of the last impressions the audience leaves with so the drama, pain, and emotion of the movie is not lost.  (And of course Heath and Peter McRobbie did their part as well :D)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: In Tears on January 26, 2006, 10:42:21 AM
Well dang...in sitting here thinking about the shirts I can't believe I haven't remembered how many times I myself have done this very thing.  Trying to come up with any excuse to take home a guy's sweatshirt so you could wear it the next day and feel wrapped up and warm inside it, with the faint smell of them still on it.  And of course the smile and comfort it brings as the memories wash back over you....**sigh**  I can only imagine those shirts help Jack keep the memories alive of that wonderful first summer, especially until he saw Ennis again.

Neither the story nor the film indicate whether E checked the underwear drawer.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: patroclus on January 26, 2006, 01:31:00 PM
This whole scene at Jack's parents is hanging around in my head and heart as the climax of the film for me at the moment. The story is about Ennis. If you think of the film as being ultimately about Ennis, rather than Ennis and Jack, then this scene is one of transformation and a kind of release. For the first time in the film Ennis is in the presence of another person who knows about his love for Jack and who radiates acceptance (other than Jack, of course!). Everyone else either explicitly disapproves ('Jack Nasty') or implicitly does. And the two most dispossessed, destitute, desolated people in the whole film offer each other the most intense, richest experience of simple, undemanding human acceptance. The intensity between them as their eyes lock and communicate in utter silence is the most spiritually uplifting part of the film, I find. And I'm an atheist, by the way! The gifting of the shirts is the concrete expression of this but it's what passes between them both in that bare, scrubbed little house that cracks my heart open.

The righteous, condemnatory attitude of the fundamentalist Christian churches towards their imagined idea of the film (because most people saying things like this haven't actually seen it) springs to my mind. Because Jack's mother absolutely radiates the sort of Christ-like love and utterly tranquil acceptance and peace which I thought Christianity promoted as its finest quality. Don't they say something about Faith, Hope and Charity, but the greatest of these is Love? Very ironic that such a quality is found in such a supposedly 'immoral' work...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: chaya on January 26, 2006, 08:21:49 PM
Ennis sits on Jack's bench and looks out the window. I know this may be a stretch for some, but for me it's a comforting bit of completion (a bookend, if you will) to see Ennis breifly sharing Jack's vision of a f*ckin real good life together.

To me, seeing Ennis sitting at the window is so sad! He's sitting in Jack's bleak little room, looking out at the hard, dry landscape. He must have been thinking about how hard Jack worked to get away from there, to find happiness, and how Ennis' fears prevented them both from achieving real happiness, and now it's too late.  :'(
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: chaya on January 26, 2006, 08:38:43 PM

Also someone said that she was protecting Ennis from Jack's father. I agree with this idea. She looked very terrified by her husband. The expression of her eyes reveal this fear of her man. And yet, she will most of the time physically stand as close to Ennis as possible. We don't see her standing next to the father, where one would expect her to be standing by.


I agree that I think when she touches him to tell him about his room is her moment of full understanding of what Ennis meant to Jack.  I think weather Ennis had come down with those shirts or not she would have still known....it was just a confirmation that the shirts had just found their way to their new rightful home, even if Jack's ashes couldn't.

Roberta Maxwell's performance was spot on and so powerful in those scenes, and so important, because that was one of the last impressions the audience leaves with so the drama, pain, and emotion of the movie is not lost.  (And of course Heath and Peter McRobbie did their part as well :D)

I agree, she was protective of Ennis. Jack's father is one scary dude. She is certainly fearful of him, which is what makes her performance so powerful. She's walking a tightrope of not angering her husband while showing concern for Ennis. Just as Ennis is leaving, when Jack's father states again that Jack will be buried in the family plot, she nervously puts her hand to her throat. I'm sure she's experienced plenty of his wrath. It just makes you love Jack more, that he had such an awful father and still became an open, loving person. Jack's mom knew exactly what Ennis meant to Jack.  It probably gave her comfort to help console the person who so dearly loved her son.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: shonuff07 on January 26, 2006, 10:01:55 PM
                            I thought that this interview with an older married man who saw the film summed Jack's Mom & Ennis up as well....here it is.

 "    In our opinion one of the best parts in the entire movie occur when Ennis goes to the ranch of Jacks parents. Mrs. Twist feels an immediate connection with him and tries to mother him with Cherry cake and coffee. She has heard the name Ennis Del Mar often from Jack and in her heart of hearts she knows WHO he is. In order to confirm her thoughts she invites him to go up to Jacks childhood room knowing what Jack had put in the closet twenty years ago. As Ennis comes back down the stairs she sees the contents in his hand and knows there could be only one other person in the world except Jack that would know the importance of it. The look in her eyes and her small gestures as she hands him the sack is simply heartbreaking. You can almost hear that mothers heart shattered by the loss of a child scream out "I loved my boy Jack and I don't know and I don't care why you were so important to him but I know you were and I love you for it." But all she can actually say is that he is welcome back anytime. You can feel her total isolation as she watches him leave knowing she has just lost another piece of her sons life. Roberta Maxwell as Jacks mother is pure perfection   "
mmmm.  Moms :'(
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lucee on January 27, 2006, 01:16:08 PM
I agree, she was protective of Ennis. Jack's father is one scary dude. She is certainly fearful of him, which is what makes her performance so powerful. She's walking a tightrope of not angering her husband while showing concern for Ennis. Just as Ennis is leaving, when Jack's father states again that Jack will be buried in the family plot, she nervously puts her hand to her throat. I'm sure she's experienced plenty of his wrath. It just makes you love Jack more, that he had such an awful father and still became an open, loving person. Jack's mom knew exactly what Ennis meant to Jack.  It probably gave her comfort to help console the person who so dearly loved her son.

The throat grab was chilling for me.  Such a nervous and a self-protective gesture.  You could see her wanting to scream, reach out and hug Ennis, scream at John...something....but she had to keep herself in check.

And then when Ennis turns around to thank her when he's on the porch....you can see he's not only thanking her for letting him take the shirts, but for accepting what he and Jack meant to one another. 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: shonuff07 on January 27, 2006, 10:01:54 PM
The throat grab was chilling for me.  Such a nervous and a self-protective gesture.   she had to keep herself in check.

And then when Ennis turns around to thank her when he's on the porch....you can see he's not only thanking her for letting him take the shirts, but for accepting what he and Jack meant to one another. 

      She was really working the body language through out the entire scene...Like she was trying to communicate more than the words she was using.......the eyes and hands........really effective actress!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Cowboysnkisses on January 28, 2006, 10:52:44 PM
Jack's mother's touching protectiveness of Ennis against the hateful cruelty of Jack's father may have even more meaning.  She must have known about the shirts and what they meant.  Guiding Ennis up to the room at just the moment the father mentions a possible rival for Jack's affections--it's almost an interruption--may be her way of telling him that the father was lying--or at least wrong about Jack's feelings or intentions.  The shirts will speak the truth even if Jack's mother cannot.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwp2paris on January 28, 2006, 11:24:54 PM
He did not leave with the ashes...the bag was empty when the mother unfolded it, the shirts were rolled into a bulky mass when stuffed into the bag, and I think that the knowing look that Jack's mother gave was for the shirts...she knew they meant something special to her son...why else did she keep them and not launder them all those years?

It is an amazingly beautiful scene...Ennis seeing the world as Jack saw it out of his window, the closet, the parents...I'm  crying even as I think of it.

In the novella, Ennis passes the family plot and realizes that Jack is destined for an eternity there on the flat plains of nothingness....this gives the shirts and the postcard of Brokeback Mountain even more meaning. Jack...I swear you are not condemned to some sorry-ass family plot...I swear you will live on, young, happy, and always finding your way back to Brokeback Mountain.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on January 30, 2006, 11:56:34 AM
In the scene where Ennis is in Jack's room, as he enters the closet where the shirts are, we see Jack's dresser, with an old-fashioned wind-up clock stopped at a quarter to nine (or nine fifteen, I'm not sure), a rickety model of a covered wagon and a pair of brown, scuffed, toddler's ankle-high shoes, the ones poor little Jack most probably wore to take his first steps. Get a lump in my throat every single time, and then Ennis finds the shirts and I just lose it.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Sooty on January 30, 2006, 12:47:39 PM
why else did she keep them and not launder them all those years?

That reminds me... if bloodstains meant that the clothes never went through the laundry, how come there was no longer a smell? Is it because... it was there for twenty years? If it wasn't laden with dust, then Jack must have took good care of it, frequently taking it out, reminiscing and admiring the shirts... it comes as absolutely no surprise that Jack's mother know exactly what Ennis was taking away with him.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: helen_uk on January 30, 2006, 12:52:26 PM
Since Jack was only at his parent's house infrequently I think that his mother would have taken the shirts out and given them a brush every now and again so that they wouldn't end up full of dust.  Very early on there must have been a conversation between them where Jack indicated that they weren't to be washed.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Sooty on January 30, 2006, 01:02:33 PM
Sigh, every single time I think of how Jack's mother knew about Ennis, I become overwhelmed by sadness. Her unconditional love for Jack truly made a great impact on her son, for her son inherited her capacity for the same kind of love.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: David on January 30, 2006, 02:54:25 PM
The scene with Jack's mother, as Ennis is leaving, really got me. She enlarges her eyes (with pleading) and says, "You come back and see us." That was one desperate and earnest display. Incredible.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: philchan on January 30, 2006, 03:42:50 PM
Sigh, every single time I think of how Jack's mother knew about Ennis, I become overwhelmed by sadness. Her unconditional love for Jack truly made a great impact on her son, for her son inherited her capacity for the same kind of love.

Even more than that. The mother must have been the one to teach Jack how to demonstrate tenderness and care for another human being (Ennis) Jack is such a sweet character, it's easy to see how Ennis fell for him. And it was the memory of Ennis's own mother who Ennis mimicks in that dozy embrace that Jack remembers so vividly across the 20 years.

Both Ennis and Jack's fathers are portrayed in a very negative light, it's the mother's that show the way.
In possessing some traditionally "feminine" softness, both Jack and Ennis are better fathers/people. Though this is more clearly seen in Jack
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: fujiclimber on January 31, 2006, 05:53:38 PM
OK, call me obsessed and feel free to call my crazy, but I wonder about something.

Ennis sits there at the kitchen table hearing John Twist mention how Jack had planned
on bringing a different rancher guy there to help out.

I wonder if Ennis remembered when Jack told him he was having a fling with the "ranch hand's wife" and now understood it was another guy he was having a relationship with.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: angela_toronto on January 31, 2006, 09:08:46 PM
when ennis opens the window in jack's boyhood bedroom, you hear the cawing of a crow.  this gives me chills, there is so much symbolism in the cawing of a crow.

http://www.askyewolfe.com/symbolism-crow.html

"...they assumed the role of wizened spies, messengers and confidants"
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on January 31, 2006, 09:32:20 PM
when ennis opens the window in jack's boyhood bedroom, you hear the cawing of a crow. 

Yes, you do.  I wondered why. 

Ennis discovers the half-eaten sheep, of course there are crows.  A crow flies over the white truck when Jack talks to Ennis post-divorce, I guess to show the link between "outing" and the tire-iron in E's mind.  But why a crow outside little Jack's room?  Just because Ennis is thinking about the tire iron then; or is it to sort of "book-end" Jack's life -- from the farmhouse to the tire iron-- or.... what?  I don't get it.

Dal
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: dog.day.king on February 01, 2006, 12:05:37 AM
                            I thought that this interview with an older married man who saw the film summed Jack's Mom & Ennis up as well....here it is.

 "    In our opinion one of the best parts in the entire movie occur when Ennis goes to the ranch of Jacks parents. Mrs. Twist feels an immediate connection with him and tries to mother him with Cherry cake and coffee. She has heard the name Ennis Del Mar often from Jack and in her heart of hearts she knows WHO he is. In order to confirm her thoughts she invites him to go up to Jacks childhood room knowing what Jack had put in the closet twenty years ago. As Ennis comes back down the stairs she sees the contents in his hand and knows there could be only one other person in the world except Jack that would know the importance of it. The look in her eyes and her small gestures as she hands him the sack is simply heartbreaking. You can almost hear that mothers heart shattered by the loss of a child scream out "I loved my boy Jack and I don't know and I don't care why you were so important to him but I know you were and I love you for it." But all she can actually say is that he is welcome back anytime. You can feel her total isolation as she watches him leave knowing she has just lost another piece of her sons life. Roberta Maxwell as Jacks mother is pure perfection   "
mmmm.  Moms :'(


Thanks for that powerful interpretation


Saw the movie again this evening. I've seen it every two weeks, not too often don't want to spoil it with boredom. In earlier viewings I had trouble reading the parents' behavior.

Tonight I saw and felt more of Mrs. Twist's acting. Interesting that she is wearing a similar color sceme as the denim jacket over Ennis's shirt: blue sweater over green house coat with a line pattern running both directions like Ennis's paler green plaid shirt.

She was alarmed at the mention of the ashes. John Twist must have gone over it endlessly with his final dismissal of Jack. And she must have had to placate him endlessly. To invite Ennis up to the room she had to muster her courage. There a glassy look in her eyes when she does.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: OnesEnough on February 01, 2006, 12:31:50 AM
Yeah, could not agree more.

I think there is also a universal message of love here - I think Ennis finally realizes that not everyone is ready to hate him for loving Jack - some might bless their love (Jack's mother). In the development of Ennis's character this is his "coming out" or his coming to terms with himself and his love for Jack.

Anyone else feel this way about it?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: OnesEnough on February 01, 2006, 02:27:23 AM
And one more thing - look at Ennis - on the verge of cracking up when he talks to John Twist, the subtle expression change after Jack's mother places her hand on his shoulder - the way he clutches to the shirts when going past the father and the tacit understanding between him and Jack's mother, and his strength when he replies to Jack's father "Yes Sir".
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: helen_uk on February 01, 2006, 07:07:32 AM
And one more thing - look at Ennis - on the verge of cracking up when he talks to John Twist, the subtle expression change after Jack's mother places her hand on his shoulder - the way he clutches to the shirts when going past the father and the tacit understanding between him and Jack's mother, and his strength when he replies to Jack's father "Yes Sir".

Yes, he has the shirts now, so the ashes matter a little less.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: OnesEnough on February 01, 2006, 08:00:38 AM
Thanx helen_uk: Yes, the shirts (or what they mean to him) are something like wings or a second wind!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: dogged on February 01, 2006, 09:27:44 AM
Reading through this whole thread, I thought, does Jack's mother really KNOW that Jack was in love with Ennis?

Certainly, she knows, but only on a certain level. This is the way I see it, based on my own experience.

My mother was Pentecostal, and I'm gay. My upbringing was lower middle class rural near a small city with a college -- compared to the austere rural poverty of Jack's parents who were probably not near any city. Oddly, when I first moved to Colorado, the house I bought bore a strong resemblance to the one Jack grew up in. Peeling paint, small rooms, low ceiling, very plain. I tore out walls and put in new windows, floors etc. all by myself, and queer eyed it into Barbie's dream cottage and sold it for three times what I paid.

I think Jack's mother knew on a certain level -- at least that Ennis was the best friend Jack ever had -- someone he spoke of with more enthusiasm and admiration than Lureen or his child. But there is no way of knowing if she knew they were lovers, unless you envision Jack telling her at some point, which is possible. Otherwise, it would be too easy to deny such a notion, since Jack had a child with Lureen. And parents do a lot of denial before they come to see their children as gay or bi.

On the other hand, "blood" has important meaning in Christianity, blood sacrifice, being washed in the blood, and I see the mother preserving two bloody shirts knowing that they had deep meaning to her son.

I agree with the people who thought Jack's father was too self centered and overworked to even be aware that Jack's moving there with another man, Randall or Ennis, would involve him being in a love relationship. Even if they lived together, he wouldn't know or care. After all, he didn't care about seeing his grandchild. Jack's father just wanted and needed help with the ranch and probably went crazy from the isolation through the years. Got tired of pushing around the wife and wanted a peon.

I picture Jack's parents feeling awkward about the class distinction between Lureen and her people, with Lureen's Dad who sold $100,000 combines, more money than Jack's father earned in a lifetime, even if he'd been able to save any of it. If they had any life savings, it was probably a few hundred dollars in a cookie jar, or money Jack might send them if they needed an operation or something. So, Jack's Mom would want to meet Lureen and see the grand kid, but would probably defer to the father, who wouldn't care, or be put off by the uppityness of Lureen and kin. College girl and all, thinks she's too good for us probably. Also, after a while, Jack was spending some of his vacation, seeing Ennis. Jack had enough money, at one point, to bring his parents down to Texas, but they probably couldn't just leave the ranch. Animals need tending. Also, would Jack really want his parents to come near his blowhard of a father in law or his calculating -- as in using an adding machine -- bleach blond Jezebel of a wife. Jack's parents reminded of Grant Wood's AMERICAN GOTHIC.

Lureen not wanting to visit Jack's parents, could have to do with her absorption in work, herself, and not taking a true interest in understanding her husband. She could have a fear about seeing the austere environment where he grew up.

My first true love grew up on a small farm as an only child. Their nearest neighbor was a mile away. I couldn't imagine growing up in such isolation. He suffered from it. Had a fear of being alone that I didn't.  I had lots of neighbors and friends as a child. Little girls chasing me around on the playground trying to touch me, boys wanting to be my best friend. He was love starved, and made a bee line for NYC after graduating from a small college. He wanted to be around throngs for the rest of his life. Anyway, back to Jack's family. People who grow up with that degree of isolation and privation, aren't usually too hip about gay lib. In the 60's and 70's there was rarely a mention of it on TV or in the news paper, except in connection with something like the John Wayne Gayce murders.

Farm/ranch people can also take homosexuality very matter of factly, when it is stated clearly to them. When it comes to having a gay son, Pentecostal or otherwise, a mother will very often love her child unconditionally.

The reason I understand people's acceptance of homosexuality in levels, is that it is how I accepted my own. When I was young, I knew at a certain level I had gay feelings, but I denied it to myself and others. This is common. It came to a point where I couldn't deny it to myself, when at 22 I fell in love with a fellow athlete while training in Europe. Even though I never had sex with him, I knew from the first weeks, that no matter how much I liked girls, wanted a family, etc., that I was basically gay, and there was nothing left to do but face it with dignity and ingenuity, and not drag some unsuspecting woman into a marriage that would be deceptive, unhappy or fail. But parents, especially religious ones, don't have those feelings in themselves, to fully understand the problems gay people face. Maybe this movie will help some understand. Rather than hysterically confronting their children, instead maybe they will be more like Jack's mom, a guardian of feelings and objects that are important to their child.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: adamblast on February 01, 2006, 09:34:54 AM
That's a wonderful analysis, dogged, and beautifully written. 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mbsp0505 on February 01, 2006, 10:09:48 AM
OK, call me obsessed and feel free to call my crazy, but I wonder about something.

Ennis sits there at the kitchen table hearing John Twist mention how Jack had planned
on bringing a different rancher guy there to help out.

I wonder if Ennis remembered when Jack told him he was having a fling with the "ranch hand's wife" and now understood it was another guy he was having a relationship with.

This is always how I have taken the reference to work (and in the book it is the only mention of the rancher that we have since the scenes where Randall and Jack meet do not appear).

What a twist of the knife into Ennis's heart this must be! To know that Jack left Ennis that Spring, went to his parent's house and announced his intention to share his life with a man other than Ennis. That must just raise so many questions for Ennis as to whether Jack had finally "quit him" and then for him to find the shirts.....

i don't think jack would ever be able to "quit" ennis. not the way they loved each other. jack just wanted to move on... but no, never quite ennis... you never quit or forget a love like that.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: dogged on February 01, 2006, 11:48:17 AM


What a twist of the knife into Ennis's heart this must be! To know that Jack left Ennis that Spring, went to his parent's house and announced his intention to share his life with a man other than Ennis. That must just raise so many questions for Ennis as to whether Jack had finally "quit him" and then for him to find the shirts.....
That's the beauty of it, the gray areas. Ennis is used to privation and lonliness, accepting things for the way they are. Jack is wilder, wants more, does more, like Mexico. Wants more than his life with Lureen and son. He's willing to follow Ennis to the ends of the earth, but if Ennis won't leave, even after he's divorced, and sometimes cuts their three times a year get-togethers down to two, there's nothing he can do about it, but find someone who is willing to make a life full time. I think Jack could have loved Randall, maybe not as much as Ennis, but a life with Randall may have been preferable to a few high altitude fucks a year with Ennis, who was bound by responsibility and fear.

The introduction of Randall also provided a way for Ennis to interpret Jack's death, and in a way provide a slight lessening of guilt, to know that Jack was not killed because of someone finding out about Jack and himself. It was also a dramatic device that adds reality and complexity to the story. With the mention of Randall at Jack's parent's house, we know that Jack lied about having an affair with a ranch foreman's wife. In reality, he was doing the foreman. Jack lied to Ennis about that because he loved Ennis, and knew him well enough that he didn't want to hurt and anger him, or risk losing him. Jack was doing everything he could to try to make Ennis come around, for 20 years, but Ennis was stubborn, and afraid.

I had a similar experience to Jack's. I didn't even think about this until starting to write this. My waiting was only two years instead of 20. I waited 2 years for a person's situation to change -- which I considered a certainty -- so I could settle down with this person for ever and ever. It wasn't a divorce, but similar. I sympathize with Jack thinking that after all these years, Ennis getting a divorce would change things, and how mad and crushed he was when it didn't. For me, when the situation didn't change after two years, I called it quits. I wasn't going to wait four more years, which was the expected time frame.

However, the beauty of it is that life is temporal -- I'm thinking of Tennessee Williams writing about short-lived insects -- and how some people have to live the passion in their lives in the intensity of very short time periods. Brokeback, their other times together. Growing up as Ennis did, even his love for Jack could not transcend his fears. The universal nature of the story is that even after Jack's death, Ennis's love for him transcends time and death.

There is hardly a feeling person over forty, who doesn't have the passing of a loved one, to consider all the should haves and could haves, and misses them for the rest of their days. This story is going to make a lot of people consider what they have in their relationships, much moreso than if Jack and Ennis had lived happily ever after.

 





Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: patroclus on February 01, 2006, 02:32:52 PM


I think there is also a universal message of love here - I think Ennis finally realizes that not everyone is ready to hate him for loving Jack - some might bless their love (Jack's mother). In the development of Ennis's character this is his "coming out" or his coming to terms with himself and his love for Jack.

Anyone else feel this way about it?

One's Enough - yes - I posted this after seeing the film a second time: If you think of the film as being ultimately about Ennis, rather than Ennis and Jack, then this scene is one of transformation and a kind of release. For the first time in the film Ennis is in the presence of another person who knows about his love for Jack and who radiates acceptance (other than Jack, of course!). Everyone else either explicitly disapproves ('Jack Nasty') or implicitly does. And the two most dispossessed, destitute, desolated people in the whole film offer each other the most intense, richest experience of simple, undemanding human acceptance. The intensity between them as their eyes lock and communicate in utter silence is the most spiritually uplifting part of the film, I find. And I'm an atheist, by the way! The gifting of the shirts is the concrete expression of this but it's what passes between them both in that bare, scrubbed little house that cracks my heart open.

The righteous, condemnatory attitude of the fundamentalist Christian churches towards their imagined idea of the film (because most people saying things like this haven't actually seen it) springs to my mind. Because Jack's mother absolutely radiates the sort of Christ-like love and utterly tranquil acceptance and peace which I thought Christianity promoted as its finest quality. Don't they say something about Faith, Hope and Charity, but the greatest of these is Love? Very ironic that such a quality is found in such a supposedly 'immoral' work...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Island in the Sea on February 01, 2006, 02:34:51 PM


What a twist of the knife into Ennis's heart this must be! To know that Jack left Ennis that Spring, went to his parent's house and announced his intention to share his life with a man other than Ennis. That must just raise so many questions for Ennis as to whether Jack had finally "quit him" and then for him to find the shirts.....

Jack lied to Ennis about that because he loved Ennis, and knew him well enough that he didn't want to hurt and anger him, or risk losing him. Jack was doing everything he could to try to make Ennis come around, for 20 years, but Ennis was stubborn, and afraid.

I think Jack's father was showing Ennis tough love, not cruelty.  John Twist was telling Ennis in effect, "I see that you are queer and so was my son.  My son has been seeing other men.  Wake up!  Know that you are seen by others as queer, know that your love for my son was maintained for so long because you didn't want to acknowledge that he was seeing other men."  John Twist, as a tough old stud-duck was the first person stronger than Ennis to tell him the truth. Ennis couldn't threaten him the way he threatened Alma when she delivered her "Jack Nasty" speech.  Although it seems mean for John Twist to say these his words to Ennis after Jack's death, he was doing Ennis a favor. He was trying to shake him from the dozy embrace of Brokeback and free him from the confines of his fears and fantasies.

Jack had lied to Ennis because he was afraid to wake him to the truth that they were both queer and there were lots of other queers in the world. Jack kept Ennis in the dark so that he would not lose him. Jack wanted Ennis to be a character in one of the plays he was writing about his life, but may not have loved him enough to help him grow.

John Twist may have seen that Ennis was fooled into believing Jack's stories.

John Twist's words may have deflated Ennis enough so that he could begin life anew, with Brokeback in its proper perspective: a fantastic first love that never grew old because it never grew up.  Jack, in his remembrance of the dozy embrace, comes to see Brokeback as a "one time thing", but not a basis for a lifetime together.  Perhaps John Twist's words will help Ennis come to see his love for Jack this way.  The tragedy of the story is that it took so long for the two of them to deflate their juvenile infatuation.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: helen_uk on February 01, 2006, 06:25:55 PM
The tragedy of the story is that it took so long for the two of them to deflate their juvenile infatuation.

Whoa!

Of course Jack didn't want to lose Ennis.  He loved him.  I really don't believe an infatuation would have stood the test of time, one or other of them (or both)  would've become bored and moved on.  I think Jack could've helped Ennis grow, but if he'd forced this he may have lost Ennis altogether.

Maybe Jack's father thought it was tough love, but he was a thoroughly unpleasant person who had no compunction about being cruel to anyone.  And cruel he was.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on February 01, 2006, 07:05:45 PM
Just a reminder that the screenwriters changed the father's line from a reference to "another one" in the book, to "another fella" in the film.  I've argued earlier that J probably gave the same story to father he had told E a few days earlier, in May 1983, about the "rancher's wife";  that this was one of the "lies" they tell each other on the 3rd night of that trip, and that father sees who E really is when he first meets him, recalls J's story, and twists it around refering to the "other one" in order to hurt E (it works).  It is similar to Alma telling E she thinks he should get married again.  She really doesn't believe that, it is just said to see what the response is.  The father's reference to the"other one" should be seen in the same light, not as evidence that J was ready to "quit" E (because at the final parting, he indicates he doesn't know hot to do so). Or so I have argued.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Island in the Sea on February 01, 2006, 07:13:14 PM
The tragedy of the story is that it took so long for the two of them to deflate their juvenile infatuation.

Whoa!

Of course Jack didn't want to lose Ennis.  He loved him.  I really don't believe an infatuation would have stood the test of time, one or other of them (or both)  would've become bored and moved on.  I think Jack could've helped Ennis grow, but if he'd forced this he may have lost Ennis altogether.


Yes, Helen, but Jack should have risked losing Ennis to gain a more honest, full relationship.

I am trying to understand what brought Jack and Ennis so much sadness.  I use the short story, rather than the screenplay or movie as a source. Therefore I am not as swayed by the attractiveness of the actors.

Ennis and Jack fall in love so beautifully.  Ennis "felt he could paw the white out of the moon".  What a phrase for falling in love without really knowing what is happening!!!

Why does it turn out so badly?  In my opinion, when they first started to plan the getaways together they started on a long road of being together but not growing together.  The conversation they had at their last meeting shows the deflation of their illusions about each other and their relationship. "Like vast clouds of steam from thermal springs in winter the years of things unsaid and now unsayable - admissions, declarations, shames, guilts, fears- rose around them." 
They hadn't talked about important things over all those years on their wilderness trips. They continued to delude themselves that their passionate coupling, maintained in private, was so precious that they couldn't test it in the world of other people. They told lies to each other (Jack especially) that they were maintaining a heterosexual front to the world. In my opinion this is an effort to keep an egocentric juvenile pleasure alive too long. Their love did not mature.  This is the tragedy. The tragedy is not that life did not provide them with a wonderful place to live exactly as they wanted.  Life provides that to nobody. 

I don't want to be a downer here. I want to find out how they might have avoided the sorrowful end that Ennis suffers.  Ennis needs to go through a deflation so that he can start building anew. Jack had done that.  He was engaged in "pumping up a flat" (his flat life) at the end.  I think Jack's father, however cruel his words, was trying to get Ennis started on the process.
 



Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: dog.day.king on February 01, 2006, 07:35:25 PM
If we do in fact see a more hopeful Ennis in the final scene of the movie, I believe that his transformation occurred during his visit with Jack's parents.  Here, Ennis finally meets Jack’s Pentecostal mother, in a room where the walls are adorned with religious symbols.  Jack’s mother, who has kept Jack’s bedroom like a shrine, invites Ennis to go up alone to Jack’s bedroom, surely knowing what it would mean to him to be among Jack’s possessions, as by this time she undoubtedly had figured out their relationship.  She also knew, I believe, the treasure that Jack left behind for Ennis, if he would only see and accept it.  When Ennis goes into the room he first goes to the window, opens it, and looks out as if to signify that he is willing to open and peer inside the window to his soul.  Then, Ennis goes over to the closet where he  finds the shirts.  Ennis takes the bloodied shirts from the closet, clutches, then smells them.  When Ennis brings the shirts down from the bedroom, Jack’s mother nods her head knowingly and, without asking any questions, she places them in a brown paper bag for Ennis to take home.  Ennis then leaves, not with the ashes of a dead Jack to be strewn on a mountain, but with something more precious that will allow Jack to live on in his dreams. 


After reading this and seeing the movie again I find the Twist parent scene also full of hidden meaning. I was completly baffled by what was going on with Jack's mother. She looked scarey, only because of her husband's mean-spiritedness.

What we see are veiled opposites. The father offers only a blanket condemnation, exactly  what we are to expect from him based on Jack's stories.  The mother offers redemption (if that isn't too strong a word) and access to the shrine. Opening the window allows Ennis to stay longer, enough to

Quote
....peer into the window of his soul.


he picks up the shoes, worn-down by life's journey, and finds the hidden alter...hidden from the condemnation of the father. Ennis has been thrice wounded:

1. hearing Jack say "I wish I could quit you." at their last parting
2. by Jack's death
3. by the news of a new man in Jack's life

Possession of the shirts redeems him of these blows.

Can anyone build on this? I believe there's more here that I'm not seeing.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Mimo on February 02, 2006, 06:23:56 AM

Saw the movie for the 3rd time last night and suddenly realized something.

I never quite understood what was going on in this scene before - now I do.

It punched me in the gut soo hard.

In the bottom of the bag are a part of his ashes...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: helen_uk on February 02, 2006, 06:46:16 AM

In the bottom of the bag are a part of his ashes...

How can there be?  Jack's mother takes a folded, flat paper bag from the worktop, opens it and puts the shirts in. 

No ashes.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Mimo on February 02, 2006, 07:03:29 AM

Maybe I'm wrong - could be just wishful thinking.
Thanks for your attention to detail, I can't remember her picking up the bag!
Was trying to make sense of what her character is doing in that scene - something is going on and it's not just the obvious - nothing in this movie is.
My question is: is there any time lapse between her picking up the bag (not that I remember that - each time I've been an emotional wreck at this point) and offering it to Ennis to put the shirts in?
I feel there's much more going on in this scene than meets the "blurry" eye.

Damn, now I'll have to go see it again to try to clarify!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: helen_uk on February 02, 2006, 08:50:08 AM
She picks up the bag, opens it, turns round and puts the shirts in.

The significance is all in the shirts and what they represent.  Jack's mother sent Ennis upstairs because she knew the shirts were there, and guessed their significance.  When Ennis came down with them, she knew their meaning.

It's all in the shirts.  :)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: sick_of_beans on February 02, 2006, 10:51:04 AM
She picks up the bag, opens it, turns round and puts the shirts in.

The significance is all in the shirts and what they represent.  Jack's mother sent Ennis upstairs because she knew the shirts were there, and guessed their significance.  When Ennis came down with them, she knew their meaning.

It's all in the shirts.  :)

Yup.

And it's also nice how, right before putting the shirts in the bag, she pauses for a couple seconds and is clutching them both in her hand. This is another way for her to show Ennis that she understands their significance.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: trinket on February 02, 2006, 08:20:25 PM
She picks up the bag, opens it, turns round and puts the shirts in.

The significance is all in the shirts and what they represent.  Jack's mother sent Ennis upstairs because she knew the shirts were there, and guessed their significance.  When Ennis came down with them, she knew their meaning.

It's all in the shirts.  :)

Yup.

And it's also nice how, right before putting the shirts in the bag, she pauses for a couple seconds and is clutching them both in her hand. This is another way for her to show Ennis that she understands their significance.

Just saw it for the 3rd time.
The first time I THOUGHT the ashes were going to be in the bag then realized that wasn't so.
Tonight I noticed the exchange between Ennis and Jack's mom, like I hadn't the first 2 times.  When he steps out the door to leave and turns and looks at her and the way he gestures with the bag and oh so quietly thanks her and they both nod.  whew...that said volumns!  it was gut wrenching for me this time.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: tom on February 02, 2006, 08:30:45 PM
hey all...i nabbed a copy of the dvd that is sent out to members of the voting academy.  i had to get it out of my place as having it here was too draining.   i had the opportunity to see a lot of scenes repeatedly.  what kills me in jacks's parents house, is how his mother clutches her throat when her husband starts to speak about the ashes.  it is mavelously played scene from beginning to end.   mothers always know when their sons are gay.  of course, the father knew as well, but she was willing to recognize him as jack's lover.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Markus on February 03, 2006, 09:25:28 AM
Please excuse my english as this is not my first language.

I don't know if somebody mentioned this before, but when Jacks mother is putting the shirts in the bag she stretches out 2 fingers exactly when Ennis is pulling his hand away from the shirt. So her fingers glide softly over his hands while he pulls it away.

THAT scene broke my heart!

It is barely visible at the left corner of the screen.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: dog.day.king on February 03, 2006, 10:43:08 AM

I don't know if somebody mentioned this before, but when Jacks mother is putting the shirts in the bag she stretches out 2 fingers exactly when Ennis is pulling his hand away from the shirt. So her fingers glide softly over his hands while he pulls it away.

THAT scene broke my heart!

It is barely visible at the left corner of the screen.

WOW! thanks Markus!

5 times and I never noticed that ....
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: gblady on February 03, 2006, 11:05:44 AM
I guess I will just have to go again....I never noticed her hand touching his.   What I always get a gut reaction from is the tiny little hesitation she does as she puts the shirts in the bag. I imagine her thinking, can I really let these go? And then, yes, they belong to him.  As a mother of young men, the parting from them is one of the most difficult tasks a Mom has to do, even in the best of situations.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lucee on February 03, 2006, 12:16:29 PM

Tonight I noticed the exchange between Ennis and Jack's mom, like I hadn't the first 2 times.  When he steps out the door to leave and turns and looks at her and the way he gestures with the bag and oh so quietly thanks her and they both nod.  whew...that said volumns!  it was gut wrenching for me this time.

Uggghhh....very gut wrenching.  That stuck me at my first viewing.  You can see in his eyes that the thank-you is so much more than just for the shirts.....it's for showing him tenderness, compassion, and understanding at a time when no one else could realize how much he was hurting.  This is the only person with whom he has any chance to grieve with over Jack's death, but also the only person with whom he's had a chance to express his love for Jack as well.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on February 03, 2006, 08:35:55 PM
Notice that in the book the mechanics of how the shirts are "spirited" away are left to the imagination.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: beanie on February 04, 2006, 04:50:38 AM
I think it's problematic to lump Jack's mother and father together when you ask the "they" questions, because they are polar opposites when it comes to the issue of Jack's sexuality and Jack & Ennis's relationship.

Jack's mother is a kind, compassionate woman who accepted her son's sexuality and paid Ennis the respect afforded a grieving spouse because she appreciated that her son had been loved.

In contrast, Jack's father was a hateful man whose disdain for his son's sexuality and his relationship with Ennis was abundantly clear.


Leaping in for my second post on the forum to say I agree, but would take it one step further. I think Jack's father's attitude comes from more than Jack's sexuality or even the father's knowledge of it (which I am in two minds as to whether he knew about). We hear Jack talk about his father and parent's place at various points through out the earlier stages of the film. It seems clear to me that even as a young boy, Jack could probably do not right in his father's eyes. (Of course there is the comments in the book about how his father treated him at one stage when he was displeased with him).

I think John Twist was a deeply bitter man regardless of his son's sexual preferences or rodeoing/marriage.  How this happened is not addressed nor hinted at (that I can remember). He may have been brought up like that himself or grown that way when life didn't turn out how he wanted it to. Which ever, from the book it is obvious that John Twist was always like that towards his son from a young age (contrast that with the wonderful scene where Jackhas his son in the tractor going for a ride).  For all we know it is because Jack inherited his mother's loving nature and was not "tough" like his father.

Quote
It was equally clear, to me, that the refusal to give Jack's ashes to Ennis was a unilateral decision made by Jack's father.  Jack's mother is clearly regretful and uncomfortable with the decision; she nervously massages her neck when Jack's father announces the decision. 

I agree. I felt as much pain for Jack's mum at this point as I did for Ennis. I think would have gladly let Ennis take Jack's ashes to the mountain and may be have even ventured there herself if she had the opportunity (not sure about this point). She was devastated by her husband's one final act of betrayal / hate towards her son.

Quote
In my view, Jack's mother has nothing but the utmost reverence for what Ennis and Jack shared, and she's genuinely grateful for the obvious love Ennis had showered upon Jack (the Roberta Maxwell interview is excellent on this point).  If it had been in her hands, she would have gladly given him the ashes so that Ennis could have spread them on the one place that had given their lives meaning. 

Where is this interview? I'd love to read it.

Quote
Jack's parents responded in radically different ways.  One with compassion and love, the other with ignorance and hatred.

The contrast between them was vivid.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: wulf on February 04, 2006, 04:55:50 AM
I have to agree with all the above post that the mother absolutely knew.  The compassion and unconditional love she entends to Ennis completely caught him by surprised and contrast strongly with the harsh father.  In the movie portrayal at least, the father is ambigous.  We have Jack's complaining of never coming to see me ride and never showin me nothin but that Jack is given to compainting in the future.  We get the impression that Jack felt neglected by the father but given their abject proverty maybe he doesn't have time to go see his son playing at rodeo when there is real work to be done.  With that aside, I still think, his father comment about the other fella is aiming to hurt and did it ever.  I'm just not sure if he is an embitter old man who is doom to die as the range is falling into ruins all around him or the real SOB that some of post made him out to be.  Marvelously written and acted and left open to intrepretation. 

The acceptance by the mother completely floors me and is a testament to be best of human spirits.  If only Jack has drag Ennis on his sorry ass up her on some excuse or other, she may have been able to save them all.  As has been pointed, Jack's loving nature is no doubt a product of her hand and she can work the same magic with Ennis.  We see his transformation in the very circumspected and brief interaction between them.  Oh Ennis, I dearly hope you will visit again and regain the love of the mother that is lost so tragically early.  He needed to see that acceptance and love from someone else other than Jack to bring Brokeback out of the mountain.  Another opportunity missed...

The scene with the shirts is just brillant.  The inhalation.  How we wish there is smellivision.  Oh course, it is too late and there is only scent of a memory.

Last note and I think this haven't been mention before.  The paperbag.  The move starts with Ennis clutching a paperbag with his shirt and he leaves the parents place with the same 20yrs later.  Someone mention that truck arriving at the beginning and away from the parents place represents Ennis spiritual journey and while I missed that in the movie, the paperbag and its content jumps out at me as the same.  20yrs later, Ennis is still broke and as he said of himself, a man who ain't got much don't need much but what he has is Jack's love symbolized in that shirt.  Him recovering the shirt in the same paperbag i think symbolize his ability after oh so very long to accept that what Jack and he has belongs not just in idyll Brokeback but everyday life aided in no small part by the mother.  Everything came full circle and while it is too late for happiness with Jack, I think, I hope Ennis is the road to acceptance of himself and I cling to the believe that his acceptance to attend Alma Jr. wedding is a postive sign of that recovery.  Of course, this is temper with the fact that the shirts hangs in the closet and not openly displayed so there is still a ways to go but for a long time since their first reunion, I felt he has taken a step in the right direction.  My hope and wish for Ennis' salvation is the hope for the Ennis' in us all.   :-[
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: beanie on February 04, 2006, 05:02:23 AM
I completely agree with Scott on this scene.  It's exactly how I interpreted it.  Jack's father is a mean, nasty SOB, who takes out his anger, frustrations and disappointments on anyone within reach.  On that remote farm, that would have been Jack (before he left) and Jack's mother.  Jack's mother walks on eggshells all the time, trying not to provoke her husband.  She's timid and fearful.  That's why her compassionate and tender treatment of Ennis is so heart-wrenching, because we know she is taking some risk by doing it.

How many Scott's are there here?  ;)

Your comments on Jack's fathers character are spot on. I saw him as one of those bitter individuals who believe everything wrong is everyone else's fault, and they lash out and punish people close to them as payback for these grievances.

Quote
And the meanness of Jack's father gets its fullest expression when he spits out (quite literally in that scene) that Jack had started talking about someone else to move up to the ranch with him.  He knows exactly who Ennis is, how much Jack meant to him, and how much pain he's in.  He throws that out because he knows it will hurt, and hurt badly.

This was not him trying to hurt Ennis because he (the father) was in pain and he wanted others to suffer like he was. This was John Twist sticking the knife in to inflict pain for pain sake, and probably because it gave him a stunted sort of pleasure.

Quote
I'm sure this has probably been raised somewhere else (and maybe it's even in the book -- I haven't seen it [getting a copy today]), but Jack was clearly run off by his father.  In the bar, after he and Ennis have just come from Agguire's (sp?) office, that's one of the first questions Jack asks Ennis -- did his parents run him off?  The way that line is delivered -- in such a matter-of-fact way -- it's clear that Jack assumes that's what happened.  And that assumption stems from his own experience.

It amazes me that Jack turned out so open and loving as he did.

Quote
I'm not sure I agree with this.  That specific wish might not have happened but, if you're Jack, with respect to that wish I think you might be pretty content with the idea that Ennis has taken those shirts that represent that treasured, perfect moment when they fell in love.  Brokeback Mountain was the idyllic setting, but the prize was Ennis.  And now, Ennis quite literally has a part of jack with him -- the blood in the shirt that has never been washed out.  The symbolism of blood in matters of the heart doesn't really need explanation.   To me, the tragedy of this specific piece of the story is that they were together after Jack's death in a manner that they were never capable of while he was alive. 

Very nicely said. I agree with this view too.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: beanie on February 04, 2006, 05:20:04 AM

I posted something about this on the "What you didn't like ..." thread.  Not the fact that it wasn't included.  I can see the difficulties.  At what point in the movie would you insert this scene?  The thing I find troubling about the scene in the book is that it seems that, of this whole traumatic experience, what seems to be most traumatic, or at least most memorable, is Jack's discovery that his father had "extra material."

The friends I saw the movie with felt that there was not enough bonding between Jack and Ennis to warrent (in their minds) the sudden sex scene. Maybe prior to this first tent scene, some more of the the men's back stories from the book could have been introduced. However we probably would have ended up with a 3 hour movie which many people dislike.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: beanie on February 04, 2006, 05:27:19 AM

To me, the loving presence of Jack's mother in this scene totally transforms the movie (to a lesser degree the story, where her character isn't quite as strong), and Roberta Maxwell's five minutes on screen is one of the best short performances I've ever seen.  The second time I saw the film, I noticed that she stands over Ennis with her hand on the back of his chair during the interview with Jack's father.  It flashed through my mind--she's protecting him from the father, just like she tried to protect Jack.  It occurs to me now that in those few moments she essentially adopts Ennis, giving him the same kind of unconditional love that she had given her son.  (One of my "happy ending" fantasies: after Jack's father dies, Ennis goes to visit Jack's mother on the pretense of seeing if she needs help around the ranch, and they are able to talk about Jack, which is healing for both of them).  The love Jack received from his mother is what gave him the ability and the need to commit to a loving relationship as an adult, in spite of all the obstacles he would face as a gay man.  Ennis, unfortunately, never had this kind of loving presence in his life until he met Jack, and it wasn't enough for him to overcome his fears.  It seems to me Jack's mother represents the persistence and resilience of love even in the most unforgiving of circumstances, which is one of the most beautiful messages of the film.

Beautifully said.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: beanie on February 04, 2006, 05:43:25 AM
Tonight was the second viewing of the movie for me.  I went in a larger group this time and that was bad.  The movie has such a personal connection for me, that I was not able to appreciate everyone else's reactions.  Some people were not that emotionally touched by the film, and I found myself actually resenting that.  I feel emotionally spent and I wish I had my own Jack to turn to for comfort and love.  Alas, I am alone in my bed feeling very sad.

I can identify with that from my first viewing. I was absolutely devasted that my friends made silly comments etc throughout the film (not something they would normally do).

Quote
I feel that Jake's performance has been so underrated.  He was truly spot on all the way through.

Jake Gyllenhaal was amazing throughout the film. He deserves more recognition than he has been getting. Even Heath Ledger has said Jake had the harder role.
Quote
I wanted to reach out and hold him and comfort him.  And to have him comfort me in return.  How crazy is that!!!  So much for keeping fact and fiction separated.

The power of this story and how it has been brought to life. Jack and Ennis' love is real so real, their pain so intense.

I am going to see it next week by myself. I just need to see it again adn soon.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: beanie on February 04, 2006, 05:56:20 AM

Also someone said that she was protecting Ennis from Jack's father. I agree with this idea. She looked very terrified by her husband. The expression of her eyes reveal this fear of her man. And yet, she will most of the time physically stand as close to Ennis as possible. We don't see her standing next to the father, where one would expect her to be standing by.


I agree that I think when she touches him to tell him about his room is her moment of full understanding of what Ennis meant to Jack.  I think weather Ennis had come down with those shirts or not she would have still known....it was just a confirmation that the shirts had just found their way to their new rightful home, even if Jack's ashes couldn't.

Roberta Maxwell's performance was spot on and so powerful in those scenes, and so important, because that was one of the last impressions the audience leaves with so the drama, pain, and emotion of the movie is not lost.  (And of course Heath and Peter McRobbie did their part as well :D)

I agree, she was protective of Ennis. Jack's father is one scary dude. She is certainly fearful of him, which is what makes her performance so powerful. She's walking a tightrope of not angering her husband while showing concern for Ennis. Just as Ennis is leaving, when Jack's father states again that Jack will be buried in the family plot, she nervously puts her hand to her throat. I'm sure she's experienced plenty of his wrath. It just makes you love Jack more, that he had such an awful father and still became an open, loving person. Jack's mom knew exactly what Ennis meant to Jack.  It probably gave her comfort to help console the person who so dearly loved her son.

I agree.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on February 04, 2006, 10:06:24 AM
No the relationship  between Jack and his father is much more complex than that.  Both in book and film, he returns every year to helpl "the old man".  I noted before, those who have not yet experienced death of a parent or death of a child, will not understand the many layers of  the "wake" scene.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwp2paris on February 04, 2006, 10:30:29 AM
No the relationship  between Jack and his father is much more complex than that.  Both in book and film, he returns every year to helpl "the old man".  I noted before, those who have not yet experienced death of a parent or death of a child, will not understand the many layers of  the "wake" scene.

Ennis has a dad who drags him out as a 9-year old boy to look at the dead corpse of an old guy who was suspected of being gay. When Jack was 3 or 4, he didn't make it to the toilet in time. John Twist comes into the bathroom, sees his young son struggling with the buttons on his wet pants and beats the boy, then knocks the small, terrified child to the ground, whips him with his belt, then in a final act of humiliation, urinates on his son then forces him to clean up the mess. This scene in the book is so hard to read. At some point, Jack had shared this memory with Ennis and Ennis recalls this memory as he climbs the stairs towards Jack's bedroom and the shirts.

How Jack could still come out so loving and seemingly carefree with this memory of a tormented childhood is a testament to the power of the individual. I love the character of Jack even more for this.

That each knew such intimate details about the other...perhaps that is why we never actually see much nudity between them...they were already naked with each other in their familiarity with each other and the pains and terrors they had experienced. Think back to the scene, late in the movie, when Ennis is curled around Jake in the tent on one of their trips...they are fully clothed but now think about all they knew about each other...it gives that scene even more tenderness and complete understanding and comfort at what these two souls had found in each other.

An interesting sidenote...it is in this same scene from the book that Jack realizes he is different from his dad in more ways than one...his dad is uncircumcised and he is...their is a reference to "extra material that I was missin." After that, Jack felt he could never get it right by his old man. This he realizes as a 3 or 4 year-old boy.

Knowing what he did to Jack and now his just mean-spirited desire to deny his son his dying wish (to be scattered on BBM), I literally hate the father. I understand tough times, but he was truly just a demonic child abuser who now gloats over his dead son..."I can still knock you down, whip you and piss on your memory" is really what John Twist is saying.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: jakeb2 on February 04, 2006, 09:47:53 PM
  Jack's father must be retailiating at his dead son by denying his final wish although I think it is simply because he was aware of Jack's "inclination" and not only disapproved but felt some internal failing as a father and possibly a threat to his own manhood as he contemplated how his son's homosexuality reflected on him.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwp2paris on February 04, 2006, 10:10:53 PM
  Jack's father must be retailiating at his dead son by denying his final wish although I think it is simply because he was aware of Jack's "inclination" and not only disapproved but felt some internal failing as a father and possibly a threat to his own manhood as he contemplated how his son's homosexuality reflected on him.

Remember, this is the man that literally pissed on his very own precious 3-4 year old son simply because Jack could not get his pants undone in time to use the toilet. Now he is figuratively pissing on him because of what he became...or didn't become.

This is not a good person we are dealing with here...this is a demon and nothing more.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: jakeb2 on February 04, 2006, 10:23:18 PM
  I definately do not agree with Jack's fathers behaviour and totally agree that what he did was reprehensible.  No question, there is no excuse or defence for his father's behaviour.
  However, in keeping with the writer's stream of consciousness, the purpose of this detail may have been in the same train of thought as Lureen's father's actions during Thanksgiving where he felt that it was important to instill the backbone of being a man at a young age and therefore Jack's father was trying to teach his son a lesson (although a very misguided attempt).  This also leads to Jack's outburst during the football scene during which he finally stands up to his father-in-law.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: hybrid on February 05, 2006, 11:48:57 AM
Aguirre and Jack's parents had some sort of relationship, why else would he have ridden up to the mountain about Jack's uncle's illness? It seems likely to me that Aguirre would have said something at some point to the Twist's implying that Jack was a fag, or at least that he wasn't worth much. This would embarass Jack's father and deepen his contempt for his son.

Also, the shirts are hidden behind that funny little wall, not out in the open in the closet. His mother very likely didn't know about them. In any case, it is common to give friends etc. things to remember people by. Ennis walks quickly behind the father's back with the shirts, to avoid him.

It also seemed likely to me that Jack was killed because his relationship with Randall was discovered and that was the last straw for Lureen's father. Lureen definately knew, the story she gives about Jacks death is absurd and she knows it and tells it with cutesy snear in her voice.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwp2paris on February 05, 2006, 11:42:18 PM
Aguirre and Jack's parents had some sort of relationship, why else would he have ridden up to the mountain about Jack's uncle's illness? It seems likely to me that Aguirre would have said something at some point to the Twist's implying that Jack was a fag, or at least that he wasn't worth much. This would embarass Jack's father and deepen his contempt for his son.

Also, the shirts are hidden behind that funny little wall, not out in the open in the closet. His mother very likely didn't know about them. In any case, it is common to give friends etc. things to remember people by. Ennis walks quickly behind the father's back with the shirts, to avoid him.

It also seemed likely to me that Jack was killed because his relationship with Randall was discovered and that was the last straw for Lureen's father. Lureen definately knew, the story she gives about Jacks death is absurd and she knows it and tells it with cutesy snear in her voice.



Your comment about the relationship between Aquirre and the Twists is an interesting one...hadn't really thought about it but it does, to some degree, make sense. Remember thought that Jack had already spent a summer on BBM, no doubt told his folks that he had been there and would probably go back the next summer, and that narrowed it right down for Mrs. Twist to figure out where Jack was. But I do agree that she must have made a very good case to J. Aquirre for him to drag his fat ass up the mountain to give such news to Jack.

I respectfully disagree with your other two observations.

Watch closely...as Ennis walks into the room with the shirts, John Twist looks at them with contempt and Mrs. Twist looks at them with love. That little pause she makes as she feels them one more time, perhaps not understanding everything they represent, but realizing the absolute importance they represented to her son and now this man who wanted them...that little last pause before she slides them into the grocery bag is so amazing and telling.

Why are the shirts where they are...I have no idea other than it was a very special place for a very special memory...Mrs. Twist was the protector and ultimately the giver of that memory to one who had lived it. I have no doubt she went upstairs and wept at in that closet over her lost son and those shirts that are now no longer there.

Lureen, her father, all of Childress, TX had nothing to do with Jack's death. There would be many in Childress, TX who may have thought, he had it coming, but Jack died do to a tire rim, not a tire iron. Once you read Annie's short story, you will understand that it is Ennis's own fear of being found out and his homophobia (yes, he is homophobic...note what he says to Jack about what waits in Mexico for "boys like you.") that drives him to imagine the scene where Jack is murdered...that happens only in Ennis's mind...even at the end of the story, he is dreaming a scene on BBM and there are beans on the fire and the spoon sticking out of the can takes on the image of a tire iron in Ennis's mind.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: bluehorse on February 06, 2006, 12:48:13 AM
Hi, I'm new to the board and posted this in "the last scene with jack and ennis" but perhaps I should post it here: 

I wonder how the revelation (that jack said he was coming up to the ranch with a new guy) on the part of Jack's father affected Ennis (thinking about the "all them things I don't know" speech). . .I'm sure the grief over Jack's death, the colossal loss consumed him. But still, I wonder what Ennis felt/thought when he heard it. . .the way he raises his eyes to the news when Jack's father mentions it. . .so painful.

I agree that Jack could never give Ennis up, I'm too in love with their love to believe otherwise, but it's in both the story and the film---the possibility that Jack moved on. .
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Mimo on February 06, 2006, 12:49:35 AM
Aguirre and Jack's parents had some sort of relationship, why else would he have ridden up to the mountain about Jack's uncle's illness? It seems likely to me that Aguirre would have said something at some point to the Twist's implying that Jack was a fag, or at least that he wasn't worth much. This would embarass Jack's father and deepen his contempt for his son.

Also, the shirts are hidden behind that funny little wall, not out in the open in the closet. His mother very likely didn't know about them. In any case, it is common to give friends etc. things to remember people by. Ennis walks quickly behind the father's back with the shirts, to avoid him.

It also seemed likely to me that Jack was killed because his relationship with Randall was discovered and that was the last straw for Lureen's father. Lureen definately knew, the story she gives about Jacks death is absurd and she knows it and tells it with cutesy snear in her voice.



Hey Hybrid,

Thanks, that is a very interesting angle/s the final one really makes a lot of sense. It never ocurred to me before - I thought it was a random gaybashing.
That would make it a lot more tragic than it was already for me. But I can't rule it out, it is a definite possibility and there is nothing in the film (that i've seen) that would contradict that could be the case.

Very Interesting!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: lektronnorth on February 06, 2006, 01:29:29 AM
Ennis is in the base camp tent, and it is raining, and he is carving a little wooden horse.  If I recall correctly, it was just a horse, with no rider yet.   Could this be the same figure that Ennis working on that summer that he may have give Jack at some point in time that first summer....and it made it back to Lightning Flat along with the shirts?  Just a thought.
I saw and recalled the wooden horse carving the 3rd time I saw it....you can see the way Ennis' face frowns sentimentally when he picks it up.......in a room with so little....the value of this ( possible ) gift from Ennis' to Jack would have great value. Of course, it could just be a boys toy having nothing to do with Ennis...But, it certainly had me thinking what you were thinking Charlieh.

I finally caught this on the 3rd viewing too.  I believe it's another example, like the shirts, of a souvenir of summer of 63 that Jack kept.  Don't know if Ennis gave that to him, or if Jack stole that too!

I've not even been able to read this thread up until now, because the whole scene is so emotional, and the acting so GODDAM amazing, I can't think of it without breaking up. Jack's parents are so wonderfully acted. But the reason I'm on this thread is the little cowboy on the horse that is on the dressing table (?).  I don't think it IS the horse that Ennis was whittling. If it was he would have wanted to take it with him when he takes the shirts.  But it does speak to Ennis of Jack's childhood ambitions, of Jack's time on horses, of Jack on Brokeback.
Heath Ledger's eyes fill with tears when he picks it up.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: hybrid on February 06, 2006, 05:05:28 AM

I guess the way I see it, if Jack had felt comfortable having those shirts in the rest of the closet, why did he hide them in the weird little pocket? Jack did not want those shirts to be found by anybody, not even his mother. Whether she did find them, who can say? But the are not just in the closet with the rest of the clothes, they are extra hidden.

I've read the story of couple of times, and it is clear to me that the author is leaving it up to the reader to come their own conclusions about Jack's death, but for Ennis at least, hearing from the Twists that Jack had died after leaving Lureen for a man was confirmation for Jack that he had been murdered. Of course this is just a fiction and nothing "really happened". But it seems to me that Ennis is likely right. First, because the reason for Jacks death is so patently ridiculous, and second because there is no fantasy in the the story or the movie. Ive changed tires many times - the rim coming off with enough force to kill you just does not seem very likely. This tall tale seems to me kind of deliberately silly and insulting (to Jacks memory), an indication of Jacks weakness and incompetence (he cant even change a tire, what a girl!), a last way for Lureen to show her contempt for Jack.

Everything in the movie to that point of the tire iron flash back is either what is happening in the narrative flow, or a "true" recollection (like the dozy embrace). Why would a "fantasy" or "untrue recollection" now be inserted? The "truth" of all previous scenes implies the "truth" of the tire iron scene.

But thats just my take on something that is all interpretation-




Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Mimo on February 06, 2006, 07:15:36 AM

I guess the way I see it, if Jack had felt comfortable having those shirts in the rest of the closet, why did he hide them in the weird little pocket? Jack did not want those shirts to be found by anybody, not even his mother. Whether she did find them, who can say? But the are not just in the closet with the rest of the clothes, they are extra hidden.

I've read the story of couple of times, and it is clear to me that the author is leaving it up to the reader to come their own conclusions about Jack's death, but for Ennis at least, hearing from the Twists that Jack had died after leaving Lureen for a man was confirmation for Jack that he had been murdered. Of course this is just a fiction and nothing "really happened". But it seems to me that Ennis is likely right. First, because the reason for Jacks death is so patently ridiculous, and second because there is no fantasy in the the story or the movie. Ive changed tires many times - the rim coming off with enough force to kill you just does not seem very likely. This tall tale seems to me kind of deliberately silly and insulting (to Jacks memory), an indication of Jacks weakness and incompetence (he cant even change a tire, what a girl!), a last way for Lureen to show her contempt for Jack.

Everything in the movie to that point of the tire iron flash back is either what is happening in the narrative flow, or a "true" recollection (like the dozy embrace). Why would a "fantasy" or "untrue recollection" now be inserted? The "truth" of all previous scenes implies the "truth" of the tire iron scene.

But thats just my take on something that is all interpretation-






HHhmmn... Hybrid

You have a very good point there.

Ang Lee really is a genius, isn't he?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Anders on February 06, 2006, 07:17:29 AM
If old Mr Twist was filled with disgust over Jacks’ and Ennis’ relation, why did he mention the two of them coming up to help him with the ranch? If he knew the true nature of their relation, I doubt he would have let them come to “lick the ranch in shape”.

Either he didn’t know, or didn’t want to know.

He is parroting Jack: “Ennis Del Mar, I’m gonna bring him with me one of these days…” And then, with bitterness adds: “But like most of Jack’s ideas, it never came to pass”. I think this last sentence; “it never came to pass” is pivotal. He is disappointed in Jack, and to a certain degree, in Ennis. Now he sits there on that godforsaken ranch, old, mean and bitter. His son is dead. The ranch will fall apart.

I don’t see any particular hate against Ennis? Mr Twist is a general SOB, spitting in his cup as he does every day. He is a self-made farmer. Now he can set eyes upon the so-much-spoken-of object – Ennis Del Mar – that held his son captive in a perpetual dream. Well, Jack’s dream was to have Ennis near him, and build a nice life on the ranch. Old Mr Twist’s dream was only to have two strong workers help him.

It would never have worked, of course, as long as the parents were there. They would have to live a lie, but for the first time Ennis considered if it would have been just as good as their 20 years old lie.

Then, Mr Twist delivers the blow: Another guy was coming instead. Mr Twist could have stabbed him with a knife, and it wouldn’t hurt half as much! He was replaced. Jack couldn’t drop his cemented idea about a guy on his father’s ranch. That meant he was replaced as lover, as well.

Poor Ennis! The only person he ever was truly in love with was Jack. He never meant to cheat on Alma, but he destroyed her life. He never meant to hurt Jack, but he destroyed his dream. Ennis made BBM a sanctuary, and it wasn’t in his textbook to cheat Jack. When he heard that Jack “went to Mexico” it made him furious with jealousy.

As has been written here before, the shirts were shifted. Now Ennis’ was outside Jack’s, as if protecting it. Once, on that damn mountain, he embraced Jack. The painful difference is that now, Jack’s shirt is empty.

In their last meeting Jack accused him: “You never wanted that, Ennis!” Standing with the empty shirts as relics Ennis assures: “Jack, I swear…. I did…. And I do!”
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Mimo on February 06, 2006, 07:51:08 AM
Phew!
That's food for thought Anders... and welcome.
I just have to see this film again... sometime real soon!
This is the one scene that really keeps sticking with me - it's extraordinary and I still don't understand fully what could be going on?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Anders on February 06, 2006, 09:43:25 AM
Phew!
That's food for thought Anders... and welcome.
I just have to see this film again... sometime real soon!
This is the one scene that really keeps sticking with me - it's extraordinary and I still don't understand fully what could be going on?
Thanks! Glad to be here, reading all those thoughtful comments about BBM. I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve come to think of things I never noticed in BBM.

Yes, that scene, in the parent’s kitchen is hard to interpret. My post was just a humble guess. I watched that scene some 30 + times now (on DVD). First, I thought Mr Twist was cold and “anti-gay”. But I think that came from my personal world of references.

The main character in that scene isn’t Mr Twist, nor Mrs Twist. It’s Ennis. I have no idea how much mental fight it took him to eventually go to that ranch Jack always talked about, meeting Jack’s parents for the first time – in twenty years! Did he think: “Why couldn’t this take place when Jack was alive? Was Jack’s death the only thing that could make me set foot on this ranch?”

Yes, the scene is all about the tremendous pain of Ennis Del Mar. All through the story he is one big heart. Yes, he was locked up, afraid, and clumsy. If something went wrong, or if someone confronted him, he reacted violently. He simply didn’t know how to play the violin, but he knew the melody by heart, and had a perfect pitch. And the name of the melody was “Jack Twist”. During all these years he never played another melody.

He was an ocean of honesty. He came with his dirty hands, in his old car, with little money, just to be with Jack. He even betrayed his wife and (partially, at first) his children, because of that one melody in his heart. It was dishonesty based on honesty. It was pain based on pain - that sweet pain from BBM. He was there for Jack, not always with words, but in action.

I don’t think Jack was wrong. All they did have after 20 years was BBM. But, from Ennis’ point of view, they still had BBM, that wonderful place of escape and reality, after 20 years. For Ennis, that was the most precious token of love. He learned that Jack “needed” gay sex, and when Ennis didn’t meet up often enough, he slept with others, and it broke his heart. Of course he knew that those other guys were merely sexual encounters, but…

In that kitchen (and from the phone call to Lureen) he heard that Jack had spoken of him with others. “Ennis Del Mar will come”, “Ennis Del Mar is a fantastic fishing buddy”. He knew Jack loved him, but now he finds out that he also admired and honoured him. That killed him. What was said in that kitchen revealed that Jack’s love wasn’t of a less solid kind than his own. But Jack was tired, as was Ennis, after 20 years of BBM.

Ennis’ moment with Jack’s folks, in that kitchen, on that ranch, is pure pain. A pure pain, spelled “Jack”.

The violin is broken. But that one melody plays so loud in his heart and mind!

(Or, as we say in Swedish: "Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig").
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: SquallCloud on February 06, 2006, 10:49:23 AM
This whole scene at Jack's parents is hanging around in my head and heart as the climax of the film for me at the moment. The story is about Ennis. If you think of the film as being ultimately about Ennis, rather than Ennis and Jack, then this scene is one of transformation and a kind of release. For the first time in the film Ennis is in the presence of another person who knows about his love for Jack and who radiates acceptance (other than Jack, of course!). Everyone else either explicitly disapproves ('Jack Nasty') or implicitly does. And the two most dispossessed, destitute, desolated people in the whole film offer each other the most intense, richest experience of simple, undemanding human acceptance. The intensity between them as their eyes lock and communicate in utter silence is the most spiritually uplifting part of the film, I find. And I'm an atheist, by the way! The gifting of the shirts is the concrete expression of this but it's what passes between them both in that bare, scrubbed little house that cracks my heart open.

The righteous, condemnatory attitude of the fundamentalist Christian churches towards their imagined idea of the film (because most people saying things like this haven't actually seen it) springs to my mind. Because Jack's mother absolutely radiates the sort of Christ-like love and utterly tranquil acceptance and peace which I thought Christianity promoted as its finest quality. Don't they say something about Faith, Hope and Charity, but the greatest of these is Love? Very ironic that such a quality is found in such a supposedly 'immoral' work...

I dont' have anything intelligent to add I just wanted to say thank you for this. I always looked at the argument as the climax and I still do but I really loved this interpretation. Some might say it's the phone conversation with Lureen I bet. I see all of these things as the falling action though.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on February 06, 2006, 06:41:14 PM
Hybrid, you will find warnings regarding "tire explosion hazard" on govenment websites, like OSHA and Mine Safety Enforcement.  AS noted before, since Lureen obviously did not have access to such web sites in 1983, her narration of the "accident" rings true, since it is similar to the explosion hazard described on the sites.

But if you want to go the murder route, check the humor thread and post a few more BBM parody plot line ideas.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: memememe on February 06, 2006, 09:46:23 PM
Okay. Sorry to post this if it's been done already. It took me several days to get my activation code. Wow. Busy site.

Anyhoo. I've lost the original post, but it went like....Jack's father was trying to beguile Ennis out of spike by telling him lies about Jack saying he was going to bring the fellow back from Texas to live with him and help run the farm.

My comment to this is PASSAW! Firstly, what reason does the father have for telling lies to Ennis? Secondly, how would he know of Randall if Jack didn't tell him about him when he visited his folks in the Spring?

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwp2paris on February 07, 2006, 09:36:34 PM
The actress playing Jack's mother is...well...is there an Oscar for best miniscule role in a major motion picture? She literally moves me to tears everytime.

As Jack enters the kitchen/dining room with the shirts, the body language between Ennis and Mrs. Twist is so amazing. The look on John Twist's face as he watches Ennis carry those shirts...pure lothing.

The scene where Mrs. Twist is placing the shirts into the paper bag...she holds them just for a moment, and in that moment she is saying good bye to her son, in her own special way, then she tucks them gently into the bag...it is like she is tucking her dear son into bed one last time...she realizes that his ashes are going into the family plot, but his memory, his very being is going to live on in this Ennis Del Mar who seems to know her son as only she thought she knew him.

When Ennis clutches the bag to himself and whispers "thank you" to Mrs. Twist and she just nods so knowingly...wow...there are volumes being spoken between those two and yet not a word needs to be said.

Thank you Annie for these beloved characters and thank you Ang for your sensitive and delicate realization of them.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: cythera4 on February 07, 2006, 09:54:12 PM
The actress playing Jack's mother is...well...is there an Oscar for best miniscule role in a major motion picture? She literally moves me to tears everytime.

Thanks for these lovely observations of this brilliantly rendered scene. This actress, Roberta Maxwell, apparently has a serious career as a stage actress in New York, appearing only occasionally in film and TV (probably to pay the bills). In the script, there's nowhere near as much sense of the unspoken complicity between her and Ennis, as if they're the only people who ever really loved Jack, but the film makes this absolutely clear. The acting in this scene, across the board, is as good as it gets. I actually get the sense that Jack's mother knows her son was gay, that Ennis was the love of his life, and that this is OK (though Mr. Twist will never accepot it). And all of this is conveyed by gesture, glance, mood. It helps, of course, that Ang Lee is a transcendent genius in how he directs these actors.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: lektronnorth on February 08, 2006, 07:27:17 AM
The actress playing Jack's mother is...well...is there an Oscar for best miniscule role in a major motion picture? She literally moves me to tears everytime.

Thanks for these lovely observations of this brilliantly rendered scene. This actress, Roberta Maxwell, apparently has a serious career as a stage actress in New York, appearing only occasionally in film and TV (probably to pay the bills). In the script, there's nowhere near as much sense of the unspoken complicity between her and Ennis, as if they're the only people who ever really loved Jack, but the film makes this absolutely clear. The acting in this scene, across the board, is as good as it gets. I actually get the sense that Jack's mother knows her son was gay, that Ennis was the love of his life, and that this is OK (though Mr. Twist will never accepot it). And all of this is conveyed by gesture, glance, mood. It helps, of course, that Ang Lee is a transcendent genius in how he directs these actors.

Amen. I'm put in mind of another character in a McMurty screenplay: The Coach's wife in The Last Picture Show.  She DID get an Oscar.
The acting in the scene is as good as it could possibly be by everyone. Just awesome.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Boris on February 08, 2006, 07:35:03 AM
The actress playing Jack's mother is...well...is there an Oscar for best miniscule role in a major motion picture? She literally moves me to tears everytime.

As Jack enters the kitchen/dining room with the shirts, the body language between Ennis and Mrs. Twist is so amazing. The look on John Twist's face as he watches Ennis carry those shirts...pure lothing.

The scene where Mrs. Twist is placing the shirts into the paper bag...she holds them just for a moment, and in that moment she is saying good bye to her son, in her own special way, then she tucks them gently into the bag...it is like she is tucking her dear son into bed one last time...she realizes that his ashes are going into the family plot, but his memory, his very being is going to live on in this Ennis Del Mar who seems to know her son as only she thought she knew him.

When Ennis clutches the bag to himself and whispers "thank you" to Mrs. Twist and she just nods so knowingly...wow...there are volumes being spoken between those two and yet not a word needs to be said.

Thank you Annie for these beloved characters and thank you Ang for your sensitive and delicate realization of them.



Yes there is Oscar for abest performance in minuscule role. It is given very rarely and last time Dame Judi Dench grabbed it from Shakespeare in Love . I agree that Roberta Maxwell did excellent, wonderfully moving portrait.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: sotoalf on February 08, 2006, 08:39:37 AM
An even more accurate precedent: Beatrice Straight's 4-minute performance in Network got her the Supporting Actress trophy.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on February 08, 2006, 08:43:06 AM
Brokeaholic,  remember the screenplay is different from the book and the media and their capabilities and needs are different, i.e., the written word, and film.  In this scene, the film changes the reference in the father 's speech from "other one" to "other fella."

In May 1983, in the final trip, J and E indulge in "lies".  In the book, it seems clear these lies are the "woman in Riverton" and the "rancher's wife".  Bear in mind "Randall" does not even exist in the book.  At all.

So, in the book, in the "wake" scene, we begin with John C. Twist, Sr.'s, "knowing, angry" first look at Ennis.

John C. Twist, Sr.,  is, in part,  an agent of recrimination. (Some have referred to his speech, and other elements in the Elegy (final third) of the book, as akin to the lines of the Greek chorus in Sophocles, perhaps aptly.)   His recrimination  is subtle and layered.  He obviously knows J's orientation. Remember Jack is John C. Twist, Jr., and an only child.   Father has known or sensed his orientation from childhood, and, though he started putting him on the "woolies", after that realization rejected J and refused to impart any of his riding expertise.

There are three main points in the father's recrimination.  First, mentioning the "build a cabin" part signals to E that  he knows the nature of their relationship.   This is probably based on comments made by J over the 17 years.

(More problematic the is reference, in the book, to the "other one".  In the book,  one has to assume J told the same "lie" to E as to the father a few days later, about the "rancher's wife".  When E jumps to the somewhat paranoid conclusion (consistent with his lifelong fear of being outed, never wanting to be seen in public with J, etc.) that "it was the tire iron" (this is an example of the phenomenon shrinks call "projection" on Ennis' part),  he falls into the father's little trap, the mind game he's imposing on E as punishment.)

In fact, at this point in the book, E must recognize J's May 1983 reference to the "rancher's wife" as a "lie".  The point is, the father must have recognized it as a "lie" as well, but takes it and twists it into a reference to "other one", a stand-in for E in the "half-baked idea" J had suggested in some form to his father. 

That's sometimes the nature of wakes--people with different claims on the deceased take the opportunity to settle scores.  One of the subtleties of this scene is that, by taking J's "lie" about the "rancher's wife" and transforming it into another "lie" about "another one" supplanting E in the J's cabin-building dream, father is further fending off E's claim to the ashes and  carrying out J's wishes. 

So, even in death, J still has a claim on all participants in the wake, including the father, who at some deep elemental level exercises his claim on J's remains and in his recrimination to E, uses the same resourcefullness and guile which made him a famous bull rider, to punish E:

FIRST, by outing E, referring to their sharing a cabin together (anathema to E, as we know: "two guys living together? No way."), showing he knows about their relationship (some past posters have wondered "why would Jack tell his father about Ennis" overlooking that since Sr. is a well known rider, chances are he ain't exactly dumb, and he has figured out a lot of things on his own over the years);

SECOND, by  mocking E for not being man enough to take J up on the offer to move up to that ranch;

THIRD, b y taking J's "lie" about the rancher's wife, and converting it to a reference to "another one", just enough to convey to E that J, after all, had someone else on a string. This third element of the recrimination is the most hurtful: how much more paletable would have been a repeated reference to the "rancher's wife" version of the lie!

And, if you watch the realization of the father's speech, even with the change to "other fella",  I believe you will see this strategy of  subtle recrimination brilliantly portrayed by the actor who portrays the father.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwp2paris on February 08, 2006, 09:00:05 AM
I suppose this question I'm posing would apply to many scenes we debate and analyze here but the characters and acting are so amazing in this scene, I wonder...

Did the actors have a specific message in mind, as given by Ang or the screenwriters, that they were sending? Did Ang tell Roberta Maxwell, "OK luv, this guy is your son's lover for the past 20 years. I want you to let him know you know but don't say anything...just use your eyes and your hands and your posture to send that message...now ACTION!"

I wish there was a film of the filming so we could see the direction and understand how such layered, sutle, precise, yet completely sparce acting is created.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: memememe on February 08, 2006, 12:02:36 PM

In May 1983, in the final trip, J and E indulge in "lies".  In the book, it seems clear these lies are the "woman in Riverton" and the "rancher's wife".  Bear in mind "Randall" does not even exist in the book.  At all.

There is an indirection mention of Randall in the story.
"Jack said he'd had a thing going with the wife of a rancher down the road in Childress and for the last few months....Then, this spring he's got another one's goin a come up here with him and build a place and help run the ranch, some ranch neighbor a his from down in Texas."
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: romeshvr on February 08, 2006, 01:35:57 PM
maybe i'm being to technical but the short-story never really says the sex of the person, mr. twist says "Then this spring he’s got another one’s goin a come up here with him and build a place and help run the ranch, some ranch neighbor a his from down in Texas.".  another one what?  was it a man or a woman?  do we naturally assume it was a man, just because jack wanted to set-up a sweet life with ennis?  just my thoughts...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: jakeb2 on February 08, 2006, 01:43:51 PM
  I interpreted that reference to "another one's goin a come up here..." as Jack's father's attempt to indicate to Ennis that he was aware that Jack was more than "friends" with some of his male buddies, and this was another one of "those" types. 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: memememe on February 08, 2006, 03:20:24 PM
maybe i'm being to technical but the short-story never really says the sex of the person, mr. twist says "Then this spring he’s got another one’s goin a come up here with him and build a place and help run the ranch, some ranch neighbor a his from down in Texas.".  another one what?  was it a man or a woman?  do we naturally assume it was a man, just because jack wanted to set-up a sweet life with ennis?  just my thoughts...
How I see it is that Jack's father knew about Jack and Ennis, so the "friend from Texas" has to be a man. Afterall, Jack was going to divorce his wife. I do believe Jack's mother knows about his homosexuality as well as his dad. Anyways, I don't think women are capable of building log cabins and helping with herding cattle.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: jakeb2 on February 08, 2006, 03:24:38 PM
Anyways, I don't think women are capable of building log cabins and helping with herding cattle.


 

  That's a pretty brave statement to make around here. You may have some mixed reactions.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: patroclus on February 08, 2006, 03:28:01 PM
Anyways, I don't think women are capable of building log cabins and helping with herding cattle.


Er, I think you may be just asking for some trouble with this last remark, Brokeaholic! I'm confident that women are quite able to do both those things, actually. And have done so many times in history, thank you very much.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on February 08, 2006, 03:49:28 PM
Patroclus, yes, I think the author might even have  a log cabin in WY and sure knows a lot about farming and ranch work.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: memememe on February 08, 2006, 09:29:30 PM
maybe i'm being to technical but the short-story never really says the sex of the person, mr. twist says "Then this spring he’s got another one’s goin a come up here with him and build a place and help run the ranch, some ranch neighbor a his from down in Texas.".  another one what?  was it a man or a woman?  do we naturally assume it was a man, just because jack wanted to set-up a sweet life with ennis?  just my thoughts...
How I see it is that Jack's father knew about Jack and Ennis, so the "friend from Texas" has to be a man. Afterall, Jack was going to divorce his wife. I do believe Jack's mother knows about his homosexuality as well as his dad. Anyways, I don't think women are capable of building log cabins and helping with herding cattle.

Okay. I took a close look at this. The books says "this spring he's got another one's goin a come up here". The movie, however, changed the words a bit: "he's got anudda fella gonna come up here..."
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: ToolPackinMama on February 09, 2006, 12:57:18 AM
  I interpreted that reference to "another one's goin a come up here..." as Jack's father's attempt to indicate to Ennis that he was aware that Jack was more than "friends" with some of his male buddies, and this was another one of "those" types. 

I agree.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: trinket on February 09, 2006, 02:16:40 PM

Did the actors have a specific message in mind, as given by Ang or the screenwriters, that they were sending? Did Ang tell Roberta Maxwell, "OK luv, this guy is your son's lover for the past 20 years. I want you to let him know you know but don't say anything...just use your eyes and your hands and your posture to send that message...now ACTION!"

I wish there was a film of the filming so we could see the direction and understand how such layered, sutle, precise, yet completely sparce acting is created.



WOW!  I would love this too!  The scene in Jack's parents home was just unbelievably painful and wonderful.
Does anyone know, or has anyone heard if the DVD will contain a director's comments and maybe we will hear Ang talk about it?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: hybrid on February 09, 2006, 03:34:07 PM
For me one of the most striking shots of the movie is the shot from the back of the closet looking back towards Ennis sitting at the window. Then Ennis looks up and towards the camera (us). It's kind of like the audience is looking from the point of view of the shirts (Jack?), but of course doesn't know it yet.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: rabbar on February 09, 2006, 03:38:20 PM
If you missed it in another topic here...Roberta talked about doing the last scene and talks about when it came time for certain reaction shots and closeups, she didn't expect Heath to be there. He was done shooting for the day and could have left the set. Usually they bring in stand-ins for shots like that. When they were ready for the reaction and closeups, in walks Heath , dressed as Ennis and takes his place in the scene. Roberta was stunned and thrilled to see him being so generous with his time, just so the actors could really play out their roles.  It meant a lot to her.   
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: memememe on February 09, 2006, 04:56:39 PM
When Ennis enters Jack's bedroom, he picks up this carving of a cowboy on a horse. He holds it in his hands for some time. Someone mentioned in a previous post that he had a tear in his eyes. I watched the movie and noticed that there was wetness in his left eye. Well, back on Brokeback, in one of the scenes, he was carving a horse. Do you think this is the wooden carving he had made and had given to Jack?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Robinegg on February 09, 2006, 05:26:44 PM
I wore my mp3 player during my walk to work.  I dislike the silence, because my mind wonders to Jack and Ennis.  Unfortunately, the music didn't help this morning.  Out of the blue I thought about Jack's ashes.  How much it would have meant to Ennis to have those ashes strewn on Brokeback Mountain. How he would be able to visit and have some sort of invisible talisman of his love for Jack.  This morning, I felt that was the cruelest part of the story.  Tomorrow, I'm sure it will be something else that gets me in the chest and chokes me just as I enter the office.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: lauren on February 09, 2006, 05:40:37 PM
For me one of the most striking shots of the movie is the shot from the back of the closet looking back towards Ennis sitting at the window. Then Ennis looks up and towards the camera (us). It's kind of like the audience is looking from the point of view of the shirts (Jack?), but of course doesn't know it yet.

I feel that when Ennis turns his head abruptly toward the closet in that scene that Jack is calling to him, 'come over here.' I feel Jack's in the room with him.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: romeshvr on February 10, 2006, 04:06:26 AM
For me one of the most striking shots of the movie is the shot from the back of the closet looking back towards Ennis sitting at the window. Then Ennis looks up and towards the camera (us). It's kind of like the audience is looking from the point of view of the shirts (Jack?), but of course doesn't know it yet.

I feel that when Ennis turns his head abruptly toward the closet in that scene that Jack is calling to him, 'come over here.' I feel Jack's in the room with him.

me too ... i noticed jack always says to ennis...c'mere... in the second tent scene, when they were play fighting on the hill, even at the end... i also mentioned in my other posts... that i found it strange that the door to his room was closed, so was the window... but the closet door was wide open..  when the shot you mentioned comes up its almost like boom there is the close with its wide open door.... just like jack saying c'mere and see how much i loved you... :'(
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: namja on February 10, 2006, 09:30:46 AM
I've been lurking for a couple of weeks, but this is my first post.  Thanks to everyone for being here--this movie really knocked me for a loop, and you all have been good company while I've been processing it.

I think one reason this scene is so hard to interpret is that we want the answers to be simple.  Jack's father hated him or he loved him.  Jack's parents knew he was gay or they didn't.  But life is more complicated than that.  In both the story and the movie, this scene leaves more blanks to be filled in than just about any other.  As sapstar said, we have to fill them in with our own experiences.  Some of my thoughts:

Jack and his dad had the kind of conflicted father-son relationship that actually is not all that uncommon in our society.  They both loved and hated each other.  They couldn't bear to completely sever the connection, but they couldn't stand being in each other's company very long either.  Jack's father is embittered, cruel and abusive (that bathroom scene is really over the top), but that doesn't mean that he didn't also love Jack. 

I doubt that Jack ever "came out" to his parents, in the sense of explicitly telling them he was gay.  Such a thing would have been a very rare occurence at that time and place in the country.  However, based on what we see of him as an adult, I think it's a fair guess that Jack was a sensitive child, a dreamer, and a bit of a rebel.  In a world where men were supposed to be stoic and strong (like Ennis) this would have marked him as different; not "queer" exactly, but different enought to disappoint his father and get his mother's antennae up.  I don't see how Jack's saying he was going to leave his wife to move back home with another man could have appeared anything but unusual, even if it was covered with the line about "licking the place into shape."  As other posters have noted, Jack's mother clearly knew what was up.  The father must have known on some level, too, but protected himself from absorbing the information by placing it in the context of what he saw as Jack's main character flaw--being a starry-eyed dreamer whose "big ideas never came to pass." 

To me, the loving presence of Jack's mother in this scene totally transforms the movie (to a lesser degree the story, where her character isn't quite as strong), and Roberta Maxwell's five minutes on screen is one of the best short performances I've ever seen.  The second time I saw the film, I noticed that she stands over Ennis with her hand on the back of his chair during the interview with Jack's father.  It flashed through my mind--she's protecting him from the father, just like she tried to protect Jack.  It occurs to me now that in those few moments she essentially adopts Ennis, giving him the same kind of unconditional love that she had given her son.  (One of my "happy ending" fantasies: after Jack's father dies, Ennis goes to visit Jack's mother on the pretense of seeing if she needs help around the ranch, and they are able to talk about Jack, which is healing for both of them).  The love Jack received from his mother is what gave him the ability and the need to commit to a loving relationship as an adult, in spite of all the obstacles he would face as a gay man.  Ennis, unfortunately, never had this kind of loving presence in his life until he met Jack, and it wasn't enough for him to overcome his fears.  It seems to me Jack's mother represents the persistence and resilience of love even in the most unforgiving of circumstances, which is one of the most beautiful messages of the film.

i love it
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Marge_Innavera on February 10, 2006, 10:16:13 AM
Quote
  Randall is just a tempting physical outlet, a poor replacement for Ennis.

There's a certain significance in Jack's age in that last part - his wife says he was 39 when he died. That's about the age where people start to ask themselves where the hell am I going with my life?, and the first stage of realizing that "the rest of my life" and/or "forever" just aren't as long as they used to be.

Jack may be looking for physical outlets, but he also might be thinking of the next 20 years going like the last 20, and thinking of "settling" rather than being alone the rest of his life.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Jeff2 on February 10, 2006, 11:28:43 AM
Saw the movie last night. This scene is unbelievably dense, packed. In some ways, it's a short five-minute version of the whole movie. And I think I caught something which might be useful.

In the movie, not in the story, it's after dad's stuck the knife to Ennis telling him about some other guy Jack was going to bring up to the ranch -- after that speech, mom asks Ennis if he wants to  go upstairs, that's she kept it, etc. In fact, she doesn't just have her hand on Ennis's shoulder, but actuallly gives him a small but noticeable push. And the pacing of the dialogue is very suggestive here. Dad's finished knifing Ennis, or trying to, and mom rushes into her next lines, not allowing dad's recriminating commentary to be the last word.  She's telling Ennis: "Don't listen to John. Jack never really loved anyone but you. Go upstairs, and you'll see!" And of course Ennis finds the evidence. He brings down exactly what she sent him up there to get. They wordlessly exchange their understanding. All, of course, done underneath the nose of the bitter and rejecting father. - An unbelieveably brilliant and tender scene between mom and Ennis.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: lektronnorth on February 10, 2006, 11:42:54 AM
Saw the movie last night. This scene is unbelievably dense, packed. In some ways, it's a short five-minute version of the whole movie. And I think I caught something which might be useful.

In the movie, not in the story, it's after dad's stuck the knife to Ennis telling him about some other guy Jack was going to bring up to the ranch -- after that speech, mom asks Ennis if he wants to  go upstairs, that's she kept it, etc. In fact, she doesn't just have her hand on Ennis's shoulder, but actuallly gives him a small but noticeable push. And the pacing of the dialogue is very suggestive here. Dad's finished knifing Ennis, or trying to, and mom rushes into her next lines, not allowing dad's recriminating commentary to be the last word.  She's telling Ennis: "Don't listen to John. Jack never really loved anyone but you. Go upstairs, and you'll see!" And of course Ennis finds the evidence. He brings down exactly what she sent him up there to get. They wordlessly exchange their understanding. All, of course, done underneath the nose of the bitter and rejecting father. - An unbelieveably brilliant and tender scene between mom and Ennis.

Make me burst into tears at work, why don't you.......
You're so right about this. Astonishing acting to make us hate the father and love the mother so much. And poor poor Ennis. When he picks up the little horse with the cowboy on it, I'm completely shredded......
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: memememe on February 10, 2006, 11:45:18 AM
I think one reason this scene is so hard to interpret is that we want the answers to be simple.  Jack's father hated him or he loved him.  Jack's parents knew he was gay or they didn't.  But life is more complicated than that.  In both the story and the movie, this scene leaves more blanks to be filled in than just about any other.  As sapstar said, we have to fill them in with our own experiences.  Some of my thoughts:


i love it
IMHO, I think Jack's father loved him. But he is the typical masculine male who can't show his emotions. All we know from the movie is that it was very hard for Jack to please him. You have to note that his father insists he be buried in the family plot: Tell you what, he's going into the family plot. If you hated someone, would you want them in the family plot? Hardly. It's his way of saying he loved him.

I don't see what reason he had for hating him. Sure, they have had trouble between the two of them. The story mentions that there's a lot of tension between father and son.

Also, I don't see where everyone got the notion that Jack's father was "sticking it" to Ennis. There's no sign that he hated him. It's probably just the way he communicates.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: lektronnorth on February 10, 2006, 11:47:54 AM
I think one reason this scene is so hard to interpret is that we want the answers to be simple.  Jack's father hated him or he loved him.  Jack's parents knew he was gay or they didn't.  But life is more complicated than that.  In both the story and the movie, this scene leaves more blanks to be filled in than just about any other.  As sapstar said, we have to fill them in with our own experiences.  Some of my thoughts:


i love it
IMHO, I think Jack's father loved him.


Jack didn't think he did though. It's one of the VERY first things we learn about him in the bar scene right at the start.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: In Tears on February 10, 2006, 12:18:22 PM

IMHO, I think Jack's father loved him. But he is the typical masculine male who can't show his emotions. All we know from the movie is that it was very hard for Jack to please him. You have to note that his father insists he be buried in the family plot: Tell you what, he's going into the family plot. If you hated someone, would you want them in the family plot? Hardly. It's his way of saying he loved him.
...
Also, I don't see where everyone got the notion that Jack's father was "sticking it" to Ennis. There's no sign that he hated him. It's probably just the way he communicates.

I knew that if this thread went on along enough, someone would see John Twist as a loving, compassionate father!  How many more pages until we learn that J's mother is a hateful and wicked parent?

Avoiding references to emotions, the evidence there being quite conclusive, I'll respectfully disagree citing these actions by John Twist:

1. He (literally and later quite figuratively) pissed on his son.
2. He never went to see J rodeo, never shared with him anything about rodeo.
3. He knew and despised his son's orientation, "I know where Brokeback Mountain is!"
4. He went out of his way to tell E about the "ranch neighbor." (hence the "sticking it" commentary)
5. He rejected his son's request that his ashes be spread as a site where they would have meaning and dignity.

Now about his mother .....
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Anders on February 10, 2006, 02:09:14 PM

I knew that if this thread went on along enough, someone would see John Twist as a loving, compassionate father!  How many more pages until we learn that J's mother is a hateful and wicked parent?

Avoiding references to emotions, the evidence there being quite conclusive, I'll respectfully disagree citing these actions by John Twist:

1. He (literally and later quite figuratively) pissed on his son.
2. He never went to see J rodeo, never shared with him anything about rodeo.
3. He knew and despised his son's orientation, "I know where Brokeback Mountain is!"
4. He went out of his way to tell E about the "ranch neighbor." (hence the "sticking it" commentary)
5. He rejected his son's request that his ashes be spread as a site where they would have meaning and dignity.

Now about his mother .....

We all understand that John Twist wasn't the nicest father in the world. But, couldn't "I know where Brokeback Mountain is" simply mean that - knowing the geographical place in question - Mr. Twist could take the ashes there him self, if he wanted to? Did Jack really let his father know "Ennis and I had a romance up there"?

Half of the ashes was buried in Texas, with his family there. The other half with his folks, on their family plot. Fair enough.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: cms on February 10, 2006, 02:12:05 PM
We all understand that John Twist wasn't the nicest father in the world. But, couldn't "I know where Brokeback Mountain is" simply mean that - knowing the geographical place in question - Mr. Twist could take the ashes there him self, if he wanted to? Did Jack really let his father know "Ennis and I had a romance up there"?

I thought the line in the movie was - I know "what" Brokeback Mountain is. 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: cms on February 10, 2006, 02:13:02 PM
Either way - I thought John Twist's delivery of that line made it pretty clear he knew.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Anders on February 10, 2006, 02:36:04 PM
We all understand that John Twist wasn't the nicest father in the world. But, couldn't "I know where Brokeback Mountain is" simply mean that - knowing the geographical place in question - Mr. Twist could take the ashes there him self, if he wanted to? Did Jack really let his father know "Ennis and I had a romance up there"?

I thought the line in the movie was - I know "what" Brokeback Mountain is. 
I just checked my DVD, and John Twist says: "I know where Brokeback Mountain is. He thought he was too damn special to be buried in the family plot."

Sorry, but I don't hear "I know you two was humping aorund up on BBM, and I will punish you - sissy Ennis - by not letting you take his ashes there". Mr. Twist is making: 1) A geographical statement. 2) Saying that the obvious place for his son's ashes is their family plot.

That's all.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: peteinportland on February 10, 2006, 02:44:26 PM
Personally, I think Twist Sr is a bitter hateful old man. I'm not sure if he even understands the concept of love. I've seen other old men like this. He understands responsibility and duty and hard work. But I think it has been a long time since he thought about love.

It is an interesting contrast between father and son. For me, Twist Sr represents the old West, and Jack (and even Ennis to some degree near the end) represent the new West. The old West is about one's duty as a man, being strong and stoic, toeing the line. The new West is about following one's heart, loving and caring, being an individual.

I don't think Twist Sr cared a whit about Jack's remains in terms of honoring Jack. Remember Jack had already bucked tradition in being cremated. However, Sr wasn't going to let him buck tradition after death and have his ashes scattered. Jack was going in the family plot because that is what one did when one died: they went into the family plot.

It would be a victory for the old West (as would Jack's death) if not for the mother pushing Ennis upstairs to find the shirts and Ennis' final redemption in the end (he becomes more like Jack and not like Jack's father). Love finally triumphs over tradition. The new West triumphs over the old.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: cms on February 10, 2006, 02:56:35 PM
I just checked my DVD, and John Twist says: "I know where Brokeback Mountain is. He thought he was too damn special to be buried in the family plot."  Sorry, but I don't hear "I know you two was humping aorund up on BBM, and I will punish you - sissy Ennis - by not letting you take his ashes there". Mr. Twist is making: 1) A geographical statement. 2) Saying that the obvious place for his son's ashes is their family plot.
That's all.

To me, "I know where Brokeback Mountain is" doesn't make sense in that scene unless it's meant to convey that he knows / has known about them.  Ennis tells him he'd be proud to take the ashes there to fulfill Jack's wish.  He could have just said "Brokeback Schmokeback, he's being buried in the family plot and that's it."  He says "he knows where it is", says it angrily - if he simply meant that he knows the location of Brokeback, what's he angry about?  Is he insulted because he thinks Ennis is implying he doesn't know that area? 

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Anders on February 10, 2006, 03:18:12 PM
I just checked my DVD, and John Twist says: "I know where Brokeback Mountain is. He thought he was too damn special to be buried in the family plot."  Sorry, but I don't hear "I know you two was humping aorund up on BBM, and I will punish you - sissy Ennis - by not letting you take his ashes there". Mr. Twist is making: 1) A geographical statement. 2) Saying that the obvious place for his son's ashes is their family plot.
That's all.

To me, "I know where Brokeback Mountain is" doesn't make sense in that scene unless it's meant to convey that he knows / has known about them.  Ennis tells him he'd be proud to take the ashes there to fulfill Jack's wish.  He could have just said "Brokeback Schmokeback, he's being buried in the family plot and that's it."  He says "he knows where it is", says it angrily - if he simply meant that he knows the location of Brokeback, what's he angry about?  Is he insulted because he thinks Ennis is implying he doesn't know that area? 
Is he angry? He is mean. On old, bitter and hostile farmer. To me, Mr Twist did say "Brokeback Schmokeback, he's being buried in the family plot and that's it."
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: cms on February 10, 2006, 03:25:19 PM
Is he angry? He is mean. On old, bitter and hostile farmer. To me, Mr Twist did say "Brokeback Schmokeback, he's being buried in the family plot and that's it."

OK, then he said it in a bitter way - "I know where Brokeback Mountain is" - together with his other lines in the scene, doesn't make sense that he's casually saying he knows the physical location of it.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Anders on February 10, 2006, 05:09:27 PM
Is he angry? He is mean. On old, bitter and hostile farmer. To me, Mr Twist did say "Brokeback Schmokeback, he's being buried in the family plot and that's it."

OK, then he said it in a bitter way - "I know where Brokeback Mountain is" - together with his other lines in the scene, doesn't make sense that he's casually saying he knows the physical location of it.
All through the scene he is very bitter. I didn't claim he said "I know..." casually. It was an explicit answer to Ennis' offer to bring Jack's ashes to BBM. Mr. Twist didn't regard that as an "offer", but rather a stupid idea.

This scen is hard to interpret, and I think it's tempting - knowing the full story - to read too much in to it. I don't belive Mr. Twist actually knew anything about J&E:s true relation, nor did Mrs. Twist. She was nice, only because she is nice. Mr. Twist was semi-rude the way he is to anyone.

Nor do I think Ennis was that dissapointed about the ashes, after hearing about the family plot. He was not that surprised Mr. Twist didn't respect Jack's wish, since he knew he had acted like that before. It was comforting for Ennis to get the shirts, instead.

It surprises me that Mr. Twist says (about the family plot) "he is going in to it". Jack's folks must have had the ashes for several months by then!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: memememe on February 10, 2006, 05:31:59 PM
Well, just because he's bitter doesn't mean he doesn't love his son. Life may have made him bitter. Look at the dump they're living in. Sheesh!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: trinket on February 10, 2006, 06:07:07 PM
If you missed it in another topic here...Roberta talked about doing the last scene and talks about when it came time for certain reaction shots and closeups, she didn't expect Heath to be there. He was done shooting for the day and could have left the set. Usually they bring in stand-ins for shots like that. When they were ready for the reaction and closeups, in walks Heath , dressed as Ennis and takes his place in the scene. Roberta was stunned and thrilled to see him being so generous with his time, just so the actors could really play out their roles.  It meant a lot to her.   

Well dang, that just made me cry!  isn't that wonderful?
You should post this over on the Heath thread.
I'm glad you told about that again, I missed it the other time also!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Cowboysnkisses on February 10, 2006, 08:29:55 PM
Nor do I think Ennis was that dissapointed about the ashes, after hearing about the family plot.

Why do you say that?  Ennis' face when he hears the father's refusal shows he is deeply affected.  Jack's mother's pained expression, with her hand to her throat, indicates she understands how much this hurts Ennis.  The story says, "Bumping down the washboard road Ennis passed the country cemetery fenced with sagging sheep wire, a tiny fenced square on the welling prairie, a few graves bright with plastic flowers, and didn't want to know Jack was going in there, to be buried on the grieving plain." 

Ennis' main purpose in visiting Jack's parents is to give Jack what he denied him in life: the fulfilment of his lifelong wish of being forever at peace as he was all those years before on Brokeback Mountain--to satisfy Jack in death in a way he could not in life.  To find that impossible when at last he himself wanted to bring it about must have been torture to him.  And to have the final destruction of Jack's dream brought about in death by Jack's father--as it was in life by Ennis' own father's cruelty to him as a child--must have been a crushing blow.  As Ennis leaves the house, it looks as if he can barely walk.  Without the touching support of Jack's mother and the shirts he cradles as the only physical remains of Jack's love, he might not have made it to his truck on his feet.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on February 10, 2006, 09:01:59 PM
Thank God for Jacks mother.
Can you imagine what Ennis would have felt WITHOUT her there at his visit?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Marge_Innavera on February 11, 2006, 08:48:25 AM
I agree that the father was also disgusted with Jack for never carrying through on his plans, and the wife was afraid of him, as both Scotts have described. . .

I'm not sure I'd agree about Jack's mother being afraid of him.  They've been married 40 or so years, and in a long-term marriage you generally figure out what you can 'modify' and what you can't.  She knows her husband is never going to change in his opinion of Jack and, by extension, his opinion of Ennis.  As far as Ennis not getting the ashes is concerned, that would get into a legal action and a very bitter dispute; and she understandably wouldn't be up to that. This woman has lost her only child - a parent's fate-worse-than-death nightmare. Her husband is now all she has.

And she did seem to be trying to communicate something to Ennis while she was putting the shirts into the bag; and "come and see us again" (is this wording right?) is subtly different from the Southern "come and see us" idiom. She might be considering granting Ennis' wish and respecting her son's wishes - after her husband is gone. I'd noticed he never gets up from where he's sitting; the mother might suspect she'll outlive her husband as well as her son.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: chapeaugris on February 11, 2006, 09:55:26 AM
I haven't read through all 18 pages of this thread, so maybe someone else has remarked on this, but one of the things I remember most of this whole scene is the shabby sterility of the house and the starkness. The only furniture in sight is the table and chairs, and every surface is whitewashed and peeling. Jack's mother offers him a cup of coffee and cherry cake. Cherry! A mental splash warmth and color in that desolate scene.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwp2paris on February 11, 2006, 10:30:27 AM
I haven't read through all 18 pages of this thread, so maybe someone else has remarked on this, but one of the things I remember most of this whole scene is the shabby sterility of the house and the starkness. The only furniture in sight is the table and chairs, and every surface is whitewashed and peeling. Jack's mother offers him a cup of coffee and cherry cake. Cherry! A mental splash warmth and color in that desolate scene.

I always think Quaker when I watch that scene...repressed emotions reflected in the sparce decore of the home...These are simple folk caught up in something so foreign and unknown...yet Mrs. Twist understands and has moved beyond the limitations of her surroundings to embrace her son and this man who seems to know Jack as only she thought she had known him whilst John Twist is stuck inside the sterility of it all and kicking and screaming his rage at not wanting to move out of those limitations..."I know where Brokeback Mountain is..." but hell if he is going to get in his beat-up truck and haul his son's ashes out there...why just not limp down that sad road and dump them under the dying oak tree...

This scene haunts me.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: bluehorse on February 11, 2006, 12:33:26 PM
I thought I was over dwelling on how John Twist's intimation about how Jack coming up with another fella must have affected Ennis for the rest of his days, left him wondering if Jack was really going to leave him. I resolved that no, because of the timeline, that their last scene at the river was in spring, Jack went up to Lightening Flat despondent and frustrated and might have said to his parents that he was going to leave Lureen and move up here with another guy but had no follow through. I resolved that Ennis heard what Jack said that last trip: sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it, as well as: I wish I knew how to quit you (he can't), resolved that they had torqued it back, nothing changed, resolved etc. I resolved from reading the story that when John Twist told Ennis about the other fella, it only assured him about the tire iron, did not make him doubt Jack.
 
BUT THEN, yesterday, I bought the screenplay which is totally different than both the story and the film. The film reads completely differently than the timeline in the screenplay. As has been pointed out, in the screenplay, the scene with Randall is three years before in 1978, the last scene on the river is 1981 and the scene when Ennis finds out about Jack's death it is 1982. This is a completely different timeline. If this is so, and Randall is the guy John Twist is referring to, Jack and Randall have been seeing each other for years, and when John Twist refers to spring he can't then be referring to the spring after the last scene at the river, it would be the next spring after that. . .this is such a different scenario. I guess the saving grace here is that John Twist says: it never came to pass, which I hope Ennis took deep into his heart. I'm not sure what to make of the new timeline in terms of John Twist's comments and Ennis' reaction. But this is troubling, in the screenplay, it specifically says that Ennis' face drains of all color when John Twist tells him that Jack was going to come up there with another fella. That told me as did Heath's reaction in the film that this news did indeed pierce Ennis'  heart (not because of the tire on as the story reveals, but because of the betrayal).
 
Also, I started thinking about the lines in the story: the open space between what Ennis knew and what he tried to believe. As many posters suggest these lines might refer to Jack's death, that Ennis KNEW it was the tire iron, but TRIED TO BELIEVE it was an accident. I always interpreted them as that Ennis KNEW Jack was the love of his life but TRIED TO BELIEVE all of society's dictates. BUT THEN, I woke thinking that these lines could also be referring to that Ennis KNEW that Jack was leaving him but TRIED TO BELIEVE otherwise. I don't really believe this, but it's there, unpopular as it may be between the lines of our film, story, and screenplay.
 
I don't know why this bothers me so. I don't want Ennis to have this doubt in his memory but Proulx put it there so I guess Ennis (and me) are going to have to stand it. I really do believe Ennis knew how deeply, madly Jack felt about him. . .but there is an open space I guess for all these interpretations and the mind twists and turns around all the possibilities, even this one which disquiets me so.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Jaysmommy on February 11, 2006, 05:20:27 PM
First time posting on this thread, and haven't gotten through all 18 pages yet, but here are some of my thoughts:

John Twist was an embittered and abusive father and husband - although he may have been quite a rodeo rider in his day, he failed to make the ranch a success - he is probably the kind of person who would blame everyone else for this failure before admitting any responsibility for it, and certainly Jack was one of his scapegoats - (Jack tells Ennis in the bar about how there's no pleasin' his daddy) His father would have resented Jack's optimism and sweet nature - he never taught Jack how to ride the bulls, never gave him any encouragement - abused him when he was young (bathroom incident). Did he know of Jack's sexuality? I think he suspected it, but may never have voiced the possibility to Jack's mother. John Twist's homophobia might have been so deeply entrenched that any discussion of homosexuality, even in a general way, just wouldn't happen, much less talking about it as a possible reality for Jack. "I know where Brokeback Mountain is" is the closest Jack's father could ever come to acknowledging the truth about Jack.

Jack's mother, on the other hand, though beaten down, (if not physically, certainly verbally and emotionally) by her husband, was still a mother, and IMO would have unconditional love for her son. Again, the truth of Jack's sexuality would not have necessarily been something she pondered that much in his earlier years, but to be sure, she came to understand that whenever Jack spoke of Ennis, he was talking about someone who meant the world to him and she was probably very grateful that her son had someone to love.

Through the years, whenever Jack would talk about he and Ennis coming up and fixing up the ranch, he was trying to impress his father, trying to win his approval, trying to prove himself a man to this unforgiving man. He probably would have tried to paint a picture of a couple of tough and strong cowboys (which they were!), and  in no way would have wanted his father to know the actual nature of the relationship.

Jack's mother had to have known the shirts were in the closet - she invited Ennis to go up to Jack 's room knowing he would find something of value to him. And Ennis made no attempt to hide from Jack's father that he was taking the shirts....IMO, the was the first concrete action Ennis took in admitting openly his love for Jack. If they had only been good buddies who knew each other a long time, there is no way he would have taken a couple of shirts! Ennis was truly beginning to "come out" here - he didn't give a damn what Jack's father thought of him at this point.

Aside from the scene where Ennis buries his nose in the shirts, for me the most powerful part of this scene is when Ennis and J's mother are looking at each other, after she has placed the shirts in the bag and J's father is saying that J's ashes are going into the family plot. She locks her gaze on Ennis, willing him to know that she understands, she knows how much he loved her son, and that nothing her husband says matters. I love that Heath had actually played this scene with her instead of a stand-in.....her face in those few seconds speaks of all the pain and sorrow she feels at the loss of her son, and also of the respect and love she has for this man who loved J so much. She is simply riveting in this scene....her eyes hold Ennis like a tender embrace, and he is comforted by this.

I have more to say, but I think I've rambled enough for now....

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on February 11, 2006, 06:19:26 PM
Beautiful, Jaysmommy.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: romeshvr on February 11, 2006, 06:43:52 PM
wow...this site keeps getting better and better....beautiful posts jaysmommy and bluehorse...

Jack's mother had to have known the shirts were in the closet - she invited Ennis to go up to Jack 's room knowing he would find something of value to him. And Ennis made no attempt to hide from Jack's father that he was taking the shirts....IMO, the was the first concrete action Ennis took in admitting openly his love for Jack. If they had only been good buddies who knew each other a long time, there is no way he would have taken a couple of shirts! Ennis was truly beginning to "come out" here - he didn't give a damn what Jack's father thought of him at this point.

I agree here.  It is interesting how she asks Ennis to go up there.  She 100% knew Ennis would find the shirts.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: sotoalf on February 11, 2006, 08:16:34 PM
Jack's mother had to have known the shirts were in the closet - she invited Ennis to go up to Jack 's room knowing he would find something of value to him. And Ennis made no attempt to hide from Jack's father that he was taking the shirts....IMO, the was the first concrete action Ennis took in admitting openly his love for Jack. If they had only been good buddies who knew each other a long time, there is no way he would have taken a couple of shirts! Ennis was truly beginning to "come out" here - he didn't give a damn what Jack's father thought of him at this point.

I agree. And let's remember that John Twist NOTICES that Ennis brought those shirts down; I was watching for this on my last viewing. The man is broken and embittered, beaten down by the weight of his own life.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: romeshvr on February 11, 2006, 08:40:43 PM
Yep I noticed it too.  He had the look of not knowing what was going on.  We only assume he is embittered and beaten down.  Maybe deep down he loved his son but didn't know how to show it.  Remember he was a bull rider too.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on February 11, 2006, 10:01:13 PM
mwp2paris,  Yes, the interior is somewhat Quaker.  But don't confuse the simplicity of speech dress and lack of interior decoration with illiberality.  Friends (Quakers) were abolitionists from the 17th century (settled Pennsylvania, NJ, Maryland from about 1670 onwards.  Also have been very supportive of GLBT rights.  Also don't confuse Pentecostals with Quakers.  Remember Mrs. Twist is Pentecostal (like John Ashcroft.)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mary on February 11, 2006, 10:27:35 PM
I haven't read through all 18 pages of this thread, so maybe someone else has remarked on this, but one of the things I remember most of this whole scene is the shabby sterility of the house and the starkness. The only furniture in sight is the table and chairs, and every surface is whitewashed and peeling. Jack's mother offers him a cup of coffee and cherry cake. Cherry! A mental splash warmth and color in that desolate scene.

The word that comes to my mind each time I see that house (especially before Jack's mother opens the door) is ethereal, it just looks other worldly.  So fitting in my mind for Ennis' visit to Jack's home
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: cms on February 11, 2006, 10:37:07 PM
All through the scene he is very bitter. I didn't claim he said "I know..." casually. It was an explicit answer to Ennis' offer to bring Jack's ashes to BBM. Mr. Twist didn't regard that as an "offer", but rather a stupid idea.

This scen is hard to interpret, and I think it's tempting - knowing the full story - to read too much in to it. I don't belive Mr. Twist actually knew anything about J&E:s true relation, nor did Mrs. Twist. She was nice, only because she is nice. Mr. Twist was semi-rude the way he is to anyone.


Yikes - I don't know why I'm beating a dead horse as it's clear we are not going to convince each other, but...

I didn't know the story when I saw the movie and my first reaction to John Twist's line was that he knew, so I personally didn't read anything extra into it, just reacted to the line & delivery.

Also, I don't think "I know where Brokeback Mountain is" is an explicit answer to Ennis' offer - that he wanted to convey that it was a stupid idea.  There would have been a lot of ways he could have said it to make that point.  Now, if Ennis had said "I'd be proud to take it to BBM, you know the mountain that's north a here." then the line makes sense as just a response that doesn't convey any information about what Twist Sr. knew or suspected.   

Ack.  I need to get off this site and get some stuff done!   :)

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwp2paris on February 11, 2006, 11:18:55 PM
mwp2paris,  Yes, the interior is somewhat Quaker.  But don't confuse the simplicity of speech dress and lack of interior decoration with illiberality.  Friends (Quakers) were abolitionists from the 17th century (settled Pennsylvania, NJ, Maryland from about 1670 onwards.  Also have been very supportive of GLBT rights.  Also don't confuse Pentecostals with Quakers.  Remember Mrs. Twist is Pentecostal (like John Ashcroft.)

Oh, Lord, I'm from Missouri as is John Ashcroft and he is a complete embarrasment to Missouri and Pentecostals if they have any ounce of dignity to them.

It is just the simplicity of the interior that caught my eye...the Twists are simple folk and I think that lifestyle is such a statement to where these people came from. But it is the amazing canyon of emotion that is there between Mr. Twist and Mrs. Twist that is so telling about what goes on in that simple little house. She loves her son as he is and He hates his son for what he is.

During that Thanksgiving scene, you can see the peace-loving Jack agonize over confronting that ass of a father-in-law. That scene is so telling of who this Jack is and, I think, why Ennis loves him so...the ying and yang of these two is amazing.

This is amazing stuff. I just marvel at Annie and her simple little story and Ang for his quiet little movie...what else in recent time has sparked so much thoughtful reflection and community?

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on February 11, 2006, 11:20:52 PM
cms, of all the topics JCTwist Sr. could have brought up with the guest, why do you think he chose to discuss the ones he focused on??
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: romeshvr on February 12, 2006, 05:00:09 AM
Is not interesting that the father would not let go of the ashes?  Obviously he did not like his son when he was alive but he still wanted him to go into the family plot after he is dead?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: patroclus on February 12, 2006, 05:45:44 AM

The word that comes to my mind each time I see that house (especially before Jack's mother opens the door) is ethereal, it just looks other worldly.  So fitting in my mind for Ennis' visit to Jack's home

Thank you. Ethereal. I've written that I find this whole section hallucinatory in its pared down intensity. I find the whole house almost a stylised  representation of the archetypal 'place of origin' for the farm boy American dreamer. I keep thinking of Gatsby and his poor boy origins too. And of course the Great Gatsby has its shirts scene, too: when Daisy weeps into all Gatsby's gorgeous coloured shirts when they meet again at his house. I find this scene the pivotal moment in the film (as opposed to the story). The place where Ennis is at his lowest, most broken and where he experiences a moment of total acceptance and acknowledgement that he is Jack's bereaved spouse/life partner by Jack's mother. I think in the film this represents a moment of healing for Ennis. Not in the story so much, though. That is one place where they differ considerably and therefore have a differently pitched closing scene.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on February 12, 2006, 08:47:37 PM

The word that comes to my mind each time I see that house (especially before Jack's mother opens the door) is ethereal, it just looks other worldly.  So fitting in my mind for Ennis' visit to Jack's home

Thank you. Ethereal. I've written that I find this whole section hallucinatory in its pared down intensity. I find the whole house almost a stylised  representation of the archetypal 'place of origin' for the farm boy American dreamer. I keep thinking of Gatsby and his poor boy origins too. And of course the Great Gatsby has its shirts scene, too: when Daisy weeps into all Gatsby's gorgeous coloured shirts when they meet again at his house. I find this scene the pivotal moment in the film (as opposed to the story). The place where Ennis is at his lowest, most broken and where he experiences a moment of total acceptance and acknowledgement that he is Jack's bereaved spouse/life partner by Jack's mother. I think in the film this represents a moment of healing for Ennis. Not in the story so much, though. That is one place where they differ considerably and therefore have a differently pitched closing scene.















Jacks parents home has no beauty.
The feeling of Death is all around........a very sad place.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: sskater on February 12, 2006, 09:18:37 PM
The house was barren. It looked in better shape than the barn! Whitewashing was the gold standard then, surprizing to me was that it was the house was whitewashed in both the  ext and int. Whitewashing on the dairy farm was just done on the barn.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: atomicscott on February 12, 2006, 10:26:29 PM
Grant Wood's American Gothic comes to mind when I think of Jack's parents and their house. The very definition of Gothic relates to a style in literature that emphasizes the grotesque, mysterious and desolate. And what better way to describe the scene that Ennis finds at Jack's parent's home? Jack's stoic, but knowing, parents are set against a backdrop of whitewash that superficially hides, but cannot cover the imperfections in their house and life. The father's puritanical morality does not allow him to embrace the love that he might have had for his son and the mother faces her love with a weary knowledge and acceptance of who Jack was and how important Ennis was to him.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: trinket on February 13, 2006, 07:28:58 AM
.....her face in those few seconds speaks of all the pain and sorrow she feels at the loss of her son, and also of the respect and love she has for this man who loved J so much. She is simply riveting in this scene....her eyes hold Ennis like a tender embrace, and he is comforted by this.

I have more to say, but I think I've rambled enough for now....



Your words gave me goosebumps!  Beautifully said.
This is my favorite scene in the entire movie.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: trinket on February 13, 2006, 07:37:47 AM
Is not interesting that the father would not let go of the ashes?  Obviously he did not like his son when he was alive but he still wanted him to go into the family plot after he is dead?



My take on this thing (Jack's father saying his sons ashes would go in the family plot) is it was more about CONTROL than anything else.
I speculate the Mr. Twist was a bitter man who emotionally (if not physically) abused his wife and son.  Along with that comes a person who also feels the need to control everything.
Mr. Twist detested Jack's other life and was not about to allow Jack to have his way in the end (his ashes spread up on Brokeback Mountain).
Just some thoughts.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Boris on February 13, 2006, 08:25:31 AM
Is not interesting that the father would not let go of the ashes?  Obviously he did not like his son when he was alive but he still wanted him to go into the family plot after he is dead?



My take on this thing (Jack's father saying his sons ashes would go in the family plot) is it was more about CONTROL than anything else.
I speculate the Mr. Twist was a bitter man who emotionally (if not physically) abused his wife and son.  Along with that comes a person who also feels the need to control everything.
Mr. Twist detested Jack's other life and was not about to allow Jack to have his way in the end (his ashes spread up on Brokeback Mountain).
Just some thoughts.

In the original short story John Twist was also physically abusive and he humiliated Jack when he was a kid. I agree, that it was about control; now he could decide, out of spite, what happens to Jack after his death. He failed to crush his spirit while he was alive...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on February 13, 2006, 01:34:23 PM
Re:  John Twist and the ashes

I have a question.  Old Man Twist has had the ashes for a while, by the time we meet him.  Surely, he would love to shovel some County Cemetary dirt over them ASAP.   Why is it, do you think, that those ashes are not already in the family plot? 

I'm thinking that it's all about his wife  -- in some fashion.    Maybe John C. senses that, if he violates Jack's wish, his wife will never talk to him again;  might even turn her face to the wall.  She is still deep in grief.  John C. is not a fount of human kindness, but he would not look forward to a life alone.  Or, maybe she pulls more weight than we see in the "wake" scene, and has simply put her foot down. 

Or.... what, do you reckon?

Dal
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lola on February 13, 2006, 01:38:09 PM
Is not interesting that the father would not let go of the ashes?  Obviously he did not like his son when he was alive but he still wanted him to go into the family plot after he is dead?



My take on this thing (Jack's father saying his sons ashes would go in the family plot) is it was more about CONTROL than anything else.
I speculate the Mr. Twist was a bitter man who emotionally (if not physically) abused his wife and son.  Along with that comes a person who also feels the need to control everything.
Mr. Twist detested Jack's other life and was not about to allow Jack to have his way in the end (his ashes spread up on Brokeback Mountain).
Just some thoughts.


Do you know I thought the opposite, I thought that by him saying they were going in the family plot...........it was his way of saying no matter what he did in life, he was still our son and belongs with family!  I thought it was kind of nice, maybe I am wrong!  :-\
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 13, 2006, 02:28:33 PM
QUOTE:
[Jacks parents' home has no beauty.
The feeling of Death is all around........a very sad place.]

Yes!
This penultimate scene embodies DEATH. It's DEATH itself.
The last scene (trailer scene) is Ennis on his way to redemption. To Heaven, as indicated in the ultimate "van Gogh"-landscape frame = eternity.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: romeshvr on February 13, 2006, 03:38:44 PM
Re:  John Twist and the ashes
I have a question.  Old Man Twist has had the ashes for a while, by the time we meet him.  Surely, he would love to shovel some County Cemetary dirt over them ASAP.   Why is it, do you think, that those ashes are not already in the family plot? 
I'm thinking that it's all about his wife  -- in some fashion.    Maybe John C. senses that, if he violates Jack's wish, his wife will never talk to him again;  might even turn her face to the wall.  She is still deep in grief.  John C. is not a fount of human kindness, but he would not look forward to a life alone.  Or, maybe she pulls more weight than we see in the "wake" scene, and has simply put her foot down. 
Or.... what, do you reckon?
Dal
I raised a similar question before.  Why wasn't the ashes in the family plot yet since Ennis only found out about the accident months afterwards.  Lureen already put a stone up so I was wondering why the Twists have not.  Someone suggested that Mr Twist couldn't find help.  Sr Twist does comment he can't find no help around where they are.  I commented how much man power is needed to bury an urn, mind you there must be some help in the ranch, no?  Someone else also suggested it didn't really matter because Jack Twist was dead and only that mattered.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: cms on February 13, 2006, 03:51:36 PM
Why wasn't the ashes in the family plot yet since Ennis only found out about the accident months afterwards.  Lureen already put a stone up so I was wondering why the Twists have not.  Someone suggested that Mr Twist couldn't find help.  Sr Twist does comment he can't find no help around where they are.  I commented how much man power is needed to bury an urn, mind you there must be some help in the ranch, no?  Someone else also suggested it didn't really matter because Jack Twist was dead and only that mattered.

Maybe he didn't care to bury him in the family plot, or at all, so it was just left alone.  Only when Ennis came to claim it did it become important that he go in the family plot.  I agree with the post above that it was a control issue...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: sandyday on February 13, 2006, 03:57:31 PM
what i keep wondering about this scence (and it's been remarked on i think somewhere in the board) is that if ennis knew that jack had spoken so glowingly (it seems that's what's happened) of ennis to his folks, and that jack's mom would be so nice to him--i mean she placed her hand on his shoulder, let him go upstairs, gave him a back for the shirts and understood...i mean some moms would be like, what are you doing taking those shirts...she knew!

i also wondered why ennis didn't take the little horse that he woodcarved for jack. i thought that would be one nice little thing that he could have and remember. we never got to see the scene when he gave it go jack. it must have been before they parted--ennis didn't have it in his papersack when he left, so jack must have had it in his truck somewhere. it would have been interesting if we saw jack holding it in the truck or ennis giving it to him before they left, but i guess aguirre couldn't see that, huh.  sigh. too many what ifs. and these what ifs are more about what we just don't know--they happened in this fictional world with annie's imagination--and somehow jack got that horse, or he stole that shirt...they happened....but we just don't see exactly how....... do we really need to? i dunno.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: trinket on February 13, 2006, 06:12:58 PM

i also wondered why ennis didn't take the little horse that he woodcarved for jack. i thought that would be one nice little thing that he could have and remember.
.....we never got to see the scene when he gave it go jack. ....... do we really need to? i dunno.

This is something I have wondered about.
Does the book tell that the horse in Jacks room WAS the horse we saw Ennis carving in the tent and he gave it to Jack?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: trinket on February 13, 2006, 06:14:15 PM


Do you know I thought the opposite, I thought that by him saying they were going in the family plot...........it was his way of saying no matter what he did in life, he was still our son and belongs with family!  I thought it was kind of nice, maybe I am wrong!  :-\

 
I didn't take it that way at all.  It's something to think about though.
hum....pondering pondering...guess we will be for a VERY long time to come, hu?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: romeshvr on February 13, 2006, 06:23:20 PM
what i keep wondering about this scence (and it's been remarked on i think somewhere in the board) is that if ennis knew that jack had spoken so glowingly (it seems that's what's happened) of ennis to his folks, and that jack's mom would be so nice to him--i mean she placed her hand on his shoulder, let him go upstairs, gave him a back for the shirts and understood...i mean some moms would be like, what are you doing taking those shirts...she knew!

i also wondered why ennis didn't take the little horse that he woodcarved for jack. i thought that would be one nice little thing that he could have and remember. we never got to see the scene when he gave it go jack. it must have been before they parted--ennis didn't have it in his papersack when he left, so jack must have had it in his truck somewhere. it would have been interesting if we saw jack holding it in the truck or ennis giving it to him before they left, but i guess aguirre couldn't see that, huh.  sigh. too many what ifs. and these what ifs are more about what we just don't know--they happened in this fictional world with annie's imagination--and somehow jack got that horse, or he stole that shirt...they happened....but we just don't see exactly how....... do we really need to? i dunno.

There is no mention about the horse in the short story.  The horse was put there by the play writers.  Besides that horse and the cowboy looked like a toy and it looked painted.  The one Ennis was carving was rough and I'm not sure Ennis didn't get a chance to paint up in Brokeback Mountain.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Cowboysnkisses on February 13, 2006, 08:57:45 PM
Jack's father's explanation for not acceding to Jack's final wishes about the disposition of his ashes is the same in the story as in the film: "He thought he was too goddamn special to be buried in the family plot."  That doesn't exactly sound like a father who wants to show love and respect for his son.  It was control and dominance, pure and simple--that which he exerted upon Jack throughout his boyhood and finally, alas, after his death.  The stud duck (so described in the story) seems to have taken Jack's independence and adventurous spirit as insolence and defiance and this was his way of getting back at him.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: cythera4 on February 13, 2006, 09:41:05 PM
In an interview with the Advocate, Larry McMurtry said that the scene at Jack's parents is what lifts the story out of mere sadness and pain into genuine tragedy. He doesn't say why he thinks this, though. My feeling is that Heath Ledger's acting is what accomplishes this--his responses in the close-ups as the father is talking to him are so complex and heartbreakingly eloquent. It's at this moment, and upstairs in Jack's closet, that he realizes what Jack fully meant to him and what he lost.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: bluehorse on February 13, 2006, 09:51:42 PM
In an interview with the Advocate, Larry McMurtry said that the scene at Jack's parents is what lifts the story out of mere sadness and pain into genuine tragedy. He doesn't say why he thinks this, though. My feeling is that Heath Ledger's acting is what accomplishes this--his responses in the close-ups as the father is talking to him are so complex and heartbreakingly eloquent. It's at this moment, and upstairs in Jack's closet, that he realizes what Jack fully meant to him and what he lost.

I think it brings it into the realm of genuine tragedy because he realizes all this TOO LATE, knows if he realized earlier he could have changed this devastating fate.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: cms on February 13, 2006, 10:07:47 PM
I think it brings it into the realm of genuine tragedy because he realizes all this TOO LATE, knows if he realized earlier he could have changed this devastating fate.

Yep -
McMurtry: It’s when Ennis goes there that it becomes a great movie, that it becomes a tragedy.
Ossana: ...And then he goes up to Jack’s room and he finds his old shirt hanging tucked inside Jack’s, and he realizes how much that man loved him—how deeply he loved him from the get-go.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwp2paris on February 13, 2006, 10:30:34 PM
While there are many scenes that stay with me...this is the one that haunts me...etheral I think was the best description several posts above. We have moved from things tangible...friendship, love, sex, family, death...to something much less tangible yet so transcendent ... the memories we hold of ourselves and those we cherish.

I had a 3 hour drive today to a work site, listened to BBM Soundtrack twice and thought about the few minutes in this lonely, sad household where the scent of loss hangs heavy in the air.

Then I saw something...perhaps this very year, Alma, Jr. turning into that bumpy deserted road, seeing a decaying house and barn, long forsaken...not knowing quite why she was there but knowing that it was somewhere important to her father, who she had so adored and delighted in, and she found comfort in the knowledge that to his last day, he knew her love for him. She saw the little graveyard and pulled her car over, picked up the urn with her father's ashes, exited the car and walked toward the little graveyard. She pulled aside the weeds and overgrowth until she found the Twist family stone. Looking a little further, she found a small rounded stone labeled in worn, simple script, Jack 1943-1982. She stood for a moment, still questioning what she was about to do, then removed the lid from the urn and gently and lovingly let the ashes of her father spill out onto the dried, cracked prairie earth.

Just as the last of the ashes settled to the ground, a gentle breeze came up and caught her by surprise and she was immediately filled with some overwhelming sense of completeness, like two halves had been reunited.

Her eyes filled with tears and suddenly the stories her father had told in his later years made full sense. He was truly home, not here on the prairie in this sad little square of land set off by crumbling stone walls, but with his soul mate...ashes to ashes, dust to dust, longing now fulfilled, peace now found.

She turned and walked toward her car, her shoulders held a little higher as she now knew, and truly admired, the broken soul that had been her father. She turned and looking back, thought one thought, which she knew he heard even though her lips didn't move, before climbing back in her car and leaving this place, never to return, not because it was that out of the way, but because she knew they were not here...

"Daddy, he is there, he is there on Brokeback, waiting for you. Go and find him, and be with him forever. You did all you could do here, now go and find what you couldn't find here."
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: ToolPackinMama on February 13, 2006, 10:42:08 PM

i also wondered why ennis didn't take the little horse that he woodcarved for jack. i thought that would be one nice little thing that he could have and remember.
.....we never got to see the scene when he gave it go jack. ....... do we really need to? i dunno.

This is something I have wondered about.
Does the book tell that the horse in Jacks room WAS the horse we saw Ennis carving in the tent and he gave it to Jack?


I wondered that too.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on February 13, 2006, 10:44:11 PM
While there are many scenes that stay with me...this is the one that haunts me...etheral I think was the best description several posts above. We have moved from things tangible...friendship, love, sex, family, death...to something much less tangible yet so transcendent ... the memories we hold of ourselves and those we cherish.

I had a 3 hour drive today to a work site, listened to BBM Soundtrack twice and thought about the few minutes in this lonely, sad household where the scent of loss hangs heavy in the air.

Then I saw something...perhaps this very year, Alma, Jr. turning into that bumpy deserted road, seeing a decaying house and barn, long forsaken...not knowing quite why she was there but knowing that it was somewhere important to her father, who she had so adored and delighted in, and she found comfort in the knowledge that to his last day, he knew her love for him. She saw the little graveyard and pulled her car over, picked up the urn with her father's ashes, exited the car and walked toward the little graveyard. She pulled aside the weeds and overgrowth until she found the Twist family stone. Looking a little further, she found a small rounded stone labeled in worn, simple script, Jack 1943-1982. She stood for a moment, still questioning what she was about to do, then removed the lid from the urn and gently and lovingly let the ashes of her father spill out onto the dried, cracked prairie earth.

Just as the last of the ashes settled to the ground, a gentle breeze came up and caught her by surprise and she was immediately filled with some overwhelming sense of completeness, like two halves had been reunited.

Her eyes filled with tears and suddenly the stories her father had told in his later years made full sense. He was truly home, not here on the prairie in this sad little square of land set off by crumbling stone walls, but with his soul mate...ashes to ashes, dust to dust, longing now fulfilled, peace now found.

She turned and walked toward her car, her shoulders held a little higher as she now knew, and truly admired, the broken soul that had been her father. She turned and looking back, thought one thought before climbing back in her car and leaving this place, never to return, not because it was that out of the way, but because she knew they were not here...

"Daddy, he is there, he is there on Brokeback, waiting for you. Go and find him, and be with him forever. You did all you could do here, now go and find what you couldn't find here."













CAN MY HEART ACHE ANY MORE THAN IT DOES RIGHT NOW?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: cythera4 on February 13, 2006, 11:09:41 PM
She turned and walked toward her car, her shoulders held a little higher as she now knew, and truly admired, the broken soul that had been her father. She turned and looking back, thought one thought before climbing back in her car and leaving this place, never to return, not because it was that out of the way, but because she knew they were not here...

"Daddy, he is there, he is there on Brokeback, waiting for you. Go and find him, and be with him forever. You did all you could do here, now go and find what you couldn't find here."[/i]

Like Heathcliff and Kathy, together forever on Wuthering Heights. Neat idea.












CAN MY HEART ACHE ANY MORE THAN IT DOES RIGHT NOW?
Quote
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwp2paris on February 13, 2006, 11:52:48 PM

CAN MY HEART ACHE ANY MORE THAN IT DOES RIGHT NOW?

It is weird, but as I thought this thought and typed these words, I wasn't sad at all but peaceful...Ennis finds his peace, perhaps not on this side of this great journey of life, but on the other side. It flies in the face of my theological beliefs but I still think it is joyful to think that these two found each other and the Good Book says that God loves a Joyful Heart!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on February 14, 2006, 12:22:32 AM
Why wasn't the ashes in the family plot yet since Ennis only found out about the accident months afterwards.  Lureen already put a stone up so I was wondering why the Twists have not.  Someone suggested that Mr Twist couldn't find help.  Sr Twist does comment he can't find no help around where they are.  I commented how much man power is needed to bury an urn, mind you there must be some help in the ranch, no?  Someone else also suggested it didn't really matter because Jack Twist was dead and only that mattered.

Maybe he didn't care to bury him in the family plot, or at all, so it was just left alone.  Only when Ennis came to claim it did it become important that he go in the family plot.  I agree with the post above that it was a control issue...

I think it was a control issue all right, but it didn't start when Ennis walked in.  A much older contest was between John C. and Jack himself, and this was the last round.  As always, John C was hands-down going to win over his 'special', smarty-pants son, with all his big dreams and promises.   

I have always thought urns full of ashes are creepy things to keep around the house.  "it didn't really matter because Jack Twist was dead and only that mattered."  -- can't quite agree.  Ashes, and other "human remains" (awful term) often have an odd, powerful significance to family or friends.  Where were the ashes?  Even at the back of the darkest closet, Mrs. Twist knew they were there;  every time she glanced at that closet, she thought of the fact that John C was willfully preventling Jack's last wish from 'coming to pass'. 

I believe Mrs. Twist is the reason those ashes are still unburied.  Think of it -- she saw John C crush Jack's pride and make him small, year after year as a boy.  He didn't let up after he pretty much drove Jack out of the house -- even while accepting Jack's help, year after year.  She saw Jack getting more unhappy and tired and worn and used-up,  but he still showed up to lend John C a hand, with nary a 'thank you' from John C.  Finally, Jack arrives in an urn, and only wants to lie in a beautiful, peaceful place.   And what does John C do? -- he crows "Tell you WHAT, we got a family plot, and he's goin' in it!"  The plot being located within spitting distance of where Jack ran from.

I think that was more than even Mrs Twist could put up with.  She couldn't make John C back down, but without yelling she made it clear to him that, if he carried through, he'd be sorry in one way or another.  So, Ennis walked in on a stalemate.  There was an unresolved control issue all right -- between the Twists.  The ashes were going to sit in a cupboard, for a while.  My read, of course.

Dal
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on February 14, 2006, 06:39:28 AM
Well, E passes what is probably the cemetary in issue on the way back,  in the book.  Apparently it is several miles away.  These are not uncommon in rural America.  There's at least one in my family, settled Illinois in the 1830's. 

So, when a perfect stranger (in the sense of someone you've never met before) shows up with a report that your daughter in law (whom you've never met either, remember) said something about some mountain over by Ten Sleep, you might get a  little dogmatic, too. 

Remember, mother concurs in Sr.'s decision--because ultimatly she's goin in there, too, with her son.

Actually, even that the parents allow Ennis to go upstairs to that room is itself a rather magnanimous gesture in and of itself. Strangers wouldn't be allowed into that highly private locus, at least not in the rural America I knew. And that the father would concur in E taking something out of that room--any something--accords E a special status.

Posters who find Sr.'s position regarding the remains harsh, evidently haven't been through many deaths in the family.  Often there's dissention over the disposition of the most mundane of the deceased's physical possessions, even (and perhaps particularly) ones which have no intrinsic value apart from having been the deceased's.

That long speech by Sr.--some here have compared it to the commentary of the Greek chorus, and of course they are right--shows that Sr. knows who Ennis Del Mar is, and what he failed to do.

So, why would anyone be surprised, at the end of that speech, commenting on E's failure to "come up and build a log cabin",  Sr. concludes that since in this sense E rejected J in life, his offer about the ashes would be rejected in return?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on February 14, 2006, 06:49:18 AM
Oh, and as to why they may still have the ashes: the seasonal demands of  the ranch, as was made apparent several times in the book/film, take precedence over everything else--even the August 1983 rendezvous, for example.

Since the ground freezes early up there, there probably weren't a lot of opportunities to open a grave until the next spring, 1984.  Part III begins : "Ennis did not know about the accident for months..."  Since he already had set aside the time in November for the hunting trip, that's when, I noted earlier, he probably made the pilgrimage to Lightning Flat instead.  Probably too hard to open a grave by that time would be my guess.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: bluehorse on February 14, 2006, 09:48:16 AM
That long speech by Sr.--some here have compared it to the commentary of the Greek chorus, and of course they are right--shows that Sr. knows who Ennis Del Mar is, and what he failed to do.

So, why would anyone be surprised, at the end of that speech, commenting on E's failure to "come up and build a log cabin", Sr. concludes that since in this sense E rejected J in life, his offer about the ashes would be rejected in return?

Wow, this blows my mind, I missed those posts. I love the idea that John Twist's speech echoes a Greek chorus, revealing the bad choices/failings/hubris of the character as well as the irreversible, devastating consequences of those choices. . .
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Jeff2 on February 14, 2006, 02:14:49 PM
...
That long speech by Sr.--some here have compared it to the commentary of the Greek chorus, and of course they are right--shows that Sr. knows who Ennis Del Mar is, and what he failed to do.

So, why would anyone be surprised, at the end of that speech, commenting on E's failure to "come up and build a log cabin",  Sr. concludes that since in this sense E rejected J in life, his offer about the ashes would be rejected in return?
DaveL --  I don't think Sr.'s blaming Ennis for failures or things undone. He's blaming Jack. Jack, to Sr., is just a big story-teller. First he's coming up with Ennis. Didn't happen. Then he's going to divorce his wife and come up with another rancher/neighbor. Didn't happen. Hence, the line: "But like most a Jack's ideas it never came to pass." So Sr's speech is also not implying that Ennis rejected Jack in life.

In the movie (slightly different than the story), it looks to me that the structure of the narrative goes like this: Sr. is suggesting he suspects Jack's sexuality; Jack's going to settle down with one man then another. Sr also wants Ennis to believe that Jack's just a story-teller, that Ennis shouldn't believe that Jack ever really loved him. Mom, then, caught exactly what Sr was getting at, and jumps in to say: Oh, yes he did. Go upstairs and you'll find all the proof you need. 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Jaysmommy on February 14, 2006, 02:35:53 PM

i also wondered why ennis didn't take the little horse that he woodcarved for jack. i thought that would be one nice little thing that he could have and remember.
.....we never got to see the scene when he gave it go jack. ....... do we really need to? i dunno.

This is something I have wondered about.
Does the book tell that the horse in Jacks room WAS the horse we saw Ennis carving in the tent and he gave it to Jack?


Hi, just saw BBM for the 5th time last night and had already read these posts, so I was watching to compare the 2 carvings and IMHO the horse that Ennis is carving in the tent is not the same one as the horse and rider in Jack's room. Ennis' carving was much larger. I think the horse in Jack's room is there to  symbolize how meager were Jack's posessions growing up. The whole house is so stark, so empty, even his room is sterile. This little carving is one of the few things that Jack had and cared about. Also, if it had been a carving that Ennis had given him then there would have been more of a reaction on Ennis' part upon seeing it, and that would have diminshed the impact of finding the shirts.....no, the shirts were all that Ennis had left of his time with Jack.

My mom recently lamented that poor Ennis didn't even have a photograph of Jack to cherish to the end  of his days....all the memories of Jack are in his mind....how sad.....shit, I'm tearing up again...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: paulh on February 14, 2006, 04:26:51 PM
Ennis doesn't have a picture of Jack, but he has a shirt that used to touch Jack's skin. And, there are other people who also remember Jack, and might like to talk with someone who knew him. If Mr. Twist dies before Mrs. Twist does, Ennis can go up to Lightning Flats and help Mrs. Twist adjust to her loss, and maybe share memories of Jack with her. She did say "come and see us again" as Ennis was leaving, and she seemed to mean it. Ennis's daughters met Jack at least once, and they certainly must understand that Jack was a very dear friend. Lots of men, regardless of their sexual orientation, feel bereft when their oldest and dearest friends die. Ennis has no need to feel ashamed of having cared about Jack. His daughters would be sympathetic and would listen. Think about all the wonderful places Ennis and Jack went on their fishing trips. Maybe they had some great adventures.  :)

Remember that Lureen has lost a husband, and the little boy has lost a father. If Lureen sounded cold over the phone, think about how she must have felt when Jack kept explaining that Ennis didn't want to come down to Texas. Maybe Lureen would like to have met Ennis. Maybe there's still a chance to mend fences a little bit. She's probably lonely, too, just like Ennis and Mr. and Mrs. Twist.

As for the coyboy-on-a-horse toy: Jack was just a normal boy growing up in cowboy country. He probably wanted to be just like his daddy when he grew up, and would play with the toy pretending that he was a cowboy, too. His father never helped him or encouraged him at all. For Ennis, being in Jack's room was a chance to see a part of life that Jack had lived before the two men ever met.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on February 14, 2006, 05:16:37 PM
Jeff2, yes, that could fit, too.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: sskater on February 14, 2006, 05:28:39 PM
 :) well I hope all continue to go see it on the bigscreen. I've been 10 x now and will continue to absorb everything about this movie.

Jack's parents I believe are both beside themselves because of Jack's death. Its the the children shouldn't die before the parents thing. Jack's Mom's memorial to keep his room as it was when he was younger was a special memory for her, the good times 'fore Jack left home. She was hospitable to Ennis realizing this is the man that was Jack's lover, best friend. What a good person.
I also felt like Ennis did when he reached the bottom of the stairs with the shirts rolled up kinda like a football under the arm...saying this is mine and don't even think about asking for it back. Jack's Mom got it and immediately provided a bag, more protection/acknowlegement of Jack's Ennis relationship.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: bluehorse on February 15, 2006, 09:15:08 AM
Beautiful posts, Michelle, I love the bit about LIGHTENING Flat. . .
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: sparkle on February 15, 2006, 09:25:10 AM

Five things struck me about this scene, upon 5th viewing, yesterday. One was (yet again) the harsh brightness of the place, similar to that of the "tire-iron" flashback from when Ennis was 9 years old. I remembered what HL said about how he saw Ennis as someone who was overly sensitive to light, and here Ang's direction seems to support this, and to draw a strong parallel between the visual "scorching" Ennis got at the age of 9, and the one he gets here, in this traumatic pilgrimage to Jack's birthplace.
   The second was the name of the place itself: Lightning Flat, a real-life place in Wyoming, granted, but chosen by Proulx for a reason. This is where the thunderbolt strikes Ennis, the final revelation of Jack's love for him, through his discovery of the shirts in Jack's closet.
   Third was Jack's mother: she had an almost ethereal quality, as if she were not quite human, but a friendly spirit, there to protect Ennis from the Father, who had so harmed her own son Jack.
   Fourth is the eerie camera angle Ang uses to draw Ennis into the closet: we, the viewer, are inside the closet, as Ennis turns his head from the window and sees the opening, with an expression on his face as though he senses something. For a split second, it's almost as though we, the viewer, become the ghost of Jack, calling to him. Then the angle changes, and we enter the closet along with Ennis, and in a way, become Ennis as he discovers the gift that had been waiting for him for 20 years.
   Finally, we see the mother's anticipation as she hears Ennis come down the stairs, then the flash of recognition in her eyes when she sees the shirts Ennis is holding, the small nod she gives Ennis, the way she goes directly to get the paper bag to put them in and the way she seems to pause a moment to feel the folded shirts, just before stuffing them into bag, as if to verify that both of the shirts are there, one inside the other, just the way Jack left them. It's as if something she always knew has now been confirmed, and her gaze then embraces Ennis with all of the love she feels for Jack (in a sense, in that moment, she too becomes Jack, channeling his love onto Ennis, to comfort him on Jack's behalf), welcoming him as a son, in gratitude and recognition for the boy who was the love of Jack's life. It is a moment of forgiveness and redemption, I think, for Ennis, for in the following scene, when Alma Jr. visits, despite the depth and enduring nature of his grief, he seems at peace. Almost as if Jack's final gift of forgiveness and love, embodied through his mother, was the balm that healed him, just enough to finally start to give love back, starting with Alma Jr.
Thank you Michelle, for such a wonderful, comforting post.

Your soul-searching perspectives, especially about Lightning Flats, are incredible.  That name has been bugging me for a reason I couldn't fathom ... but now I know why.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: captaincroc on February 15, 2006, 09:37:33 AM
Yet minutes before the pivotal scene in the closet, he has heard from the spiteful father how Jack was allegedly planning to settle down with Randal. This comes as a shock to Ennis, and the father knows it.
The discovery of the shirts, then, is rightfully the first watershed. Ennis realises Jack did indeed love him, to the end.


Five things struck me about this scene, upon 5th viewing, yesterday. One was (yet again) the harsh brightness of the place, similar to that of the "tire-iron" flashback from when Ennis was 9 years old. I remembered what HL said about how he saw Ennis as someone who was overly sensitive to light, and here Ang's direction seems to support this, and to draw a strong parallel between the visual "scorching" Ennis got at the age of 9, and the one he gets here, in this traumatic pilgrimage to Jack's birthplace.
   The second was the name of the place itself: Lightning Flat, a real-life place in Wyoming, granted, but chosen by Proulx for a reason. This is where the thunderbolt strikes Ennis, the final revelation of Jack's love for him, through his discovery of the shirts in Jack's closet.
   Third was Jack's mother: she had an almost ethereal quality, as if she were not quite human, but a friendly spirit, there to protect Ennis from the Father, who had so harmed her own son Jack.
   Fourth is the eerie camera angle Ang uses to draw Ennis into the closet: we, the viewer, are inside the closet, as Ennis turns his head from the window and sees the opening, with an expression on his face as though he senses something. For a split second, it's almost as though we, the viewer, become the ghost of Jack, calling to him. Then the angle changes, and we enter the closet along with Ennis, and in a way, become Ennis as he discovers the gift that had been waiting for him for 20 years.
   Finally, we see the mother's anticipation as she hears Ennis come down the stairs, then the flash of recognition in her eyes when she sees the shirts Ennis is holding, the small nod she gives Ennis, the way she goes directly to get the paper bag to put them in and the way she seems to pause a moment to feel the folded shirts, just before stuffing them into bag, as if to verify that both of the shirts are there, one inside the other, just the way Jack left them. It's as if something she always knew has now been confirmed, and her gaze then embraces Ennis with all of the love she feels for Jack (in a sense, in that moment, she too becomes Jack, channeling his love onto Ennis, to comfort him on Jack's behalf), welcoming him as a son, in gratitude and recognition for the boy who was the love of Jack's life. It is a moment of forgiveness and redemption, I think, for Ennis, for in the following scene, when Alma Jr. visits, despite the depth and enduring nature of his grief, he seems at peace. Almost as if Jack's final gift of forgiveness and love, embodied through his mother, was the balm that healed him, just enough to finally start to give love back, starting with Alma Jr.


Fantastic post there michelle.  Agree with all of it, especially your take on the ending, that the shirts kinda help heal ennis, just to add to yuor post i do also believe (as previous posters have put) that Jacks spirit was in the room with him, directing him where to go.  Also Jacks spirit finally saw proof that Ennis did love him too (him travelling 14 hours ....etc)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on February 15, 2006, 10:28:42 AM
Yes, captaincroc, this last viewing was definitely influenced by what I've read here, about Jack's spirit being in the room and Ennis releasing him. It's what made me look closely at how Ang achieves this, subliminally and cumulatively, through lighting and camera angles, and of course the actors' stunning performances.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: cabin on February 15, 2006, 10:43:19 AM

Five things struck me about this scene, upon 5th viewing, yesterday. One was (yet again) the harsh brightness of the place, similar to that of the "tire-iron" flashback from when Ennis was 9 years old. I remembered what HL said about how he saw Ennis as someone who was overly sensitive to light, and here Ang's direction seems to support this, and to draw a strong parallel between the
snip

Almost as if Jack's final gift of forgiveness and love, embodied through his mother, was the balm that healed him, just enough to finally start to give love back, starting with Alma Jr.

Now you've done it.  Here at my work desk and can hardly keep the misty eyes from gushing over and at 49 yrs old.  Thank you for bringing the small bits from these scenes to a more recognizable form.  I remember most of them, but did not realize it was part of what makes the scene so incredible.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on February 15, 2006, 11:51:41 AM
Re-posting this from another thread, because I realize now it really belongs in this discussion (with apologies to anyone who has already read it in The "Last Scene" thread:

Five things struck me about this scene, upon 5th viewing, yesterday: One was (yet again) the harsh brightness of the place, similar to that of the "tire-iron" flashback from when Ennis was 9 years old. I remembered what HL said about how he saw Ennis as someone who was overly sensitive to light, and here Ang's direction seems to support this, and to draw a strong parallel between the visual "scorching" Ennis got at the age of 9, and the one he gets here, in this traumatic pilgrimage to Jack's birthplace.
   The second was the name of the place itself: Lightning Flat, a real-life place in Wyoming, granted, but chosen by Proulx for a reason. This is where the thunderbolt strikes Ennis, the final revelation of Jack's love for him, through his discovery of the shirts in Jack's closet.
   Third was Jack's mother: she had an almost ethereal quality, as if she were not quite human, but a friendly spirit, there to protect Ennis from the Father, who had so harmed her own son Jack.
   Fourth is the eerie camera angle Ang uses to draw Ennis into the closet: we, the viewer, are inside the closet, as Ennis turns his head from the window and sees the opening, with an expression on his face as though he senses something. For a split second, it's almost as though we, the viewer, become the ghost of Jack, calling to him. Then the angle changes, and we enter the closet along with Ennis, and in a way, become Ennis as he discovers the gift that had been waiting for him for 20 years.
   Finally, we see the mother's anticipation as she hears Ennis come down the stairs, then the flash of recognition in her eyes when she sees the shirts Ennis is holding, the small nod she gives Ennis, the way she goes directly to get the paper bag to put them in and the way she seems to pause a moment to feel the folded shirts, just before stuffing them into bag, as if to verify that both of the shirts are there, one inside the other, just the way Jack left them. It's as if something she always knew has now been confirmed, and her gaze then embraces Ennis with all of the love she feels for Jack (in a sense, in that moment, she too becomes Jack, channeling his love onto Ennis, to comfort him on Jack's behalf), welcoming him as a son, in gratitude and recognition for the boy who was the love of Jack's life. It is a moment of forgiveness and redemption, I think, for Ennis, for in the following scene, when Alma Jr. visits, despite the depth and enduring nature of his grief, he seems at peace. Almost as if Jack's final gift of forgiveness and love, embodied through his mother, was the balm that healed him, just enough to finally start to give love back, starting with Alma Jr.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: patroclus on February 15, 2006, 12:24:46 PM
Re-posting this from another thread, because I realize now it really belongs in this discussion (with apologies to anyone who has already read it in The "Last Scene" thread:


great post, Michelle. Very in tune with how I've experienced this scene, the pivotal scene in the whole film for me. Ennis receives total acceptance from another person for the first time (not Jack, that is). One bereft person is given the world by another destitute, bereaved person. It's a great sequence where almost all the action is done without any dialogue. I think it will be seen as a classic film sequence.

Thank you for setting this out so well
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: doggedstrength on February 15, 2006, 12:47:32 PM
I have to agree with all the above post that the mother absolutely knew.  The compassion and unconditional love she entends to Ennis completely caught him by surprised and contrast strongly with the harsh father.  In the movie portrayal at least, the father is ambigous.  We have Jack's complaining of never coming to see me ride and never showin me nothin but that Jack is given to compainting in the future.  We get the impression that Jack felt neglected by the father but given their abject proverty maybe he doesn't have time to go see his son playing at rodeo when there is real work to be done.  With that aside, I still think, his father comment about the other fella is aiming to hurt and did it ever.  I'm just not sure if he is an embitter old man who is doom to die as the range is falling into ruins all around him or the real SOB that some of post made him out to be.  Marvelously written and acted and left open to intrepretation. 

The acceptance by the mother completely floors me and is a testament to be best of human spirits.  If only Jack has drag Ennis on his sorry ass up her on some excuse or other, she may have been able to save them all.  As has been pointed, Jack's loving nature is no doubt a product of her hand and she can work the same magic with Ennis.  We see his transformation in the very circumspected and brief interaction between them.  Oh Ennis, I dearly hope you will visit again and regain the love of the mother that is lost so tragically early.  He needed to see that acceptance and love from someone else other than Jack to bring Brokeback out of the mountain.  Another opportunity missed...

The scene with the shirts is just brillant.  The inhalation.  How we wish there is smellivision.  Oh course, it is too late and there is only scent of a memory.

Last note and I think this haven't been mention before.  The paperbag.  The move starts with Ennis clutching a paperbag with his shirt and he leaves the parents place with the same 20yrs later.  Someone mention that truck arriving at the beginning and away from the parents place represents Ennis spiritual journey and while I missed that in the movie, the paperbag and its content jumps out at me as the same.  20yrs later, Ennis is still broke and as he said of himself, a man who ain't got much don't need much but what he has is Jack's love symbolized in that shirt.  Him recovering the shirt in the same paperbag i think symbolize his ability after oh so very long to accept that what Jack and he has belongs not just in idyll Brokeback but everyday life aided in no small part by the mother.  Everything came full circle and while it is too late for happiness with Jack, I think, I hope Ennis is the road to acceptance of himself and I cling to the believe that his acceptance to attend Alma Jr. wedding is a postive sign of that recovery.  Of course, this is temper with the fact that the shirts hangs in the closet and not openly displayed so there is still a ways to go but for a long time since their first reunion, I felt he has taken a step in the right direction.  My hope and wish for Ennis' salvation is the hope for the Ennis' in us all.   :-[

this is one of the most brilliant and insighful posts i've read on this site.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Jeff2 on February 15, 2006, 02:30:02 PM
...I also felt like Ennis did when he reached the bottom of the stairs with the shirts rolled up kinda like a football under the arm...saying this is mine and don't even think about asking for it back. Jack's Mom got it and immediately provided a bag, more protection/acknowlegement of Jack's Ennis relationship.
sskater -- I got the same thing seeing it yesterday! When he passes dad at the table, he tucks the shirts in more closely to his right side, as if defending against some possible grab from the old man.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Jaysmommy on February 15, 2006, 02:33:56 PM

Five things struck me about this scene, upon 5th viewing, yesterday. One was (yet again) the harsh brightness of the place, similar to that of the "tire-iron" flashback from when Ennis was 9 years old. I remembered what HL said about how he saw Ennis as someone who was overly sensitive to light, and here Ang's direction seems to support this, and to draw a strong parallel between the visual "scorching" Ennis got at the age of 9, and the one he gets here, in this traumatic pilgrimage to Jack's birthplace.
   The second was the name of the place itself: Lightning Flat, a real-life place in Wyoming, granted, but chosen by Proulx for a reason. This is where the thunderbolt strikes Ennis, the final revelation of Jack's love for him, through his discovery of the shirts in Jack's closet.
   Third was Jack's mother: she had an almost ethereal quality, as if she were not quite human, but a friendly spirit, there to protect Ennis from the Father, who had so harmed her own son Jack.
   Fourth is the eerie camera angle Ang uses to draw Ennis into the closet: we, the viewer, are inside the closet, as Ennis turns his head from the window and sees the opening, with an expression on his face as though he senses something. For a split second, it's almost as though we, the viewer, become the ghost of Jack, calling to him. Then the angle changes, and we enter the closet along with Ennis, and in a way, become Ennis as he discovers the gift that had been waiting for him for 20 years.
   Finally, we see the mother's anticipation as she hears Ennis come down the stairs, then the flash of recognition in her eyes when she sees the shirts Ennis is holding, the small nod she gives Ennis, the way she goes directly to get the paper bag to put them in and the way she seems to pause a moment to feel the folded shirts, just before stuffing them into bag, as if to verify that both of the shirts are there, one inside the other, just the way Jack left them. It's as if something she always knew has now been confirmed, and her gaze then embraces Ennis with all of the love she feels for Jack (in a sense, in that moment, she too becomes Jack, channeling his love onto Ennis, to comfort him on Jack's behalf), welcoming him as a son, in gratitude and recognition for the boy who was the love of Jack's life. It is a moment of forgiveness and redemption, I think, for Ennis, for in the following scene, when Alma Jr. visits, despite the depth and enduring nature of his grief, he seems at peace. Almost as if Jack's final gift of forgiveness and love, embodied through his mother, was the balm that healed him, just enough to finally start to give love back, starting with Alma Jr.
Thank you Michelle, for such a wonderful, comforting post.

Your soul-searching perspectives, especially about Lightning Flats, are incredible.  That name has been bugging me for a reason I couldn't fathom ... but now I know why.




Oh Michelle, that really got to me, once again my tears are flowing.....so beautifully written.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: trinket on February 15, 2006, 04:13:01 PM

Hi, just saw BBM for the 5th time last night and had already read these posts, so I was watching to compare the 2 carvings and IMHO the horse that Ennis is carving in the tent is not the same one as the horse and rider in Jack's room. Ennis' carving was much larger. I think the horse in Jack's room is there to  symbolize how meager were Jack's posessions growing up.

My mom recently lamented that poor Ennis didn't even have a photograph of Jack to cherish to the end  of his days....all the memories of Jack are in his mind....how sad.....shit, I'm tearing up again...

Thank you, I have been wondering about that since someone mentioned it several posts back. It makes sense to me now.  Though of course I MAY have to see it at least ONE more time just to be sure.  ;)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on February 15, 2006, 04:28:58 PM
Thanks, sparkle and Jaysmommy. It has been weeks now, and yet this movie continues to haunt me. It is so rich, so full iof nourishment for the heart and the soul. Patroclus said on another thread that the scene at Jack's parents would be studied for years to come, but I am beginning to think that nearly every scene in the entire movie deserves to be. Whatever the AMPAS decides, come next month, this masterpiece is now the new gold standard by which future movies dealing with matters of the human heart henceforth will be judged.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: andy/Claude on February 15, 2006, 04:39:58 PM
Thanks, sparkle and Jaysmommy. It has been weeks now, and yet this movie continues to haunt me. It is so rich, so full iof nourishment for the heart and the soul. Patroclus said on another thread that the scene at Jack's parents would be studied for years to come, but I am beginning to think that nearly every scene in the entire movie deserves to be. Whatever the AMPAS decides, come next month, this masterpiece is now the new gold standard by which future movies dealing with matters of the human heart henceforth will be judged.

Michelle, I must add my thanx to you for that post re the J's folks scene. Talk about hitting the nail on the head! How can the lives of these two actors ever be the same again? Sure they'll get all the stuff from the shallow Hals of this world including Hollywood but as far as those who have seen the depth of this amazing movie are concerned, they'll have a place in the hall of fame of profound performance for ever. Taking my hat off to them just isn't enough.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: sarah on February 15, 2006, 04:40:38 PM
As a sociology professor who teaches courses on Family and on Violence, (and as a Brokaholic planning my 6th viewing Friday) I've been planning to use BBM when it comes out on DVD for both classes.  For the Family course, I had thought of the obvious tie-in with how Jack and Ennis' marriages and children were impacted by their having to hide their love.  Now, after reading this thread and all your intriguing posts, I see another vantage point from which to illustrate family dynamics through this masterpiece:  the scene in which Jack's mother demonstrates her love and acceptance, and in which his father's scorn in palpable.  We can make such interesting deductions about how each force made Jack the magical figure he became.  And, of course, how the lack of parents made Ennis who he was.  If my students can have a tenth of the wonderful insights displayed here, I will have a satisfying semester indeed. ::)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: valkyrie911 on February 15, 2006, 07:39:58 PM
I have sort of a different idea of what Jack's father might have been saying when he started taking about the new rancher neighbor who was going to come by and run the farm with Jack. The problem is that I don't like the idea but I can't get it out of my head. I keep seeing that final goodbye between Jack and Ennis and Jack's idealized remeberance of how he would always remember Ennis leaving and attaching that to their confrontation-And maybe, just maybe, Jack somehow found the courage through seeing Ennis' pain and said to himself that it was a situation that had to end. Maybe he truly was making an attempt to part ways with Ennis and his stupid affair with the rancher just got sloppy. The timing all fits. The shirts were there and nothing could ever change that because in the end they were meant to be together and should have been from day one, but what if Jack had tried to somehow end Ennis' torment and let him be like he asked. Jack loved him enough that if he really believed that Ennis thought he could have found happiness without him he would have left him.

I don't think I can make what I feel make sense when I try to write it out, but it hurts to think about.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: wyomen on February 15, 2006, 08:04:49 PM
Something hit me at the theater about Jack's ashes. In his life his wife and his family kept him in two places, Wyoming and Texas. His last wishes were to be taken back to the only real place that he felt whole but his ashes were separated like his life had been. He never was able to return to Brokeback Mountain. Any thoughts?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DanMartin on February 15, 2006, 09:18:17 PM
Re-posting this from another thread, because I realize now it really belongs in this discussion (with apologies to anyone who has already read it in The "Last Scene" thread:

   Finally, we see the mother's anticipation as she hears Ennis come down the stairs, then the flash of recognition in her eyes when she sees the shirts Ennis is holding, the small nod she gives Ennis, the way she goes directly to get the paper bag to put them in and the way she seems to pause a moment to feel the folded shirts, just before stuffing them into bag, as if to verify that both of the shirts are there, one inside the other, just the way Jack left them. It's as if something she always knew has now been confirmed, and her gaze then embraces Ennis with all of the love she feels for Jack (in a sense, in that moment, she too becomes Jack, channeling his love onto Ennis, to comfort him on Jack's behalf), welcoming him as a son, in gratitude and recognition for the boy who was the love of Jack's life. It is a moment of forgiveness and redemption, I think, for Ennis, for in the following scene, when Alma Jr. visits, despite the depth and enduring nature of his grief, he seems at peace. Almost as if Jack's final gift of forgiveness and love, embodied through his mother, was the balm that healed him, just enough to finally start to give love back, starting with Alma Jr.
Michelle
So beautifully put. At last someone was able to put in words what was going on in my heart.
Thank you.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: romeshvr on February 15, 2006, 09:47:36 PM
Something hit me at the theater about Jack's ashes. In his life his wife and his family kept him in two places, Wyoming and Texas. His last wishes were to be taken back to the only real place that he felt whole but his ashes were separated like his life had been. He never was able to return to Brokeback Mountain. Any thoughts?
Your post reminded me of what Jack said in the last meeting.  This is not in the movie but I think crucial to Jack's characeter analysis... “But fuck-all has worked the way I wanted. Nothin never come to my hand the right way.”  I believe even after the end, nothing worked out for Jack the way he wanted.  Sad...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on February 15, 2006, 10:23:53 PM
Jeff2, I think we basically view the father's speech the same way.  The author's technique of extreme compression and obliqueness requires that we consider some other functions it serves, beyond the character sketch.  Some consider it functionally like the Greek chorus.  I can see it serving this function as well.  In this lilght, it is a condemnation of Ennis for not coming up and building that cabin--Ennis would have to be pretty thick not to get that part.  I've argued many pages ago on this or some other related thread, that, since "Randall" really doesn't exist in the book, Sr. sort of improvises that last part about the "ranch neighbor" to punish Ennis  further.  The "lies" that May that E and J told each other, I've contended, were about their heterosexual conquests, just a few words which the screen writers turned into "Cassie"and "Randall". 

 Since most seem to agree Ennis was faithful to Jack, I've often wondered why a number here can't entertain the same opinion about Jack.  The screenwriters suggest he was promiiscuous.  He may have been, between 1963 and the reunion, and the agreement they make in 1967.  But the mutual fiction they engage in, that they "ain't queer" and their's is a "one-shot thing" (that can be interpreted to mean they believe their relationship is "unique" and not replicable with others) also leads them to the lies about heterosexual conquests.  Was Ennis really putting the blocks to a bartender in Riverton, rather than a waitress? Or was he making it up altogether?  And, was Jack's lie about the gender of  the one with whom he was cheating on his wife, or was he lying about it happening at all?  In the book, I interpret the lies to be that those "affairs" happened at all--the protagoniists just engage in them to stoke their mutual fantasy that they can't be "queer", they just happen to have a one-shot thing between them uniquely.  How reassuring to each other that they "ain't queer" since they've taken up with a "woman in Riverton" and a "rancher's wife", right?  We can't be queer, we just have this strange "thing" for each other.  (I noted also, Ennis gets the ages of the daughters wrong in this conversation by the campfire, suggesting he's not the most attentive of fathers (contrary to how he's portrayed in the screenplay.)

Sr., I've further contended, sees through all this.  1983 was the height of the Reagan recession, and Ennis passes about a dozen failed ranching operations on the way to Sr.'s ranch.  Sr. would probably have accepted the log cabin scenario out of necessity.  And you're right that the speech is a recrimination of his own son. But I think he had connected all the dots about J and E, including the fact that when J told him the same story about the rancher's wife, Sr. saw through this as macho posturing.  In confronting Ennis in his "knowing, angry" address, the final twist of the knife is to substitute the "other one" in the log cabin pipe dream.  It works: Ennis "knew" it was the "tire Iron".  Sr. doesn't know Ennis will come to this particular conclusion; I think he makes that part up just to spite Ennis. The first part of the speech, "Ennis Del Mar, Jack usta say..." essentially "outs" Ennis, lets him know Sr. knows who he was to Jack.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 16, 2006, 03:58:54 AM
Sr., I've further contended, sees through all this.  1983 was the height of the Reagan recession, and Ennis passes about a dozen failed ranching operations on the way to Sr.'s ranch.  Sr. would probably have accepted the log cabin scenario out of necessity.  And you're right that the speech is a recrimination of his own son. But I think he had connected all the dots about J and E, including the fact that when J told him the same story about the rancher's wife, Sr. saw through this as macho posturing.  In confronting Ennis in his "knowing, angry" address, the final twist of the knife is to substitute the "other one" in the log cabin pipe dream.  It works: Ennis "knew" it was the "tire Iron".  Sr. doesn't know Ennis will come to this particular conclusion; I think he makes that part up just to spite Ennis. The first part of the speech, "Ennis Del Mar, Jack usta say..." essentially "outs" Ennis, lets him know Sr. knows who he was to Jack.

That's to me, so far, the most convincing analysis of John C. Twist's "monologue". Thanks.
Interestingly enough, in the short story the "outing monologue" is followed immediately about E.'s thoughts about Jack's "piss/uncut father's penis trauma" when he goes up the stairs (on his way to the shirts). So for me "it was the tire iron" stands for ALL sorts of homophobic humiliations throughout the story (bashing, Earl & Rich, accident, being looked at in a funny way, being pissed on etc.), not only for a confirmation about Jack's death.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: romeshvr on February 16, 2006, 04:22:24 AM
I agree with you INGMARNICEBBMT.

Mr. Twist Sr., does start off his speech with the following line, from the short-story and not in the movie:

"The old man spoke angrily. “I can’t get no help out here. Jack used a say, ‘Ennis del Mar,’ he used a say, ‘I’m goin a bring him up here one a these days and we’ll lick this....."

I thought something was not right with 'I can't get no help out here' line.  What I mean is, someone has come calling to pay respect to the family of the deceased, and all the old man thinking was the ranch and how he needs help???  Mind you Jack was hardly there to begin with anyways.  Still, doesn't seem to be lot of grieving going on in Mr. Twist Sr for Jack.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Elan on February 16, 2006, 05:39:27 AM
Woke up this morning with an overwhelming vision of Jack sitting in his sparse little bedroom in room in Lighting Flat, holding the shirts and crying after each visit with Ennis, trying to figure out how he was going to stand being so in love and so frustrated.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on February 16, 2006, 06:21:01 AM
Woke up this morning with an overwhelming vision of Jack sitting in his sparse little bedroom in room in Lighting Flat, holding the shirts and crying after each visit with Ennis, trying to figure out how he was going to stand being so in love and so frustrated.
And your post just conjured up Jack's flushed and angry face, neck veins bulging: "YOU HAVE NO IDEA... HOW BAD IT GETS!!!!!"... Brokeback got us good, all of us.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on February 16, 2006, 06:02:36 PM
you have no idea how bad it gets

indeed
 :(
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: romeshvr on February 16, 2006, 06:22:44 PM
you said it sister/brother...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Jeff2 on February 16, 2006, 10:05:26 PM
DaveL -- yes, on the same page. Just a difference in emphasis, maybe. I don't know how important it comes out to be. But it's fun to go through the scene, isn't it?

I'm taking it for granted that all Sr knows about Ennis is what Jack told him. And I can't imagine that Jack told him all about their struggles, lies, posturing, etc. (On that score, I think it's worth remembering that after fabricating the story about getting it on with the "rancher's wife," Jack edits his own speech: "Truth is," -- and then a VERY long pause, so long I was holding my breath to see what he was struggling to say -- "I miss you so much...".) So Sr doesn't know (I'm surmising) of a guilt Ennis might have had about not joining Jack at the ranch. And so, further, Sr's speech can't then be a broadside against Ennis's failure. It must, then, be a broadside against his son whom Sr suspects is gay and a useless, faithless dreamer.

Of course, in the process of trashing his son, he trashes Ennis, too. Not because Ennis didn't love Jack enough to come with him to the ranch, though. But just because he was in love with his son at all. He nails Ennis, then, on two counts: one, he's implicated in Jack's sexuality, and two, he's been stupid to think he might have been the only one for Jack. "Jack probably didn't tell you this, but he dropped you for another man." Spits into the cup.

Ennis is devastated. Outed (his worst nightmare) and trashed for loving a man who didn't, in the end, love him back. "Jack was a faithless dreamer, not worth your love, you stupid asshole."

Enter mom. "Ennis, go upstairs and you'll find the truth." (LOVE that woman. Don't even know her, but love her just the same.)

So a difference in emphasis, maybe. The broadside, I think, is against his son, implicating Ennis, rather than being against Ennis and implicating his son.

How's that sound?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: andy/Claude on February 17, 2006, 02:30:10 AM
Spot on, Jeff2!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: atomicscott on February 17, 2006, 02:42:17 AM
Anyone notice that when Ennis is at Jack's house, Jack's father has a black cup and the mother has a white cup? The evil and good imagery is used again.

Yep, BBM has got us all good. I agree.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: romeshvr on February 17, 2006, 03:41:56 AM
I agree with you Jeff. 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on February 17, 2006, 07:04:37 AM
Jeff2, now that we've got the Jack, Jack Jr. thing straightened out, we can start working on  Ennis and his father.  That'll be a challenge.

In the book, the invitation to go up to the room is conveyed before the speech we've been discussing, and Mrs. "ignores" the remark Sr. makes about J thinking himself "special".  So she is not as terrorized as some here seem to perceive her.

In the bok, the mechanics of  Ennis removing the shirts is left to the imagination.  On this one the adapatation seems very faithful to the book.  It is done in full view of Sr., who silently concurs in the removal of these tokens from his son's room.

I didn't pay too much attention to the black cup/white cup thing.  Consider that in a lot of rural household there was a "good" set of dishes, and an "everyday" set: Mother may have given Ennis a cup from the "good" dishes because he is a guest and object of hospitality, however humble and even though, in effect, this is a "wake" for Jack.  Recall they did not attend the funeral (in the book, but not included in Lureen's telephone call with E).
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Jeff2 on February 17, 2006, 09:42:36 AM
Jeff2, now that we've got the Jack, Jack Jr. thing straightened out, we can start working on  Ennis and his father.  That'll be a challenge.

In the book, the invitation to go up to the room is conveyed before the speech we've been discussing, and Mrs. "ignores" the remark Sr. makes about J thinking himself "special".  So she is not as terrorized as some here seem to perceive her.

In the bok, the mechanics of  Ennis removing the shirts is left to the imagination.  On this one the adapatation seems very faithful to the book.  It is done in full view of Sr., who silently concurs in the removal of these tokens from his son's room.
...
OMG, Ennis and his father. JeeeZUS, that'd be a knot to untie!

I assume the relationship between Jack's mom and dad was as complicated as everyone else's in this story! A delicate balancing act of power (who really has it) and knowledge (who really knows what's going on). In the movie, in the context of her reaching out to Ennis, mom reaches for her throat when Sr repeats his insistence that Jack's ashes go in the family plot. Maybe a nervous tic? Perhaps an instinctive response from feeling she's pushing past Sr's limits in speaking so kindly to Ennis? Perhaps a flinch remembering angry arguments about Jack they've had in the past? She may not be terrorized. But she certainly feels a threat hanging in the air.

Also, I don't get the feeling that Sr concurs in Ennis taking the shirts. My guess is Sr didn't even know they were up there, let alone what they meant. When Ennis comes down with them, he has them so tightly wrapped they could have been almost anything from Jack's room. Mom certainly knows what they are. Having "kept the room," she's seen them hanging there for 20 years. (She, in fact, may have been the one to hide them in that little space.) And what gets communicated between mom and Ennis after he comes back into the kitchen is so far under the table it's practically invisible, sent and received through glances and the subtlest of gestures. Certainly done in full view of Sr but, I'm thinking, invisible to his eye, beneath his radar.

Complicated relationship, a balancing act of power and knowledge.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Rob. on February 17, 2006, 11:04:39 AM

CAN MY HEART ACHE ANY MORE THAN IT DOES RIGHT NOW?

It is weird, but as I thought this thought and typed these words, I wasn't sad at all but peaceful...Ennis finds his peace, perhaps not on this side of this great journey of life, but on the other side. It flies in the face of my theological beliefs but I still think it is joyful to think that these two found each other and the Good Book says that God loves a Joyful Heart!

  And see...this actually made me cry  (I really hope you're happy now - making a middle aged male cry  ;) )But in all honesty - it doesn't take much to set me off.  I've always been one of those 'heart on my sleeve' type of guys!

  Rob
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on February 17, 2006, 03:38:43 PM
jeff2,  I'll have to watch more carefully.  Also, since it appears it will be pulled from theatres, have to get some big screen viewing time in soon.  My recollection was Sr. was in a position to observe and sat mute.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: andyincolorado on February 17, 2006, 08:36:09 PM
If you missed it in another topic here...Roberta talked about doing the last scene and talks about when it came time for certain reaction shots and closeups, she didn't expect Heath to be there. He was done shooting for the day and could have left the set. Usually they bring in stand-ins for shots like that. When they were ready for the reaction and closeups, in walks Heath , dressed as Ennis and takes his place in the scene. Roberta was stunned and thrilled to see him being so generous with his time, just so the actors could really play out their roles.  It meant a lot to her.   

Well dang, that just made me cry!  isn't that wonderful?
You should post this over on the Heath thread.
I'm glad you told about that again, I missed it the other time also!
I heard the interview w/Roberta Maxwell, too. It was on NPR (I think). Roberta said that after Heath did his scene upstairs in Jack's room (3 takes), he came back down and left the house. I think I heard that the reason Heath left was because he was emotionally drained (who wouldn't be) from the takes upstairs and needed to get out of the house. It was probably assumed by everyone that he wasn't coming back to finish the scene w/Roberta and Peter. That's why the stand-in was sent only to be replaced by Heath who was all set and ready to finish the scene after all, much to Roberta's surprise (and relief, I imagine).
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on February 17, 2006, 08:37:34 PM
If you missed it in another topic here...Roberta talked about doing the last scene and talks about when it came time for certain reaction shots and closeups, she didn't expect Heath to be there. He was done shooting for the day and could have left the set. Usually they bring in stand-ins for shots like that. When they were ready for the reaction and closeups, in walks Heath , dressed as Ennis and takes his place in the scene. Roberta was stunned and thrilled to see him being so generous with his time, just so the actors could really play out their roles.  It meant a lot to her.   

Well dang, that just made me cry!  isn't that wonderful?
You should post this over on the Heath thread.
I'm glad you told about that again, I missed it the other time also!
I heard the interview w/Roberta Maxwell, too. It was on NPR (I think). Roberta said that after Heath did his scene upstairs in Jack's room (3 takes), he came back down and left the house. I think I heard that the reason Heath left was because he was emotionally drained (who wouldn't be) from the takes upstairs and needed to get out of the house. It was probably assumed by everyone that he wasn't coming back to finish the scene w/Roberta and Peter. That's why the stand-in was sent only to be replaced by Heath who was all set and ready to finish the scene after all, much to Roberta's surprise (and relief, I imagine).



That is just so freaking cool !
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: patroclus on February 18, 2006, 03:33:03 AM
Jeff2, now that we've got the Jack, Jack Jr. thing straightened out, we can start working on  Ennis and his father.  That'll be a challenge.

In the book, the invitation to go up to the room is conveyed before the speech we've been discussing, and Mrs. "ignores" the remark Sr. makes about J thinking himself "special".  So she is not as terrorized as some here seem to perceive her.

In the bok, the mechanics of  Ennis removing the shirts is left to the imagination.  On this one the adapatation seems very faithful to the book.  It is done in full view of Sr., who silently concurs in the removal of these tokens from his son's room.
...

Also, I don't get the feeling that Sr concurs in Ennis taking the shirts. My guess is Sr didn't even know they were up there, let alone what they meant. When Ennis comes down with them, he has them so tightly wrapped they could have been almost anything from Jack's room. Mom certainly knows what they are. Having "kept the room," she's seen them hanging there for 20 years. (She, in fact, may have been the one to hide them in that little space.) And what gets communicated between mom and Ennis after he comes back into the kitchen is so far under the table it's practically invisible, sent and received through glances and the subtlest of gestures. Certainly done in full view of Sr but, I'm thinking, invisible to his eye, beneath his radar.

Complicated relationship, a balancing act of power and knowledge.

Jeff2 - really fine summing up of this complex little mini-drama! The differences between the story and the film are many and subtle. I think that's partly driven by the nature of a film - it has to be about dramatic interplay between the people on the screen, so the screenplay changes the order of the speeches around from the mum and the dad to create dramatic emotional tension between those two and also between Ennis and the father.

It becomes a triangle of victim (Ennis); persecutor (father) and rescuer (mother). Extrapolate that backwards and you have the acting out of the core situation in which Jack was raised, I'd say... This is so deft because thereby conveys the emotional information from the anecdote in the story about Jack's father abusing him in the wetting himself scene in a potently compressed few minutes of screen time using the materials in the story itself with immense efficiency and ingenuity... I only had this thought as a result of reading your post, Jeff2, so thank you doubly!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: paulh on February 18, 2006, 08:49:42 AM
The first time I saw the film, I got the strong impression that Jack's mother *expected* Ennis to come down with the shirts. Not only did she not second-guess Ennis's decision to take them, she went for the bag to put them in as if she did this sort of thing every day. She treated Ennis with the utmost respect at all times in that scene. Jack's father, by contrast, seemed to be shrinking away from Ennis as if Ennis was a skunk or a leper. Ennis can't have felt good to have to proceed with his mission in the face of such malevolence. Ennis wasn't much good with words anyway, but he carried on with dignity, for which I give him great credit. This is why I can't dislike Ennis as a character. When the chips were down, he found the courage to do what he had to do.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on February 18, 2006, 08:57:15 AM
Another thing ab out Ennis in that scene: the observation of the old-time courtesies, yes ma'am, no, sir,  etc.  It used to be called respect.

I'll have to re-read the story with this in mind.  At end, when author says  E was not the kind to "swear"--I don't recall much profanity coming out of E's mouth in the book.  Even in the film, there's not too much added.  This ties into point made way way back on this bd. that "I swear..." is an old time expression in those settler families who didn't use profanity and looked with disfavor on those who did.  Sometimes "I swear...." was the strongest thing they would say.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Rob. on February 18, 2006, 09:22:15 AM
The first time I saw the film, I got the strong impression that Jack's mother *expected* Ennis to come down with the shirts. Not only did she not second-guess Ennis's decision to take them, she went for the bag to put them in as if she did this sort of thing every day. She treated Ennis with the utmost respect at all times in that scene. Jack's father, by contrast, seemed to be shrinking away from Ennis as if Ennis was a skunk or a leper. Ennis can't have felt good to have to proceed with his mission in the face of such malevolence. Ennis wasn't much good with words anyway, but he carried on with dignity, for which I give him great credit. This is why I can't dislike Ennis as a character. When the chips were down, he found the courage to do what he had to do.

  I see her entire 'I kept his room....' speech as a setup to make SURE Ennis went up there and found the shirts.  Come on now - we all had mothers - and how many can honestly say they actually did manage to keep something secret in their rooms - especially when they/we/Jack didn't even live there anymore.

  No...she definitely knew - and accepted - and I like to think grieved as much for Ennis as she did for herself - knowing just how painful this (non) closure must be for him.  Every little nuance of the scene shows she knew - from the hand on the shoulder -to the very deliberate speech about his room - to the nod and slight smile as she saw the shirts and got the bag for Ennis Wordlessly - to the slight delay - almost as if she's checking the weight to make sure both shirts are there as she puts them in the bag.

  I think at this point - while Jack's father is giving his 'family plot' spiel - and Ennis is looking right at Jacks mother - that he maybe realizes that someone else knows - and the world isn't ending - she accepts - that she loved Jack - and knows he did too - she isn't casting him out, in fact, is inviting him to return.  A whole lot for someone like him to realize in a short while.

  You also know, he's never going to return - just from the whispered thank you to Jack's mother on the doorstep, and the way he pauses one moment after the door closes to breathe in the last of 'Jack' - looking over the area before heading home.

  This scene, more than any other in the movie, touches me.  I can watch it over and over - and still pick up little things I've not noticed previously.

  Rob

  PS - I'll tell you one thing - the day after those ashes went into the family plot - they'd have been on their way up Brokeback Mountain if I were Ennis.  With or without the old coots approval (And you know - I bet she would have approved - even went along :) )

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: andy/Claude on February 18, 2006, 09:26:27 AM
Oh you got it in one, RobL!!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveinPhilly on February 18, 2006, 09:38:52 AM
Yeah, let's git a posse together and head out to the Twist ranch and git them ashes up to Brokeback where they belong!

But I digress, I really wanted to say that I can't get the sound of Mr Twist's voice out of my head when he says with an almost mythic quality "Ennis del Mar". Gives me the f**kin' chills every time I think about it.

"Ennis del Mar he used to say..."
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 18, 2006, 10:46:10 AM
  You also know, he's never going to return - just from the whispered thank you to Jack's mother on the doorstep, and the way he pauses one moment after the door closes to breathe in the last of 'Jack' - looking over the area before heading home.

Strange enough, I sensed that too. That he will never come back to see them. He wouldn't be able to face that loneliness, that grief another time. Going up to the room yet another time. See Jacks's mother somewhere else, why not. But I doubt that they ever met up again. Sad as it is...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: angela_toronto on February 18, 2006, 10:55:55 AM
thank you to everyone for all these wonderful observations about this incredible scene.

i just wanted to add one small thing about the casting that adds to the magic; both jack and his father have incredible eye colour, both blue yet so different.

this further drew me into thinking about their relationship and the mysteries of inheritance.  sr's eye colour is a vivid but cold blue, truly a window into his evil soul.  for me, seeing sr's eye colour brought jack's memory into the scene and i think would have been a vivid reminder for ennis. 

actually, sr's eyes are the only thing of colour in that entire house; their malevolent glare lends harsh brightness to the scene.

jack's eye colour is equally vivid, but unlike his father's his eyes are so deep and warm and kind.

funnily enough, at 46 years old i have always had a strong preference for dark brown eyes...but this movie has me reconsidering.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on February 18, 2006, 12:49:51 PM
Yeah, let's git a posse together and head out to the Twist ranch and git them ashes up to Brokeback where they belong!

DaveL was correct a few days back, in pointing out that, often, several parties rightly claim some rights with regards to "mortal remains".  I have never been sure how whole-heartedly Mrs. Twist supports Jack's final wish.  Perhaps she, deep-down, would much rather he remained much closer to home;  many mothers would.  Maybe our posse ought a let Mrs. Twist keep half of the half she's got, so she can tend his grave and know that she wiil lie beside him one day.   She's earned it! 

Quote
But I digress, I really wanted to say that I can't get the sound of Mr Twist's voice out of my head when he says with an almost mythic quality "Ennis del Mar". Gives me the f**kin' chills every time I think about it.

"Ennis del Mar he used to say..."

Now Dave, sounds like the film is still haunting you.... and you swore off it, only a few days ago!  It's moved to the Ritz 5.... 12:55, 3:55, 7:00, and 10:00 -- not that I'm tempting you to break your vow or anything....  ;)

Dal
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveinPhilly on February 18, 2006, 01:45:15 PM
Haunting me? You bet!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Rob. on February 19, 2006, 05:05:44 AM
  One further thing I noticed while watching it last night - well two actually....

  Watching Ennis' face during the initial speech by Mr Twist - he is on the verge of tears (just after the quirky little smile)  the nostrils flare, lips quiver and eyes narrow before he looks down - the saving grave being Mrs' Twist's have on his shoulder - even then he looks so dejected.

  Then, my own little revelation (Don't ruin this fer me)  Ennis, in the closet (All right all ready my puns suck).  Sees the shirts - grabs them, caresses them and then embraces them - but this time it isn't from the back (first tent scene, dozy embrace) it's facing forward - his arm under one sleeve around the back (meaning Jack's arm would be around his on the outside - a position of slight submission) - perhaps finally letting go somewhat.

  Gods I love this scene!

  Rob
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: atomicscott on February 19, 2006, 08:14:10 AM
Rob, good observations!

When I saw the movie again last night, I noticed Jack's mother rubbing, almost choking, her neck in the scene after she had given Jack the paper bag and she tells him to "come back sometime" -- her husband is behind her. I got so many feelings from that gesture -- the caress of intimacy, the choke of pain and words and a feeling of being trapped, almost alone in the world without her son.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: AntonioBrazil on February 19, 2006, 08:41:43 AM
Reaper wrote: I've mentioned this elsewhere, but...

Somewhere (Yahoo, maybe) it was said that, after several emotional takes of the closet/shirt scene, Heath had to run outside the house to be alone for a time.

I can only marvel at what excellent actors reach down and give of themselves.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fantastic to read it! Heath is simply amazing!!!!!!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on February 19, 2006, 09:11:44 AM
Reaper wrote: I've mentioned this elsewhere, but...

Somewhere (Yahoo, maybe) it was said that, after several emotional takes of the closet/shirt scene, Heath had to run outside the house to be alone for a time.

I can only marvel at what excellent actors reach down and give of themselves.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fantastic to read it! Heath is simply amazing!!!!!!

Truly.  His mask of grief did not falter during take after take.  His eyes stayed wet, even though he was looking at crewmen and cameras.  Take after take.

Does anybody know anything about his training and technique?  Wonder if his teachers saw anything like this potential, when he was a sprout.  Guess Actors' Studio will try to get him on, but who knows if he'll go for it.   Wouldn't I love to see that show though!

Dal
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: andyincolorado on February 19, 2006, 10:12:02 AM
Reaper wrote: I've mentioned this elsewhere, but...

Somewhere (Yahoo, maybe) it was said that, after several emotional takes of the closet/shirt scene, Heath had to run outside the house to be alone for a time.

I can only marvel at what excellent actors reach down and give of themselves.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fantastic to read it! Heath is simply amazing!!!!!!

Truly.  His mask of grief did not falter during take after take.  His eyes stayed wet, even though he was looking at crewmen and cameras.  Take after take.

Does anybody know anything about his training and technique?  Wonder if his teachers saw anything like this potential, when he was a sprout.  Guess Actors' Studio will try to get him on, but who knows if he'll go for it.   Wouldn't I love to see that show though!

Dal

I believe that this was why Heath's stand-in was going to be used to finish the scene with Jack's parents after he came down the stairs from Jack's room. Roberta Maxwell was told that Heath would not be coming back and she would have to finish her dialogue with Heath's stand-in (not something she would naturally want or choose). She was amazed when Heath DID return in full "Ennis outfit" to finish his scene with her after all.....a true 'class act' in every sense of the word!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: In Tears on February 19, 2006, 11:29:44 AM
  One further thing I noticed while watching it last night - well two actually....

  ...  Then, my own little revelation (Don't ruin this fer me)  Ennis, in the closet (All right all ready my puns suck).  Sees the shirts - grabs them, caresses them and then embraces them - but this time it isn't from the back (first tent scene, dozy embrace) it's facing forward - his arm under one sleeve around the back (meaning Jack's arm would be around his on the outside - a position of slight submission) - perhaps finally letting go somewhat.

Thank you for this remarkable and moving insight!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: sskater on February 20, 2006, 06:54:25 AM
Things I noticed this time round about this part of the movie. I felt almost as if Jack's Mom was treating him like a son, as if she knew him. I also got the impression that Jack's Dad wanted him and Ennis to return to the farm to make a good go of it. This how families carry on generation to generation.
Jack's Mom invited Ennis to see Jack's room after Ennis told his parents that he would be happy to spread Jack's ashes on Brokeback Mountain. When she put her hand on his shoulder that really got to me. Reassuring him and almost pushing him to go upstairs. As if she was saying I understand your grief over the loss of Jack. Here's my hommage to my son and I want you to be a part of it.
Ennis opens the door, probably hoping Jack would be laying in his bed. He walks in picking up the cowboy/horse. Opens the window, and sits almost as if this is how he saw Jack in here. Well Jack was there in spirit no question about it. Ennis was literally shaking when he held the shirts.The emotional response to finding these shirts was overwhelming for Ennis.
When Jack's Mom says, "you come back and see us". i read alot into this because I felt she knew who Ennis was and where he came from, Ennis not having any parents. As if to say you have a home here anytime you want to come.
Probably all said before. A true story of love.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: AntonioBrazil on February 20, 2006, 07:32:11 AM
The Brazilian Official BBM Homepage shows some quotes (see the translation after Portuguese text):
-----
Jake Gyllenhaal: O modo como Ang descreveu Jack e a maneira como foi escrito demonstram que ele é mais aberto às próprias emoções, e a um relacionamento. Ennis é mais introvertido. Para mim, Jack tenta com muito afinco se apegar a única coisa que sabe que é verdadeira em sua vida: o amor por Ennis. Em alguma parte de si ele encontra coragem suficiente para dizer: “Vamos tentar. Vamos assumir esse risco, mas preciso de que você assuma comigo. Não posso fazer isso sozinho”. Chega uma hora, acho, em todos os relacionamentos, em que você precisa dizer: 'Você vai ou não fazer esse sacrifício? Porque se você não for, então vou procurar outra pessoa que talvez esteja mais disposta a fazê-lo”.

Jake Gyllenhaal: O que me deixa triste é que Ennis e Jack são duas pessoas que encontraram o amor. Se você tiver amor, deve se agarrar a ele.

Scott Ferguson (co-produtor): Alguns dos obstáculos à felicidade de Ennis e Jack eram reais na sociedade, e outros existiam dentro dos dois. Talvez as pessoas aprendam um pouco sobre como encontrar seu próprio caminho para aceitar a si mesmos, assumir o risco de ser quem são. Quando filmamos a última cena do filme, eu diria que três quartos da equipe estava às lágrimas. Ele teve um efeito poderoso sobre nós e espero que tenha também no público.
------
Jake Gyllenhaal: The way Ang Lee described Jack and the way it was written demonstrates that Jack is far wider open to his own emotions and also to a relationship. Ennis is so introspective. For me (Jake), Jack tries desperately to cling to the only thing that he knows is important in his life: the love he feels for Ennis. Somewhere on his own he finds courage to say: "Let's try, let's take the risk, but I need you to take this risk too, by my side. I cannot do it alone." Then I think, in all relationships, that you have to say: "Will you or will you not do this sacrifice? Because if you won't, I will try to find someone else who's more willing!"

Jake Gyllenhaal: what tears me apart is that Ennis and Jack are two people who found true love. If you find love, hold onto it!

Scott Fergusson (co-producer): Some of the obstacles to Ennis and Jack's happiness were real, for example the society, and other obstacles were inside them. Maybe people can learn how to find the way to accept themselves and take the risk to be who they are. While filming the last scene, I would say that 70% of the crew were crying. The film had a powerful effect on us.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: pjm on February 20, 2006, 12:12:28 PM
Hi there,

Sorry if I'm missing it in this thread, but does anyone know of where you can download a clip of the scene at Jack's parents' house?

Thanks!
P.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: valkyrie911 on February 20, 2006, 05:25:04 PM
I'm sure I missed it somewhere but does anyone know when the closet scene and the kitchen scene were filmed in the shooting timeline? I remember on Oprah the girls mentioning what scenes they shot first but I really can't imagine Heath having to do anything so emotional early on.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: valkyrie911 on February 20, 2006, 08:38:34 PM
I re-read the story thinking specifically about some comments from here and wanted to post some observations.  First, in the book Jack's mother ..."careful in her movements as though recovering from an operation". A lot of women who have suffered years of physical abuse are like that. Next, his mother tells him he can go up to Jack's room before the father mentions the rancher down in Texas.

So if you take that part, then go back to their last night together when Jack mentions the "rancher's wife", there is a line that follows -"Without getting up he threw deadwood on the fire, the sparks flying up with their truths and lies..". I think if you put that together with the fight scene Jack definetly was withdrawing from Ennis. Not because he didn't love him, but because their relationship was causing each other so much pain and suffering.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on February 20, 2006, 10:14:09 PM
I re-read the story thinking specifically about some comments from here and wanted to post some observations.  First, in the book Jack's mother ..."careful in her movements as though recovering from an operation". A lot of women who have suffered years of physical abuse are like that. Next, his mother tells him he can go up to Jack's room before the father mentions the rancher down in Texas.

Valkyrie - I turned the "operation" -> "abuse" implication over quite a bit too.  I am still not sure.  Mrs. Twist still has enough spunk left in her to "ignore" John C's initial angry outburst, essentially interrupting him to offer Ennis a self-guided tour upstairs.   That is an offer I found very surprising coming from a country wife to a stranger; and not a peep from John C, the man of the house.  So I guess Mrs. Twist still has a whole lot of say in what goes on in chez Twist.  Is she careful in her movements because her tummy is sore from crying?  Dunno, seems a stretch...

Quote
So if you take that part, then go back to their last night together when Jack mentions the "rancher's wife", there is a line that follows -"Without getting up he threw deadwood on the fire, the sparks flying up with their truths and lies.."

And some of the sparks came down again, to land of their faces and hands.  Musta stung.  "Deadwood".... I dunno.  Why not just "wood?"  "Deadwood," "without getting up."  Sounds like "over the phone."   But "one thing never changed," and they're at it again in about two seconds. 

Yeah, the story is more desperate than the flick to be sure.  IMO of course.

Quote
I think if you put that together with the fight scene Jack definetly was withdrawing from Ennis. Not because he didn't love him, but because their relationship was causing each other so much pain and suffering.

Say it ain't so *sigh*.  He was just tired out.  Yet he didn't know how to quit him, did he? 

I really hate this story. 

Dal

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: ToolPackinMama on February 20, 2006, 10:32:01 PM
Woke up this morning with an overwhelming vision of Jack sitting in his sparse little bedroom in room in Lighting Flat, holding the shirts and crying after each visit with Ennis, trying to figure out how he was going to stand being so in love and so frustrated.

Oh.  My. God.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: peteinportland on February 20, 2006, 10:38:15 PM
I'm sure I missed it somewhere but does anyone know when the closet scene and the kitchen scene were filmed in the shooting timeline? I remember on Oprah the girls mentioning what scenes they shot first but I really can't imagine Heath having to do anything so emotional early on.

Roberta Maxwell says these scenes were filmed toward the end of the movie (some people had already left the shoot). It is one of Heath's last scenes. I think Jake said the fight after Thanksgiving was Heath's very last scene to film.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on February 20, 2006, 10:46:45 PM
I think Jake said the fight after Thanksgiving was Heath's very last scene to film.

Yeah... That's why he could insist on his opponent's throwing him all over the street and beating him into a pulp like that... brrrrrr.

Dal
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: gblady on February 20, 2006, 10:54:20 PM
Do you think that it is a stunt person in the fight scene?   I think it may be, they never show his face, except at the end, and it's probably a lot of hopeful thinking on my part.   It is the only part I have to partially close my eyes, because it hurts so.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on February 21, 2006, 02:00:13 AM
gblady -

Based on what I've read, I believe the only stunt man in that scene was the guy in the truck.  Ledger told the (at first incredulous) man not to pull punches, and to really throw him around.  No shooting the next day or any other day, so no matter if he got black and blue.  I imagine he was a little stiff for a few days.

You're right -- watching that scene is downright painful.  A "short dirty fight" in the story, but a lot more power to it on screen.

Dal
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: AntonioBrazil on February 21, 2006, 06:51:10 AM
The shirts.
Somewhere in this forum I've read an interesting post about the shirts. It reads about Ennis's submission on putting Jack's denim coat sleeve over his arm or something like that. Could anyone tell me where it is written???
Thanks.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: happycamper on February 21, 2006, 08:57:50 AM
Jack's mother puts her hand on Ennis shoulder and invites him to visit Jack's room right after Jack's father has mentioned the other fella'. I think she knows what a blow this is to Ennis, and purposely sends him up there to find the shirts. She doesn't look surprised at all when he comes down with them, but nods her head understandingly.

I noticed that Jack has picked up an expression from his father. He says to Ennis when they are joking about fooling around with women "I tell you what, sometimes I miss you so bad I can hardly stand it."
Jack's father says "I tell you what, I know where Brokeback Mountain is" and then later in the scene "I tell you what, we got a family plot and he's going in it."
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Rob. on February 21, 2006, 04:28:07 PM
I actually brought this up in another thread - but I'm curious of people's opinions here....

  Mrs Twist is obviously very sympathetic to Ennis - yet in his initial meeting - he is relatively neutral - not really showing any emotion until Mr Twist's 'other man'.  It's fairly apparent (to me anyways) that she is quite aware of the significant relationship Jack and Ennis had - yet nothing in his tone or body language really gives away that relationship.

  If, as Mr Twist told Ennis - Jack had effectively moved on...why would she care about Ennis - Ennis really didn't say or do anything to elicit that sympathy.  Did Jack tell his mother more?  Or was she so in touch with her family that she instinctively knew that Ennis was it - perhaps just from 20 years of accumulated memories of Jack talking about Ennis.

  If Jack had really and truly ended the relationship - would the shirts have still been there (although this is debatable since she did keep his room as is)  Would she have sent Ennis upstairs to find them?  Would she have placed her hand on Ennis shoulder - almost in a gesture of comfort?  What reason would she have had to do this if it was over.  There really is none.  She knew the truth. 

  This, to me, is one of the most incredible scenes in the movie.  I can (and do) watch it endlessly!

  Your thoughts?
  Rob

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: phlmale on February 21, 2006, 05:05:13 PM
I think Jake said the fight after Thanksgiving was Heath's very last scene to film.

Yeah... That's why he could insist on his opponent's throwing him all over the street and beating him into a pulp like that... brrrrrr.

Dal
I heard the same thing..Jake said the most moving scene was of Ennis being beaten up by the trucker..and that was the last scene..I've read in several places that the Thanksgiving Jack Nasty scene was the first scene for Heath/Michelle..on Oprah they were talking about Alma realizing about Jack and Ennis..I think on the show this Thanksgiving scene got mixed up with the reunion kiss scene
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: gblady on February 21, 2006, 11:46:14 PM
dal, thanks for the reply....even tho it hurt to read it....I'll now probably cry in that scene along with a whole host of others when I go see it again tomorrow.   You mentioned that you read about it, where do you get the info about the behind the scenes stuff re: shooting the film.   I find that stuff fascinating.....is it something we all have access to?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: valkyrie911 on February 22, 2006, 09:43:14 AM
I actually brought this up in another thread - but I'm curious of people's opinions here....

  Mrs Twist is obviously very sympathetic to Ennis - yet in his initial meeting - he is relatively neutral - not really showing any emotion until Mr Twist's 'other man'.  It's fairly apparent (to me anyways) that she is quite aware of the significant relationship Jack and Ennis had - yet nothing in his tone or body language really gives away that relationship.

  If, as Mr Twist told Ennis - Jack had effectively moved on...why would she care about Ennis - Ennis really didn't say or do anything to elicit that sympathy.  Did Jack tell his mother more?  Or was she so in touch with her family that she instinctively knew that Ennis was it - perhaps just from 20 years of accumulated memories of Jack talking about Ennis.

  If Jack had really and truly ended the relationship - would the shirts have still been there (although this is debatable since she did keep his room as is)  Would she have sent Ennis upstairs to find them?  Would she have placed her hand on Ennis shoulder - almost in a gesture of comfort?  What reason would she have had to do this if it was over.  There really is none.  She knew the truth. 

  This, to me, is one of the most incredible scenes in the movie.  I can (and do) watch it endlessly!

  Your thoughts?
  Rob



Just one point might be that Ennis actually went there and said he would spread Jack's ashes on the mountain. That's not something a casual acquaintance is going to go out of their way to do.

I was wondering why the parents didn't go to the funeral, and I think his father was mad. I think his father believed that Jack got himself killed by being gay and was bitter over it. I don't know why else they wouldn't when Jack had made so many trips home to help on the ranch.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Marge_Innavera on February 22, 2006, 09:58:28 AM
Strange enough, I sensed that too. That he will never come back to see them. He wouldn't be able to face that loneliness, that grief another time. Going up to the room yet another time. See Jacks's mother somewhere else, why not. But I doubt that they ever met up again. Sad as it is...

He might not intend to. However, if in the future Jack's mother managed to contact him with 'Mr. Twist has passed on, do you still want to carry out Jack's wishes?' I can't imagine him just declining.

And after all, too, this is a man who isn't really that old, maybe with 40 more years ahead of him. There are so few people, two to be exact, who really know anything about him and accept him and that might outweigh other baggage at some point.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Marge_Innavera on February 22, 2006, 10:07:04 AM
Quote
Does anybody know anything about his training and technique?  Wonder if his teachers saw anything like this potential, when he was a sprout.

I admittedly don't know anything about either Heath or Jake; but from time to time, Heath's performance kept making me think, "oh, those Method actors!" Does anyone know if he has any background in that?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Marge_Innavera on February 22, 2006, 10:12:31 AM
Roberta Maxwell says these scenes were filmed toward the end of the movie (some people had already left the shoot). It is one of Heath's last scenes.

An extensive article about Ang Lee and the shoot that ran in the Kansas City Star in late December - don't remember if it originated there or not. They mentioned that the scene with Jack's parents was one of the last ones shot, and also that the house they used was an abandoned one.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: JackF******Twist on February 22, 2006, 10:18:34 AM
Quote
I was wondering why the parents didn't go to the funeral, and I think his father was mad. I think his father believed that Jack got himself killed by being gay and was bitter over it. I don't know why else they wouldn't when Jack had made so many trips home to help on the ranch.
Quote

I was wondering if Jack's parents were too poor to travel.  I say this because in the short-story there is a line ..."Jack’s home ranch, where his father and mother held on".  Held on to me sound like they weren't having a hard time.  I found it strange that Jack's parents never met Lureen, that means they never met his son either.  Looks like Jack kept his lives separate, i.e., his wife & son in Texas, Ennis is Riverton and his parents in Lightinin Flat.  I wonder if there is a reason behind it.  Even stranger though is the fact that Jack talked about Ennis to his parents and to Lureen.

Maybe someone can give me or us an insight into this..
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on February 22, 2006, 11:06:41 AM
IMO in the last 20 years, Jack's visits to Lightning Flat coincided with his "fishing trips" with Ennis, so every time he got htere, he must have been in withdrawl, and, true to his effusive nature, needing very badly to talk about it. Hence he must have mentioned Ennis many, many times, most often to his Mom, I'd imagine, so that over the years, she was let in to his precious secret, not because Jack ever made a confession about it, but because she could tell from the way he spoke of Ennis, just how obsessed he was with him. For that reason, I'm thinking that this last time, when he arrived at Lightning Flat, just after seeing Ennis, Jack must have been pretty badly torn up, despondent and discouraged. His Mom would have detected that, but to his father he would have put up a brave front, and some of his anger at Ennis would have leaked out, in claiming he would leave his wife and come up with another fella to the ranch (wishfully thinking he could actually quit Ennis). But Jack had only arrived at a crushing stalemate between what he had and what he had always wanted, so very badly. His mother must have seen through that, which explains why, as soon as the father makes his insinuation, she is right there, at Ennis' shoulder, a "ministering angel", steadying him with her friendly, comforting touch and looking him squarely, intently in the face, directing him upstairs, where lies salvation. There is no doubt in her unwavering gaze, and when Ennis reappears, clutching the folded, rolled-up shirts, she nods at him, her eyes smiling in tacit recognition, anointing him with her approval.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Jaysmommy on February 22, 2006, 11:19:57 AM
IMO in the last 20 years, Jack's visits to Lightning Flat coincided with his "fishing trips" with Ennis, so every time he got htere, he must have been in withdrawl, and, true to his effusive nature, needing very badly to talk about it. Hence he must have mentioned Ennis many, many times, most often to his Mom, I'd imagine, so that over the years, she was let in to his precious secret, not because Jack ever made a confession about it, but because she could tell from the way he spoke of Ennis, just how obsessed he was with him. For that reason, I'm thinking that this last time, when he arrived at Lightning Flat, just after seeing Ennis, Jack must have been pretty badly torn up, despondent and discouraged. His Mom would have detected that, but to his father he would have put up a brave front, and some of his anger at Ennis would have leaked out, in claiming he would leave his wife and come up with another fella to the ranch (wishfully thinking he could actually quit Ennis). But Jack had only arrived at a crushing stalemate between what he had and what he had always wanted, so very badly. His mother must have seen through that, which explains why, as soon as the father makes his insinuation, she is right there, at Ennis' shoulder, a "ministering angel", steadying him with her friendly, comforting touch and looking him squarely, intently in the face, directing him upstairs, where lies salvation. There is no doubt in her unwavering gaze, and when Ennis reappears, clutching the folded, rolled-up shirts, she nods at him, her eyes smiling in tacit recognition, anointing him with her approval.


You nailed it with this one, Michelle....as usual. Thanks....
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: paulh on February 22, 2006, 11:25:16 AM
That's a very nice analysis of how it must have gone for Jack at his last visit to his parents' ranch. :)

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Rob. on February 22, 2006, 11:25:24 AM
  That literally got me teary Michelle.  Well said, and I couldn't agree with you more (isn't that the dumbest of phrases?) - Well - agree anymore than I have over the last week anyways :)!

  Rob
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: doggedstrength on February 22, 2006, 12:52:27 PM
Quote
Does anybody know anything about his training and technique?  Wonder if his teachers saw anything like this potential, when he was a sprout.

I admittedly don't know anything about either Heath or Jake; but from time to time, Heath's performance kept making me think, "oh, those Method actors!" Does anyone know if he has any background in that?

somewhere (can't remember where) i read that heath said he's never had an acting lesson.  i don't know whether jake took acting lessons, but he's from a hollywood family and his parents know lots of people in that town, so i'd imagine that jake and his sister maggie grew up hearing acting talked about a lot.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on February 22, 2006, 01:24:09 PM
Jaysmommy, paulh, Rob, only trying to give back some of the help and insight that are constantly given me on this forum :)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: strazeme on February 22, 2006, 07:11:38 PM
The shirts, it's important to realize that Jack hung them in the closet 20 years ago.  When he took Ennis's shirt at the end of that summer, he thought it might be his last chance to save a remembrance of Ennis.  And it wasn't just E's shirt, he also saved his own ... from the same moment in time.  Over the years, he undoubedly had the opportunity to pick up other Ennis souveniers, but it was that first summer that was always the most important.  And for Jack, it also contained the essence of E's heart.  He must have left them in that slot of his closet right at the end of that first summer ... how long did it take for his Mother to find them ... how did she come to realize their meaning ... how did she know she was supposed to leave them unwashed??  Note that she seemed to have other clothing well cared for ... his jeans on hangers almost looked ironed.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: valkyrie911 on February 22, 2006, 07:19:01 PM
It says they were like that in the original story. He probably would have had some clothes left there from his visits.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: KittyHawk on February 22, 2006, 07:34:34 PM

This amazing analysis is exactly the sort of thing that impressed me enough to start a new thread.

Dave said several people have suggested to him that we use some of the riches on this forum to consider planning a book about Brokeback. He suggested that we start a new thread to collect ideas, opinions, tips, suggestions, talents, etc. Please post your thoughts at http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=1082.0.


Thanks a bunch,
KittyHawk
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: hybrid on February 22, 2006, 08:05:40 PM
Regarding Jack's parents and travel:

yes they were poor, but I grew up in rural California, and I have tell you that I have relatives who just don't and won't travel. One cousin won't even go into town to go out to dinner. It doesn't surprise me at all that they wouldn't go to Texas. Texas, to them, probably seemed as weird and remote as the moon.

years ago I was traveling across country and we stopped one evening at a bar in Billings Montana. I asked the guy where he was from, and he said "back east". I said, I'm going to the East, to Boston, what city are you from? He said "St. Paul".

it's all what you're used to I guess.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: andyincolorado on February 22, 2006, 08:15:08 PM

This amazing analysis is exactly the sort of thing that impressed me enough to start a new thread.

Dave said several people have suggested to him that we use some of the riches on this forum to consider planning a book about Brokeback. He suggested that we start a new thread to collect ideas, opinions, tips, suggestions, talents, etc. Please post your thoughts at http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=1082.0.


Thanks a bunch,
KittyHawk
I LOVE this idea for a book! Title it "Brokeback Mountain Explained - From Fans' Point of View" or something like that. Or even worse "Brokeback Moutain for Dummies"
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on February 22, 2006, 08:17:57 PM

This amazing analysis is exactly the sort of thing that impressed me enough to start a new thread.

Dave said several people have suggested to him that we use some of the riches on this forum to consider planning a book about Brokeback. He suggested that we start a new thread to collect ideas, opinions, tips, suggestions, talents, etc. Please post your thoughts at http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=1082.0.


Thanks a bunch,
KittyHawk
I LOVE this idea for a book! Title it "Brokeback Mountain Explained - From Fans' Point of View" or something like that. Or even worse "Brokeback Moutain for Dummies"

AND THE DUMMIES REFERENCE ALSO IS IN REGARDS TO CASSIE"S COMMENT TO ENNIS......."Trying To get a footrub, you dummy"

lol
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: valkyrie911 on February 22, 2006, 08:31:42 PM
What surprises me here is that noone ever mentions that even though Ennis holds it together when he is in the kitchen, you can see he has shed a single tear as he comes up the stairs. The one he had been holding back since John Twist mentioned the "rancher neighbor" and he lost it inside. We only see him cry twice in the whole movie, so that tear is significant.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on February 22, 2006, 08:40:40 PM
actually we see Ennis' tears four times, the first is when Ennis' eyes glisten during the divorce scene, the second is that single tear that flies off his face in his last scene with Jack, when he says "Then why don't you!", the third is the one whose trace we see as Ennis enters Jack's room, and the fourth when Ennis contemplates his shrine and says "Jack, I swear..."
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: helen_uk on February 22, 2006, 08:46:46 PM
actually we see Ennis' tears four times, the first is when Ennis' eyes glisten during the divorce scene, the second is that single tear that flies off his face in his last scene with Jack, when he says "Then why don't you!", the third is the one whose trace we see as Ennis enters Jack's room, and the fourth when Ennis contemplates his shrine and says "Jack, I swear..."

There are also tears when he is in the alley way dry-puking, there are tears during the motel scene when he says that he is stuck where he is, also just after that at the camp when he is saying that they can't be together, and finally in that same scene when he says there aren't no reins on their relationship and Jack strokes his face.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: valkyrie911 on February 22, 2006, 09:58:52 PM
actually we see Ennis' tears four times, the first is when Ennis' eyes glisten during the divorce scene, the second is that single tear that flies off his face in his last scene with Jack, when he says "Then why don't you!", the third is the one whose trace we see as Ennis enters Jack's room, and the fourth when Ennis contemplates his shrine and says "Jack, I swear..."

There are also tears when he is in the alley way dry-puking, there are tears during the motel scene when he says that he is stuck where he is, also just after that at the camp when he is saying that they can't be together, and finally in that same scene when he says there aren't no reins on their relationship and Jack strokes his face.

You're right he tears up a lot. More than Jack that's for sure! But he doesn't actually cry. He only really cries during that scene with Jack and that tear in the bedroom. 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: romeshvr on February 22, 2006, 10:08:00 PM
Actually, we see more tears coming off Ennis than Jack.  Mind you we do see Jack's eyes all red, but no actual tears.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on February 23, 2006, 12:14:48 AM
Quote
I was wondering why the parents didn't go to the funeral

I was wondering if Jack's parents were too poor to travel.  I say this because in the short-story there is a line ..."Jack’s home ranch, where his father and mother held on".  Held on to me sound like they weren't having a hard time.  I found it strange that Jack's parents never met Lureen, that means they never met his son either. 

Yeah... they were barely making it, and 2 round trips by plane would have set them back.  Doubt they would have let Lureen pay.  Bus fare would be a lot cheaper, but would have kept them away far longer.

Very important:   the ranch needed daily attention without fail -- hours of work.  Nobody to help out.  The place was gradually going to the dogs even so:  Annie Proulx gives shorthand for this when she says leafy spurge taking over -- an imported weed that ruins forage land for any livestock save goats.  John C was fighting a losing battle.  Not sure John C would have cared to grace his in-laws with a visit anyway.  Mrs. Twist probably would have liked to, but couldn't get away.

Poverty and the unremitting nature of ranch work are often reasons people don't do things in this story. 

Now, why didn't Jack take Bobby to meet his grandmother?

Dal

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: hybrid on February 23, 2006, 01:08:30 AM
Two round trip plane tickets in the late 70's or early 80's? My parents, both rural people got on a plane once in their lifetimes, and could never be persuaded to do that again. It is a mistake to judge Jack's parents by current standards of mobility. It helps to read Brokeback Mountain as the last, most contemporary story in Close Range, it gives these people some context. All the stories are about hard, bitter lives involved with the land and ranching. These kinds of people don't travel for fun, and don't travel at all if they don't have to. You know, they're not really "poor", they just don't have much, but in their social context they're pretty average. They're products of the Depression, you don't spend money when you don't have to spend it. One of the great things about the film is that it is an unusually honest portrait of how most rural people live. We're so used to seeing only fabulously wealthy people on television and in the movies that average people look "poor" to us.

The whole last scene looked pretty realistic to me. There were a few houses in the valley i grew up in back in the 60's which looked pretty much like the Twist house, inside and out.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on February 23, 2006, 05:28:59 AM
Thanks to a large high-res. still someone posted, I just noticed that in the dozy embrace, both Jack and Ennis are wearing the shirts... (sigh)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on February 23, 2006, 05:53:31 AM
Regarding Jack's parents and travel:
Yes they were poor. It doesn't surprise me at all that they wouldn't go to Texas. Texas, to them, probably seemed as weird and remote as the moon.

In fact - same for Ennis himself! Has he ever travelled anywhere, has he ever left Wyoming actually (other than crossing the Utah or Montana border for a day, I mean)? One of those fishing trips with Jack could have taken place somewhere in between Wyoming and Texas, only for a change - even if his car was not the best. But no: Coffepot-and-handle, as he described himself.
There are many people in rural areas, also here in Europe where I live, who simply do never travel. They don't want to and they won't do it.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: All4one on February 23, 2006, 07:20:38 AM
I also thought, as Dal expressed, that Jack could have taken his son to meet his grandmother. It would have been a pleasure for her. Perhaps he wanted to protect his son from the moods and the mouth of her husband though.
I saw the movie with a woman who grew up on a small Texas ranch in that era. She didn't find either the home or the fact that the twists hadn't travelled to Texas to be unusual.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: AntonioBrazil on February 23, 2006, 07:24:46 AM
Please read this:

1)Jack I swear: to try to take your ashes to Brokeback as you wished so deeply!

2)Jack I swear: to be more available to the ones who love me!!!!!

3)Jack's parents house stood dirty and poor. Jack was a rich man, he could have done so much to the house of his childhood. BUT, after all that time, he was still waiting for the only one who had the permission to put the hands in that place, which was Ennis, no one else!

4)The spanking scene was truly real, the very cause of Jack's death.

5)The small wooden horse/cowboy sculpture Ennis found in Jack's room was the same Ennis was working at in the beggining of the film.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on February 23, 2006, 08:03:49 AM
I also thought, as Dal expressed, that Jack could have taken his son to meet his grandmother. It would have been a pleasure for her. Perhaps he wanted to protect his son from the moods and the mouth of her husband though.

I've always assumed that Jack only went up to Lightning Flat when he came to Wyoming to see Ennis. This made a wonderful excuse to tell Lureen, as well. He couldn't have taken Bobby, because no way would Jack go to Wyoming and not see Ennis.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: andy/Claude on February 23, 2006, 10:30:02 AM
After reading in the book;  Jack's mother ignored this, said '' he used to come home every year, even after he was married and down in texas''..... It was noticed by an earlier reader that any trip Jack made to his folks would probably have coincided with one with Ennis. As to working out which prompted the other is a bit like the chicken 'n egg theory. Remember that Jack went straight to his folk's place after their first summer and it seems reasonable to assume it was something he did or would have done in spite of Ennis. 'Though J's relationship with his father doesn't seem to be very close, he nonetheless made visits back in order to ease the hardships that were a way of life for his family. And I suspect J's relationship with his mother would have been a motivation.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: All4one on February 23, 2006, 10:38:08 AM
Oh, I do agree. Jack couldn't come to Wyoming without seeing Ennis.
That's why I feel he couldn't bring Bobby. He would have had to leave him with the grandparents while they took advantage of whatever time Ennis could take off.
.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: PALeben on February 23, 2006, 02:50:21 PM
If we are noting the times that Ennis tears up or cries you should also include when he sees the sheep killed by the coyote. I didn't notice it the first two times I saw the film, but noted it in subsequent viewings. He is an emotional man, but he can't let those emotions show openly too much, whether happy or sad, except when he is with Jack and feels completely at ease.  He can tear up, but he does his best not to let it out, even if he doesn't do it consciously. In some way I know, because I am a lot like him.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on February 23, 2006, 04:00:40 PM
Oh, I do agree. Jack couldn't come to Wyoming without seeing Ennis.
That's why I feel he couldn't bring Bobby. He would have had to leave him with the grandparents while they took advantage of whatever time Ennis could take off.
.... and the fishing trips were short and far between;  Jack wanted the drive back all by himself.     

All4one, that's what I think too.  So:  we knew that Jack's "preoccupation" helped turn Lureen into a hardened woman with big hair.

It also kept two people Jack loved, from ever laying eyes on each other.  Don't know how much Bobby could have benefited from knowing Mrs. Twist; maybe a lot.  I know for sure that Mrs. Twist would have been thrilled to see Bobby every year or so, growing up.  A pity.  Just more collateral damage I guess.

Dal 

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on February 23, 2006, 04:39:46 PM
The house is very consistent with the frugality and other values of the original settlers of the northern states, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, thence further west.  Don't confuse simplicity, austerity, frugality, etc., with poverty, either material or spiritual.  In the time period depicted, I knew people who lived similarlyl in rural Illinois--you wouldn't necessarily know they were the largest landowners in the county.

Well, perhaps so.  The ranch was a meagre little place, leafy spurge taking over. Leafy spurge is kinda like kudzu (speaking of the South):  wrecks productivity, and takes a lot of time and money to control.  Makes the livestock sick, decreases property value and hence ability to borrow $$, etc etc etc.  Why would a rancher not do something about it, if he had the means?

Quote
For cinematography, the house has to have that erie luminescence.   The house is actually a halfway house between living and dead.

Very true... you know, it just occurred to me on reading the above.... Maybe the Twists ae not poor at all.  Maybe they don't care about leafy spurge ruining the forage, because they are sitting on a hundred million dollars in yellowcake uranium ore!  j/k 

Dal
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on February 23, 2006, 05:05:47 PM
Dal, I deleted that post because of an interruption.

I was trying to get to something a little more abstract.  The cinematography--I've seen rooms like that in the northern plains back  30 years ago, with that whitewash luminosity.  But here I take it it is intended to convey the other worldly, with the luminosity, the character of the paint, austerity of the rooms.

Contrast this with the telephone scene immediately preceding which could hardly be more personal, the extreme closeups that show Lureen's deteriorated makeup and Ennis' keratoses, with the (now antique) telephones.

There was a similar up close scene just before, with the waitress.  These are buffers between the last scene together, where Jack is framed by the mountains and lake (I said this seemed the visual embodiment to Goethe's "The Eternal Feminine/ Leads us on high." )

The whole wake scene is an example of Anagnorisis--Aristotle, Poetics, the "moment of recognition" or self-realization and turning.  In this story it is quite painful.
The characters also are seen in greater abstraction.  Compared to the preceding two scenes. Others have noted the speech of JCTwist Sr. can function as the Greek chorus.

He essentially (a) outs Ennis with the reference to their building a log cabin together, (b) mocks him (and Jack as well) for not being man enough carry out J's plan, and (c) with the reference to "another one" coming up, suggests J intended to "quit" him.  I've argued before that J probably told dad the same "lie" about carrying on with the rancher's wife he had told E a few days before, on the May 1983 trip (why would he alter it?).  This is just macho posturing, and JCT Sr has to see through it.  I think both he and mom connected all the dots about E and J long ago (though they may not have discussed it between themselves).  Taking that story and modifying it in to the claim that J  talked about bringing someone else up is just a final thrust of the knife, in father's recrimination of Ennis.  (It is another example of characters making provocative statements they know to be false, like Alma telling Ennis she thinks he should get married again.)

But the first two things he says are true: J wanted him to move up there, and he because of  his tragic if not fatal (we're left in the book to speculate whether or not he's really going to make it in the italicized paragraphs) flaw, can't accept Jack's  offer.

These items have been discussed before in various forms.  The point I failed to make before, about this scene, is that, from the point of view of the "moment of recognition"  the parents actually stand in for Jack and Ennis.  They again replicate the dichotomy of yin/yang,  protector/nurturer, masculine/feminine, Ennis/Jack.

Father asserts dominion over Jack's mortal remains, just as Ennis asserted control (the famous short leash) over Jack in life.  Ennis (sorry, there I go  again, criticising Ennis) was rejecting an d abusive toward Jack (also toward Alma), just as JCT Sr. was rejecting and abusive toward Jack. Part of Ennis' bitter lesson in this scene is that he should--he must--recognize behavior in the father toward Jack (particularly in the flashback omitted from the film) that he himself in some degree had also been guilty of.

Mother is the other side of the yin/yang. She is an embodiment of Jack's qualities.  She is his surrogate in death, guiding, inviting, almost requesting his entry to that room. She is nurturer and comforter.  (There I go again, building Jack up.  sorry.)

The fact that the parents mirror the characteristics of J and E, and  act out part of the lesson the Gods have decided to teach him (to borrow the analogy to Greek tragedy), was the main point I wanted to make in the deleted post, which I don't think was discussed here before.

They are part of/catalyst for Ennis' moment of recognition.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Rob. on February 23, 2006, 05:14:37 PM
  Jeesus Dave.....not going to repost - but that's deep!

  Or, as Jack would say...

  "Sheeit!

  Rob
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on February 23, 2006, 05:44:02 PM
DaveL, while I can't share your view of Ennis as an abusive lover, I love your interpretation of Ennis' moment of anagnorisis, and I am intrigued by your speculation that, by simultaneoulsy subjecting Ennis to John Twist's ire and granting him the sucour of Jack's mother (who embodies Jack's spirit and becomes the "ministering angel" mentioned by Proulx), the Gods were trying to teach Ennis something about himself and Jack.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: hybrid on February 23, 2006, 06:04:53 PM
There is some value in comparing Brokeback Mtn. to the Oedipus trilogy.  Jack and Ennis? first missteps were taken for very similar reasons to Oedipus?:  they were all young and ignorant, they were callow, they thought that they were stronger than nature, the Gods, Fate. Ennis thought he could control his reaction to Jack. This was a misstep, but not a fatal one. What destroyed Oedipus was not that he rashly killed a stranger that turned out the be his father, what destroyed him was his brutal condemnation of the killer without seeking to understand the nature of the crime. Oedipus fatal flaw was his lack of compassion. He destroys himself through a lack of compassion for the criminal and then for himself when he discovers that he, in fact, is the criminal. Ennis deceives himself and tries to force himself to not love Jack, not to be queer. But nature is stronger than he is. Ennis' real failure or flaw is that he won't seriously "try on" Jack's point of view about their situation. He won't get out of his point of view - like Oedipus, he doesn't seem capable of putting himself in the other's place.  This lack of empathy is what traps him in the small world he thinks he knows, but which he alone is ultimately responsible for keeping in place.
 
There is a really excellent discussion of what the Greeks possibly meant by ?catharsis? in Richard Kuhns? book ?The House, The City and the Judge? (about the Oresteia). He has examined the original source materials and the commentaries since the Renaissance and has come up with these four basic (and diverse) meanings for "catharsis":

?The first considers catharsis to refer to a therapeutic process in which excessive and harmful emotions are eliminated in order that the soul can resume its proper balance.?. . .

The second interpretation is that: ?Catharsis refers to the separating out of the bad elements in emotional states from the better ones, the latter then rendered measured and harmonious, thus assisting the beholder to deeper religious and moral insight. When this occurs the emotions, once painful and frightening, are themselves aesthetically satisfying.?

For the third interpretation Kuhn quotes G. F. Else in his book Aristotle?s Poetics: ? The crux of the matter is that the poetic catharsis is primarily an artistic rather than a psychological process. It takes place essentially in the tragedy when it is composed, not in the soul of the spectator when he sees it performed. This does not mean that it has nothing to do with the spectator; but it does mean that it has nothing to do with a cure or treatment of him. . . . . Pity and fear are not first set loose in all their painful reality, to prey on the spectator?s soul, and then somehow exorcised; they are purified in the same moment that they are aroused, by their incorporation into the beauty and measure of the perfect whole. In this purified state they are the basis-the indispensable basis-of the pure pleasure which a great tragedy calls forth in the soul.?

The final, fourth, interpretation of catharsis is as religious redemption: ?Usually the position is presented in terms of the purification of the hero, through his suffering and increased understanding. . . . .the hero falls to be redeemed; and the spectator feels himself ?purged?, i.e. redeemed or saved because he participates in the action of the hero or god. Thus the consequence or catharsis in this sense is the restoration of the positive relationship between the individual and the supernatural.?

Much food for thought here, about how one experiences a movie. I note, that none of these four notions of the purpose of tragedy includes a notion of tragedy as a kind of presentation of exemplary moral behavior. I also think it is interesting that only the first two definitions are psychological, but the word "catharsis", as it is commonly bandied about today is almost exclusively used in a psychological sense, which is really too bad. Much of Greek tragedy is about the relationship of the individual to society and nature, not about interior states or moods. It's too bad we are so generally desirous of art that makes us feel some strong emotion, rather than art that makes us see relationships that we hadn't seen before, or force us to take on points of view we wouldn't normally consider.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on February 23, 2006, 06:18:25 PM
The crux of the matter is that the poetic catharsis is primarily an artistic rather than a psychological process . . . . Pity and fear are not first set loose in all their painful reality, to prey on the spectator?s soul, and then somehow exorcised; they are purified in the same moment that they are aroused, by their incorporation into the beauty and measure of the perfect whole. In this purified state they are the basis-the indispensable basis-of the pure pleasure which a great tragedy calls forth in the soul.?

I can't think of a better expression of my own experience of this film.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: doggedstrength on February 24, 2006, 02:34:27 AM
These items have been discussed before in various forms.  The point I failed to make before, about this scene, is that, from the point of view of the "moment of recognition"  the parents actually stand in for Jack and Ennis.  They again replicate the dichotomy of yin/yang,  protector/nurturer, masculine/feminine, Ennis/Jack.

Father asserts dominion over Jack's mortal remains, just as Ennis asserted control (the famous short leash) over Jack in life.  Ennis (sorry, there I go  again, criticising Ennis) was rejecting an d abusive toward Jack (also toward Alma), just as JCT Sr. was rejecting and abusive toward Jack. 

The fact that the parents mirror the characteristics of J and E, and  act out part of the lesson the Gods have decided to teach him (to borrow the analogy to Greek tragedy), was the main point I wanted to make in the deleted post, which I don't think was discussed here before.


You know Dave, I like your version of the film less and less (but I'm glad it works for you as it is nice having you here).

Now, Ennis is like Jack's father in his abuse and rejection of Jack?

And he needs to be punished by the gods because he is so bad and flawed?

That is about the meanest reading I have yet to see of Ennis. Poor fella.

i agree with you completely peteinportland.  in trying to "elevate" proulx's story we run the risk of overinflating it.  oedipus?  lear?  both those men are kings, responsible for the condition of their societies, which is why their fall is so mighty.  ennis and jack are closer to willie loman, an ordinary man.  and even at that, willie dies, ennis lives.  proulx's achievement is that she moves us with the story of two quite ordinary men whose hidden love for each other is deep but whose lives, otherwise, take a not unexpected course (marriage, children), like a lot of people's -- except for the depth of that love.  their love changes them, but not the world around them.  that's proulx's point.  they suffer at the hands of a homophobic society.  that's not a "tragedy" in the classic sense.  why would we want to blame them for what society won't allow them to do?  their situation is unutterably sad, but it's not "tragic" in the classic sense.  they don't bring the outcome down on their own heads.  jack is murdered for who he is; he didn't bring it down on himself.  the gods aren't punishing him.  other men are.   ennis internalizes society's homophobia and thus loses jack.  that's a great loss, but how much do we want to blame him for it?  that's a social question, social drama, not greek or shakespearean tragedy.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: peteinportland on February 24, 2006, 03:23:41 AM

i agree with you completely peteinportland.  in trying to "elevate" proulx's story we run the risk of overinflating it.  oedipus?  lear?  both those men are kings, responsible for the condition of their societies, which is why their fall is so mighty.  ennis and jack are closer to willie loman, an ordinary man.  and even at that, willie dies, ennis lives.  proulx's achievement is that she moves us with the story of two quite ordinary men whose hidden love for each other is deep but whose lives, otherwise, take a not unexpected course (marriage, children), like a lot of people's -- except for the depth of that love.  their love changes them, but not the world around them.  that's proulx's point.  they suffer at the hands of a homophobic society.  that's not a "tragedy" in the classic sense.  why would we want to blame them for what society won't allow them to do?  their situation is unutterably sad, but it's not "tragic" in the classic sense.  they don't bring the outcome down on their own heads.  jack is murdered for who he is; he didn't bring it down on himself.  the gods aren't punishing him.  other men are.   ennis internalizes society's homophobia and thus loses jack.  that's a great loss, but how much do we want to blame him for it?  that's a social question, social drama, not greek or shakespearean tragedy.

That is very well said. I especially love the part I bolded above. I so agree with this.

The only quibble I have is that we might find find just a tad of an homage to the Greeks in BBM.  :D

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: AntonioBrazil on February 24, 2006, 07:54:16 AM
A MOVIE
THAT
MADE ME
LOVE
AMERICA !!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: blubird on February 24, 2006, 11:50:00 AM
Ennis is in the base camp tent, and it is raining, and he is carving a little wooden horse.  If I recall correctly, it was just a horse, with no rider yet.   Could this be the same figure that Ennis working on that summer that he may have give Jack at some point in time that first summer....and it made it back to Lightning Flat along with the shirts?  Just a thought.
                    I saw and recalled the wooden horse carving the 3rd time I saw it....you can see the way Ennis' face frowns sentimentally when he picks it up.......in a room with so little....the value of this ( possible ) gift from Ennis' to Jack would have great value. Of course, it could just be a boys toy having nothing to do with Ennis...But, it certainly had me thinking what you were thinking Charlieh.
HELLO, blubird here and this detail even after 7 viewings escaped me until it was pointed out here. This little wooden horse and rodeo rider atop it must have been a little gift from Ennis to Jack. Remember, the little man on the horse is thin and has the long-nose profile that Jack possess. And it is displayed prominently on the desk in full view. The little toy can only be a representation of Jack. I believer Ennis started the toy before the tent scene, so it began as just a thing to pass the boredom away and later he added the man - Jack. Perhaps there is another symbolism here as well. And I also believe that Ennis forgot about it over the years, and that is why he ispected it like he did. Ennis and Jack I don't believe had photographs of each other, so this little keepsake would have to do. Remember, that he can pick up this little figure and touch it, something you can't do to a photograph.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: patroclus on February 24, 2006, 12:55:11 PM
The cinematography--I've seen rooms like that in the northern plains back  30 years ago, with that whitewash luminosity.  But here I take it it is intended to convey the other worldly, with the luminosity, the character of the paint, austerity of the rooms.


The whole wake scene is an example of Anagnorisis--Aristotle, Poetics, the "moment of recognition" or self-realization and turning.  In this story it is quite painful.
The characters also are seen in greater abstraction.  Compared to the preceding two scenes. Others have noted the speech of JCTwist Sr. can function as the Greek chorus.


hello, DaveL. It's great to be able to respond to your post in agreement, unlike our disagreement about Jack. I loved reading this because I always respond to the Jack's parents scene as almost hallucinatory. And I think the whole film turns on this scene, too, and this is where the film earns the more ambiguously, tentatively hopeful ending over the story. Because there is a revelation both about the depth of Jack's love and the 'benediction' from Jack's mother.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Charlie on February 24, 2006, 01:31:02 PM
Early in the movie, Jack asked Ennis "did your folks run you off?".   Did anyone else hear an unspoken "too", meaning the Jack had been forced out by friction with his father, perhaps for being gay? If so, how do you think they patched it up to the point that he could visit every year?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Rob. on February 24, 2006, 01:35:40 PM
Early in the movie, Jack asked Ennis "did your folks run you off?".   Did anyone else hear an unspoken "too", meaning the Jack had been forced out by friction with his father, perhaps for being gay? If so, how do you think they patched it up to the point that he could visit every year?

  I actually took that in a different, more hopeful, slightly more discrete way of asking if Ennis was into guys.  But I can definately see it your way.  As too patching up?  Well, just remember, mothers are Forces of Nature (I've wanted to find a way of using that for weeks :) )  I would think that if she wanted jack to visit - there was no Mr Twist would be stopping it.

  Rob
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: valkyrie911 on February 24, 2006, 03:27:08 PM
Early in the movie, Jack asked Ennis "did your folks run you off?".   Did anyone else hear an unspoken "too", meaning the Jack had been forced out by friction with his father, perhaps for being gay? If so, how do you think they patched it up to the point that he could visit every year?

  I actually took that in a different, more hopeful, slightly more discrete way of asking if Ennis was into guys.  But I can definately see it your way.  As too patching up?  Well, just remember, mothers are Forces of Nature (I've wanted to find a way of using that for weeks :) )  I would think that if she wanted jack to visit - there was no Mr Twist would be stopping it.

  Rob

Jack was only 19 and just starting out rodeoing so it wouldn't be hard for him to follow that circuit for a bit then go back to the farm like he said he would to Ennis. He probably stayed for as long as he could take it before heading out on the road looking for work again. He seemed to have an intense bond with his mother and would have put up with quite a lot, especially having an easy going nature.

Jack would have had to have had an ongoing relationship with his mother worked into the story because they needed that bridge between Jack's death and Ennis meeting his mother. Because it is such a profound scene with so many things going on at every different level could you imagine if the movie ended with the phone call to Lureen? Jack's mother had to guide him to the shirts and reassure him that he was the only person who had mattered to Jack. At one point she seems to project Jack himself as if he could almost, but not quite, say one last thing to Ennis through her.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: ToolPackinMama on February 24, 2006, 08:14:13 PM
About Jack's father:

I know that he was depicted as abusive in the story, but IMHO that's a cliche and I'm glad it wasn't in the movie.  ~Gays were abused as children~ is a myth, and a cliche.  You don't have to have been abused to be Gay.

Judging by only what we saw in the movie, it's clear to me that Jack's dad was hard to please and not very supportive emotionally.  I do not think that that means he didn't love Jack.  Jack frequently returned to the parental homestead to help out, and he obviously confided in his dad about Ennis.  He was open with his dad about Ennis.  Both the parents knew about Ennis.

I think Mr. Twist sr. was a little pissed that Ennis never even tried to fulfill Jack's hopes.  I can understand why he might be negative toward Ennis:  Ennis is the guy that kept his son's heart on a string for decades and never came through.  Why should he like Ennis?

I think that Jack and his dad loved each other.  Isn't it possible that Mr. Twist wants his son in the family plot, because he loves him, and wants to keep him a part of the family?  Ennis doesn't dispute the point.  It's as if he agrees with the old man.  He respects the old man's wishes, without debate.

One thing I think is significant is the way Jack's ashes are divided and sent in two directions.  He was divided in life, and divided in death.  Even if Ennis got Jack's ashes from his parents, it still would only be half of them.

The symbol of unity, of Jack's wishes fulfilled, was in the shirts.  It was fitting that Ennis got those.  That's how Jack would have wanted it, and everybody knew it.

Everybody knew.  Jack's dad understood what the shirts meant to Ennis, and he had no complaint about Ennis taking the shirts.  But IMHO, he was in that way honoring Jack's wishes.  I don't think he cared much for Ennis.  Why should he?  He'd heard about Ennis for decades, but that was the first time Ennis actually went there.























Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on February 24, 2006, 08:43:53 PM
Wow, ToolPackinMama, that's isn't how Annie Proulx saw Jack's father. In a letter she wrote to Roberta Maxwell (which I regrettably can't quote chapter and verse) she refers to him as a cruel "martinet of a man", who terrorized his wife and son. And IMHO that's exactly what the actor who plays him conveys, to me anyway. Rarely have I seen such a malevolent, spiteful creature. To me his strange, sharp features and the oddly mismatched colours of his eyes, in those surreal surroundings and the harsh light, make him look like a demon guarding the gate of the underworld. Jack's mother, on the other hand, is like a friendly spirit, a "ministering angel", radiating kindness and compassion, guarding the way to the Other World above (upstairs, the room, the closet and the shirts), where forgiveness and redemption await.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: peteinportland on February 24, 2006, 09:04:58 PM
Well, I am in a bit of a quandary here. Dave made a beautiful post that talks about this scene in this context:

"These items have been discussed before in various forms.  The point I failed to make before, about this scene, is that, from the point of view of the "moment of recognition"  the parents actually stand in for Jack and Ennis.  They again replicate the dichotomy of yin/yang,  protector/nurturer, masculine/feminine, Ennis/Jack.

Father asserts dominion over Jack's mortal remains, just as Ennis asserted control (the famous short leash) over Jack in life.  Ennis (sorry, there I go  again, criticizing Ennis) was rejecting an d abusive toward Jack (also toward Alma), just as JCT Sr. was rejecting and abusive toward Jack. 

The fact that the parents mirror the characteristics of J and E, and  act out part of the lesson the Gods have decided to teach him (to borrow the analogy to Greek tragedy), was the main point I wanted to make in the deleted post, which I don't think was discussed here before."


There have been a few responses made to his post questioning his comparison of Ennis to Jack's father that have veered much more into the character of Ennis. I am going to move these posts discussing Ennis to the Ennis thread, As several of them quote Dave's original post, I don't think we will lose the spirit of the discussion. This way, we can concentrate on the scenes at Jack's parents on this thread.
 
Also be aware that there is now a thread for "Parents and Children in BBM" if you want to have ongoing discussions about Jack's relationship with his parents that do not specifically relate to his parent's actions in this scene.

Thanks for all your help in staying on topic. It is difficult even for me!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: ToolPackinMama on February 24, 2006, 09:36:55 PM
Wow, ToolPackinMama, that's isn't how Annie Proulx saw Jack's father.


::sigh::
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: lightningflat on February 24, 2006, 10:22:53 PM
I’ve been lurking for a while, but I wanted to address a question from way back in the thread that as far as I can tell was not sufficiently answered (although I confess I haven’t had time to go through all the pages of postings – as much as I would like to).  Anyway, I hope I’m contributing something new to this discussion.

This was the question from someone wanting to understand the meaning of the sequence of lines in the Annie Proulx story beginning with Jack’s father talking about Jack saying he would bring Ennis up to help out with the parental ranch some day, and then:

‘“This spring he’s got another one coming up...”
Then Ennis knew it was the tire iron.’

To interpret these lines, I first need to review the chronology of events in the STORY, (as opposed to the film; this is one of the places the screenwriters tinkered with Annie Proulx’s original story, and I’m not sure why).  Bear with me for a moment.

May 1983: Jack and Ennis’ last meeting, culminating in their (temporary) confrontation of the underlying strains in their relationship
May 1983: Immediately after this Jack goes up to see his parents for the last time
June-July (?) 1983: Jack is killed
August-September 1983: Ennis gets the returned postcard and goes up to meet Jack’s parents

Now let me flesh this out a little:

The last meeting between Jack and Ennis occurs in May 1983, culminating in their “fight.”  The fight begins over Ennis telling Jack he won’t be able to get away in August, but that he will be able to get away in November.  Earlier in this trip, around the campfire, both men have been bull-shitting about their current affairs with women, evidence of their continued attempt to be -- and pretend to each other that they are – essentially heterosexual men.  In her inimitable elliptical style, Proulx indicates that these are probably lies: “The sparks from the fire flew up with their truths and lies...”  The truth is that Jack misses Ennis terribly, all the time, as he openly admits.  If there even is a rancher neighbor (developed into Randall in the film), there is no evidence in the story that Jack has contemplated quitting Ennis for another man.  Between his infrequent meetings with Ennis he satisfies himself with casual hustler sex in Mexico and on his business trips. 

Then, at the end of this trip, the fight occurs.  Ennis’ words here are highly significant and prophetic.  He says “All them things I don’t know, if I should come to know them, it could get you killed.”  Is this a death threat?  Hardly.  He doesn’t say “I’ll kill you,” although that is how Jack interprets it.  Ennis’ greatest fear is of being killed for being “queer.”  There are multiple references to this in the story.  The primary meaning of his statement then is that he is terrified that Jack will get himself killed in one of these hustler encounters.  But there is a deeper “epistemological” theme here.  It is Ennis’ KNOWLEDGE about Jack’s casual sex that is more dangerous than the facts themselves.  As long as he doesn’t KNOW, neither he nor Jack will be hurt. 

But Jack hears Ennis threatening to kill him, and Jack goes on in his outburst to justify his hustler encounters, and then to revisit the issue of them having a better life together.   I interpret Ennis’s breakdown as being the result of his assimilation of the terrible KNOWLEDGE that Jack’s life is in danger, and with it his own, and it is here that Ennis faces and is unable to resolve the tragic crux of their dilemma: his basic instinct for preservation of self and beloved comes up against his equally basic need for love and companionship.  And in his mind there can be no compromise.  The alternative to Brokeback Mountain is the tire iron.  These are two major leitmotivs that run throughout the story.  And ultimately the only thing that has changed in this exchange is Ennis’ knowledge.   Jack wishes he knew how to quit Ennis, but he doesn’t, and can’t, and then their relationship is twisted back into shape like a coat hanger (foreshadowing the hanger for the shirts later on?). 

Immediately after this meeting (May 1983), Jack is going up to see his parents as he does pretty much every time he comes up from Texas to meet Ennis.  So it is immediately after their fight that he sees his parents, in fact later the same day.  Now according to the chronology in the story, this visit is the only opportunity Jack will have to tell his parents about the rancher neighbor.  How much does Jack tell his parents?  How much do they know?  This question has been addressed fairly thoroughly in these blog threads, and I agree with the general consensus that both parents know enough. But what had Jack said to his father about the rancher neighbor?

We know that the stud duck (John C. Twist) will resort to cruelty to assert his dominance.  Had Jack on his last/final visit dropped hints about his fight with Ennis?  Did he finally admit in some oblique way that he has given up hope that Ennis will ever come up to Lightning Flat with him?  Remember, the fight is still fresh in his mind, so he may easily have let some hint slip.  He is still trying to “get it right” with his father at this point.  But I don’t think we can assume that at this point in the story Jack has made any kind of definite plans with the rancher neighbor.  Even his father recognizes that this was probably just a pipe dream of Jack’s, and like many dreams, it never came to pass.  But it is Jack’s father’s KNOWLEDGE of Jack’s life and sexuality that really scares Ennis, and makes him jump to the conclusion that it was the tire iron.

To continue the chronology: after meeting his parents, Jack returns to Texas, and is killed within a few months.  Remember, it is Ennis’ post card confirming their meeting in November that is returned, stamped “deceased.”  Had Jack in these few months attempted to start up a relationship with the rancher neighbor, and been killed when it is discovered?  Perhaps.  This is what Ennis “knows” when Jack’s father mentions the rancher neighbor.  Ennis’ KNOWLEDGE again is the issue: and this is the same knowledge that Proulx refers to at the end of the story: this is my interpretation of the gap between what Ennis KNEW (Jack was killed with a tire iron for being queer) and what he wanted to believe (that Jack’s love for him persisted and transcended everything).   

As you can see, I’m trying to put a whole “epistemological” spin on Annie’s wonderful story (I just have to refer to her by her first name, feeling that I’ve come to know her so well).  The gap between knowledge and what you want to believe is really the central theme of the story, and Annie has masterfully evoked the ambiguities of individual knowledge in her spare, elliptical language.  But she has given us many hints, and signposts to help, if not our knowledge, then at least our belief. 

A brief, unrelated note:

There are several instances in the story foreshadowing Jack’s death: my favorite is when on their last ride up into the mountains, Jack remarks that the sky is so blue that he “he could drown looking up.”  This is in fact how he dies, whether it is the tire rim or the tire iron.   

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: ToolPackinMama on February 24, 2006, 10:34:14 PM
There are several instances in the story foreshadowing Jack’s death: my favorite is when on their last ride up into the mountains, Jack remarks that the sky is so blue that he “he could drown looking up.”  This is in fact how he dies, whether it is the tire rim or the tire iron.   



A very interesting post.  Thank you.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 24, 2006, 10:40:18 PM
I’ve been lurking for a while, but I wanted to address a question from way back in the thread . . .

wow. quite an intro post. sounds like you had a lot to get off your chest.

very glad to have you.

(although if you had waited just a FEW minute longer, you might have been our 2,000th member. you were 1998. 1999 followed 2 minutes and 11 seconds later. but we're still waiting to crown our second-millenium boy or girl.) almost.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on February 24, 2006, 10:42:02 PM
There are several instances in the story foreshadowing Jack’s death: my favorite is when on their last ride up into the mountains, Jack remarks that the sky is so blue that he “he could drown looking up.”  This is in fact how he dies, whether it is the tire rim or the tire iron.   


Another foreshadowing of Jacks death I caught was when he was rodeoing and you hear the announcer say "......and Jack Twist holding on for dear life...."

creepy once you see the films outcome
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 24, 2006, 10:49:06 PM
oh, there he is. mr. 2000, richm.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: ToolPackinMama on February 24, 2006, 10:50:03 PM
Wow, ToolPackinMama, that's isn't how Annie Proulx saw Jack's father. In a letter she wrote to Roberta Maxwell (which I regrettably can't quote chapter and verse) she refers to him as a cruel "martinet of a man", who terrorized his wife and son. And IMHO that's exactly what the actor who plays him conveys, to me anyway. Rarely have I seen such a malevolent, spiteful creature. To me his strange, sharp features and the oddly mismatched colours of his eyes, in those surreal surroundings and the harsh light, make him look like a demon guarding the gate of the underworld. Jack's mother, on the other hand, is like a friendly spirit, a "ministering angel", radiating kindness and compassion, guarding the way to the Other World above (upstairs, the room, the closet and the shirts), where forgiveness and redemption await.


I understand what you say and why. 

Look, I'm just talking about what appeared in the movie.  I'm treating the movie as a distinct entity.  I realize that what appeared in the story and the book don't match in all details with what's presented in the movie.  I'm just talking about the movie.

I really want people to look again at both the father and mother in that scene.  The whole household looks sterile and joyless.  Usually the household decor is the woman's lookout. If the house looks sterile and joyless, blame the mother.

That Jack's mother is a fanatical Christian is emphasized, more than once.  In the scene in question, the most obvious piece of art in the room is a large cross.  The coloring and furnishings through the whole house are spartan, spare, and subdued. 

It's been said that we marry our mothers.  Ennis is like Jack's mother.  They have a spiritual kinship.  They are both emotionally constricted.

Don't blame the old man, as if he necessarily terrorized the woman.  For all we know, she was always that way.

For contrast, my mother would have embraced Ennis, and cried with him, and would have shared photos with him, and would have convinced him to stay for dinner, to stay overnight, and to consider himself to be part of the family.

Jack's mom made some piddling gestures, but I think it's a dreadfully love-starved sort of person that would have seen her weak efforts as anything substantial.

Jack's dad has been living with that woman for who knows how long, and he probably has rarely gotten laid.  They apparently only had one kid.  Think about that.

Then you wonder why the old man is shriveled and bitter.


Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on February 24, 2006, 10:53:50 PM
i think you got Jacks mother all wrong!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: ToolPackinMama on February 24, 2006, 11:00:35 PM
i think you got Jacks mother all wrong!

There's more than one way of seeing it, that's all I'm saying. 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on February 25, 2006, 06:26:48 AM


Look, I'm just talking about what appeared in the movie.  I'm treating the movie as a distinct entity.  I realize that what appeared in the story and the book don't match in all details with what's presented in the movie.  I'm just talking about the movie



But that is exactly what Annie Proulx was reacting to! This was a letter she wrote to Roberta Maxwell about her performance in the role of Jack's mother. You should really hear her read it. She gave an interview which someone linked to a while back. It is posted at a Heath Ledger fan site. I'll try and dig it up. Roberta Maxwell reads the letter aloud and she is so moved by Annie Proulx's tribute to her she has a hard time restraining tears. Incredibly moving interview. In fact anyone who is interested in this particular scene should listen to it. Roberta talks extensively about the shoot.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Marge_Innavera on February 25, 2006, 10:38:25 AM
About Jack's father:

I know that he was depicted as abusive in the story, but IMHO that's a cliche and I'm glad it wasn't in the movie.  ~Gays were abused as children~ is a myth, and a cliche.  You don't have to have been abused to be Gay.

Judging by only what we saw in the movie, it's clear to me that Jack's dad was hard to please and not very supportive emotionally.  I do not think that that means he didn't love Jack.  Jack frequently returned to the parental homestead to help out, and he obviously confided in his dad about Ennis.  He was open with his dad about Ennis.  Both the parents knew about Ennis.

I agree that the omission of the flashback from the movie was a wise choice, for the same reason you gave. Jack's father is certainly not a sympathetic character, but he wasn't shown in the movie as really being much different from many parents, especially fathers, in that kind of hardscrabble existence. Even the idea of giving one's children a "happy childhood" is a fairly recent one (Victorian); for most of history, and still in most of the world, the emphasis iin parenting is giving one's children the ability to survive.  That the parents knew about Jack's sexual orientation and remained as close to him as he did was extraordinary given the era and the setting.

And IMO this using the original story as the yardstick by which to judge the movie, with whatever is in the former trumping the latter, isn't very constructive. There are good reasons for movie adaptations not totally echoing the original print stories, and they never do - even in an adaptation as close as The Thorn Birds, there were changes. It doesn't seem to bother many people who have both read the story and seen the movie that the physical descriptions of the two men are so totally different, that the two tent scenes weren't in the original story or that the characters of the two wives and Ennis' older daughter are drawn in so much more detail.  The story and movie can be looked at in tandem; but if you're focusing mainly on one of them (in the case of this part of the forum, the film), that has to be in the foreground.  In a discussion of the original story, comments about how "that wasn't how it happened inthe movie" shld similarly carry less weight.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: blubird on February 25, 2006, 01:11:34 PM
Dal, I deleted that post because of an interruption.

I was trying to get to something a little more abstract.  The cinematography--I've seen rooms like that in the northern plains back  30 years ago, with that whitewash luminosity.  But here I take it it is intended to convey the other worldly, with the luminosity, the character of the paint, austerity of the rooms.

Contrast this with the telephone scene immediately preceding which could hardly be more personal, the extreme closeups that show Lureen's deteriorated makeup and Ennis' keratoses, with the (now antique) telephones.

There was a similar up close scene just before, with the waitress.  These are buffers between the last scene together, where Jack is framed by the mountains and lake (I said this seemed the visual embodiment to Goethe's "The Eternal Feminine/ Leads us on high." )

The whole wake scene is an example of Anagnorisis--Aristotle, Poetics, the "moment of recognition" or self-realization and turning.  In this story it is quite painful.
The characters also are seen in greater abstraction.  Compared to the preceding two scenes. Others have noted the speech of JCTwist Sr. can function as the Greek chorus.

He essentially (a) outs Ennis with the reference to their building a log cabin together, (b) mocks him (and Jack as well) for not being man enough carry out J's plan, and (c) with the reference to "another one" coming up, suggests J intended to "quit" him.  I've argued before that J probably told dad the same "lie" about carrying on with the rancher's wife he had told E a few days before, on the May 1983 trip (why would he alter it?).  This is just macho posturing, and JCT Sr has to see through it.  I think both he and mom connected all the dots about E and J long ago (though they may not have discussed it between themselves).  Taking that story and modifying it in to the claim that J  talked about bringing someone else up is just a final thrust of the knife, in father's recrimination of Ennis.  (It is another example of characters making provocative statements they know to be false, like Alma telling Ennis she thinks he should get married again.)

But the first two things he says are true: J wanted him to move up there, and he because of  his tragic if not fatal (we're left in the book to speculate whether or not he's really going to make it in the italicized paragraphs) flaw, can't accept Jack's  offer.

These items have been discussed before in various forms.  The point I failed to make before, about this scene, is that, from the point of view of the "moment of recognition"  the parents actually stand in for Jack and Ennis.  They again replicate the dichotomy of yin/yang,  protector/nurturer, masculine/feminine, Ennis/Jack.

Father asserts dominion over Jack's mortal remains, just as Ennis asserted control (the famous short leash) over Jack in life.  Ennis (sorry, there I go  again, criticising Ennis) was rejecting an d abusive toward Jack (also toward Alma), just as JCT Sr. was rejecting and abusive toward Jack. Part of Ennis' bitter lesson in this scene is that he should--he must--recognize behavior in the father toward Jack (particularly in the flashback omitted from the film) that he himself in some degree had also been guilty of.

Mother is the other side of the yin/yang. She is an embodiment of Jack's qualities.  She is his surrogate in death, guiding, inviting, almost requesting his entry to that room. She is nurturer and comforter.  (There I go again, building Jack up.  sorry.)

The fact that the parents mirror the characteristics of J and E, and  act out part of the lesson the Gods have decided to teach him (to borrow the analogy to Greek tragedy), was the main point I wanted to make in the deleted post, which I don't think was discussed here before.

They are part of/catalyst for Ennis' moment of recognition.
Davel, you've certainly hit upon the some of the same ideas I had on my ~first~ viewing of BBM. The scene with the parents is so tottally unexpected, since only the father was mentioned but very early in their relationship. The sense of the remoteness of "Lightning Flat" also helps to establish the place in the minds eye. I felt, that the end scene with the parents, the movie had moved into a new realm of "Greek Trajedy". The white washed rooms, the abscene of movement, expect the mother moves about almost statuesquely. The language spare. We are now dealling in universersal truths. The mother as a Greek goddess of sorts gives affirmation to Ennis that his love, however tragic, was the correct thing. She lated looks deep into his face close up. The father on the hand is also a diety, whose final comment on the cowboy lovers is the futile foolishness of it all. "What fools we mortals be" The austere white home as an olympian temple in a far universe. Isn't love a force of nature. But the 2 dieties have very different views on things. the Shirts are the golden fleece. evstsahtollislhvsvewoasauurhsne ehtiewihitdRey tytapxpynngdesialisaesassavSA
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on February 25, 2006, 08:36:28 PM



But that is exactly what Annie Proulx was reacting to! This was a letter she wrote to Roberta Maxwell about her performance in the role of Jack's mother. You should really hear her read it. She gave an interview which someone linked to a while back. It is posted at a Heath Ledger fan site. I'll try and dig it up. Roberta Maxwell reads the letter aloud and she is so moved by Annie Proulx's tribute to her she has a hard time restraining tears. Incredibly moving interview. In fact anyone who is interested in this particular scene should listen to it. Roberta talks extensively about the shoot.


ANYBODY HAVE A LINK TO THIS ANNIE PROULX AND ROBERTA MAXWELL?????????
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: All4one on February 25, 2006, 08:50:49 PM
I would love to read it or hear it too. :)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on February 25, 2006, 08:57:18 PM
I've looked for it and I'm still trying. I know it's on a Heath fan site, but I can't find it. I'll try a search of posts on this site but I'm really not good at these things. The frustrating thing is, that page also has an interview with Heath where he speaks about what Annie Proulx wrote to him. There is also one with Annie Proulx where she describes Heath's performance as a "mindfuck". Truely great stuff and very illuminating with regard to the thought the performers put into what they were doing and how much they empathized with these characters.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on February 25, 2006, 09:01:18 PM
FOUND IT!!!

http://www.heathledgercentral.com/BBackradio.html

Enjoy!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on February 25, 2006, 09:03:50 PM
THANKS!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: peteinportland on February 26, 2006, 02:26:38 AM
I'm sorry for not noticing this sooner. The link to the interview and the recording of Roberta Maxwell are in the "Other Actors" thread on the Actors forum (same forum where the Jake and Heath threads are). The interview was first on Jeffrey Well's site www.hollywoodelsewhere.com (http://www.hollywoodelsewhere.com). I'm not sure if he archives his stuff.

However, the link above from the Heath site should also work. It is a great listen (and the interview is worth a read as well if you can find it on Well's site).
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on February 26, 2006, 12:55:39 PM
lightningflat, blubird, there's another point I probably should have made clearer.  The whole thing about the "other one's " "other fella's" reference in the father's recrimination speech.  Iago in Othello uses the same technique on Othello, planting the seed of jealousy by creating the impression Desdemona has been unfaithful.  It works in Othello; here, father uses it to fend off Ennis' claim to the ashes, i.e., defensively, as well as to stick the knife into Ennis a third time in the speech.

This point has been covered in a number of prior posts here and is related to the issue whether, in book, Jack is promiscuous and if so to what extent.  I've argued he is not in the book (but portrayed to some extent in the film as promiscuous--at least 1--maybe just 1-trip to Mexico).

The "lies" they tell each other are about the "woman in Riverton" and the "rancher's wife".  I've made a case before these are just part of their mutual fantasy that they "ain't queer" and theirs is some strange one shot thing.   Why would Jack tell something different to JCT Sr. a few days later, in May, 1983?  I think he gave dad the same line, but Sr. saw through it, then thought to build on the "rancher's wife" story, as I say, to blunt Ennis' desire to "carry out Jack's wishes" (revealing Jack as having "quit" him), and to generally mess with Ennis' head.  He can't know how effective his little mind game is, since he doesn't know Ennis" paranoia: at this point in the book , Ennis "knew" it was "the tire iron".

JCT Sr. despite his controlling and dominating characteristics, still enjoyed at some deep level a parental bond with Jack--remember he comes up every year to help dad (a line left out of the film).  Also he achieved renown as a rider.  Ennis in this scene becomes a target for the same resourcefulness and guile he brought to his riding.

Main point, again, is that, like Iago, he brings up the issue of infidelity to further mess with Ennis' head, and it works.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Blue on February 26, 2006, 01:49:09 PM
The article mentioned above in HollywoodElsewhere is still active; here is the link:

http://hollywood-elsewhere.com/archives/2006/01/depth_of_feelin.php

[the soundclip is found in the 'listen' hyperlink within the second paragraph below photo called "sometime around '76 or '77"]
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: valkyrie911 on February 26, 2006, 02:40:04 PM
I just listened to the interview with Roberta Maxwell and it really explained something for me. I understand a lot more of her character now that I know that she was playing it seeing Ennis someone who probably loved her son as much as she had and who had spent much of his life with him.

Another thing that was mentioned and that someone else mentioned here was that they were Pentecost and how Jack had shrugged it off but in reality had probably been dragged to plenty of sermons being born again Christians. An interesting thing about the Pentecosts is that they don't discriminate against homosexuals. Another thing is how they perceive the spirit of God and redemption and then it gets a little too religious for me but here is a quote from a Reverend and I could imagine Jack having similar feelings toward his relationship with Ennis--

"..that same dynamic is present in our lives, breathing us into being. For instance, I experience the Trinity and the Spirit in my relationship with my wife. There is a love that I have and give to her, and a love that she receives and responds to by returning to me. But more than that, after thirty years of marriage, there is something that exists between us, a reality, a Spirit of love that sees our relationship and values it profoundly with humility and joy. Sometimes I pinch myself to be so lucky to live in such love. Love given, received, and valued. Yet it is all one love."

I don't mean to imply that Jack was still a religious person after all of these years, but that he was raised a born again Christian and it would be hard to forget everything he had been taught, and I can see this thought or idea sustaining him for a long time through much of his loneliness for Ennis.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: peteinportland on February 26, 2006, 02:54:37 PM
The article mentioned above in HollywoodElsewhere is still active; here is the link:

http://hollywood-elsewhere.com/archives/2006/01/depth_of_feelin.php

[the soundclip is found in the 'listen' hyperlink within the second paragraph below photo called "sometime around '76 or '77"]


Thank you Blue.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: peteinportland on February 26, 2006, 02:58:18 PM
lightningflat, blubird, there's another point I probably should have made clearer.  The whole thing about the "other one's " "other fella's" reference in the father's recrimination speech.  Iago in Othello uses the same technique on Othello, planting the seed of jealousy by creating the impression Desdemona has been unfaithful.  It works in Othello; here, father uses it to fend off Ennis' claim to the ashes, i.e., defensively, as well as to stick the knife into Ennis a third time in the speech.

This point has been covered in a number of prior posts here and is related to the issue whether, in book, Jack is promiscuous and if so to what extent.  I've argued he is not in the book (but portrayed to some extent in the film as promiscuous--at least 1--maybe just 1-trip to Mexico).

The "lies" they tell each other are about the "woman in Riverton" and the "rancher's wife".  I've made a case before these are just part of their mutual fantasy that they "ain't queer" and theirs is some strange one shot thing.   Why would Jack tell something different to JCT Sr. a few days later, in May, 1983?  I think he gave dad the same line, but Sr. saw through it, then thought to build on the "rancher's wife" story, as I say, to blunt Ennis' desire to "carry out Jack's wishes" (revealing Jack as having "quit" him), and to generally mess with Ennis' head.  He can't know how effective his little mind game is, since he doesn't know Ennis" paranoia: at this point in the book , Ennis "knew" it was "the tire iron".

JCT Sr. despite his controlling and dominating characteristics, still enjoyed at some deep level a parental bond with Jack--remember he comes up every year to help dad (a line left out of the film).  Also he achieved renown as a rider.  Ennis in this scene becomes a target for the same resourcefulness and guile he brought to his riding.

Main point, again, is that, like Iago, he brings up the issue of infidelity to further mess with Ennis' head, and it works.

Dave, are you sitting down? I buy into just about everything you say here!  ;D I have been thinking the past couple of days on how the conversation went between Jack and his dad about the other "fella" (film) or other "one" (book). Good insight you gave us.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Rob. on February 26, 2006, 07:00:12 PM
The article mentioned above in HollywoodElsewhere is still active; here is the link:

http://hollywood-elsewhere.com/archives/2006/01/depth_of_feelin.php

[the soundclip is found in the 'listen' hyperlink within the second paragraph below photo called "sometime around '76 or '77"]


Thank you Blue.

  What a wonderful interview!  Thank you so much for posting that link!

  Fascinating bit about Annie's thoughts about Roberta's portrayal!

  Rob
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: IMJackNasty on February 26, 2006, 09:21:28 PM
Roberta Maxwell's performance is what kills me in that scene...along with Heath in the closet. The fact that Jack's mom is known as a Pentacostal and therefore not normally to be thought of as tolerant towards homosexuality.....the fact that you can tell it was more important to her that her son was loved...as she had not seen her husband give Jack any love as a child.

Absolutely crushing scene.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on February 27, 2006, 09:11:33 PM
I dont think Jacks father deliberately told Ennis about Jack bringing another man to Lightening Flat to hurt Ennis or to have Ennis have doubts about Jacks feelings.
I think the old man was just telling his story about Jack and things Jack had said.
I dont think the old man was keen enough on it all to know the damage he was doing to Ennis.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: IMJackNasty on February 27, 2006, 09:34:13 PM
I dont think Jacks father deliberately told Ennis about Jack bringing another man to Lightening Flat to hurt Ennis or to have Ennis have doubts about Jacks feelings.
I think the old man was just telling his story about Jack and things Jack had said.
I dont think the old man was keen enough on it all to know the damage he was doing to Ennis.

I agree. I think Jack's father came across as very angry and bitter about the loss of his son. He may not have shown Jack any love but losing a child is the worst thing to happen to you as a parent. I would be interested what Annie or Larry and Diana think about that scene.....or how they intended it instead of how we imagine it.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: In Tears on February 28, 2006, 12:42:06 AM
I dont think Jacks father deliberately told Ennis about Jack bringing another man to Lightening Flat to hurt Ennis or to have Ennis have doubts about Jacks feelings.
I think the old man was just telling his story about Jack and things Jack had said.
I dont think the old man was keen enough on it all to know the damage he was doing to Ennis.

I agree. I think Jack's father came across as very angry and bitter about the loss of his son....

Another possibility is that John indeed wanted to hurt E.  The story describes episodes of him abusing young J and, of course, J's own descriptions of his father in the film ("can't please my old man, no way", "never came to see me ride") confirm that his father is a very hard man. 

It is significant, isn't it, that the statements about E and the ranch neighbor are practically the only thing John says to E?  It is hardly the kind of conversation one would expect to have with someone who had driven hundreds of miles to pay their condolences and offer their support.

I'd suggest that John knew exactly what was going on.  "I know where Brokeback Mountain is" is delivered with such effect that it leaves little room to doubt that he is talking about more than geography.  He is talking about homosexual sex and E and his son.  When E retrieves the shirts, John stares knowingly at them as E walks through the room.  He knows.  (some have suggested here that E walks with the shirts in his hand as if to protect them, should John try to prevent him from removing them - I find this a particularly touching suggestion.)

Great group!  Thanks

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Rob. on February 28, 2006, 07:06:49 AM
The author herself intimates that he wasn't exactly the nicest of characters.

  I for one believe he was being wholly malicious in his interaction with Ennis.  Can't hurt the son anymore....well the one who loved his son is the next best thing - and 'perverted' to boot! (Don't tell me breaking the conversation by spitting into his cup wasn't there for a reason - it sure wasn't a 'pleasantry')

  Rob
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: valkyrie911 on February 28, 2006, 07:23:45 AM
The author herself intimates that he wasn't exactly the nicest of characters.

  I for one believe he was being wholly malicious in his interaction with Ennis.  Can't hurt the son anymore....well the one who loved his son is the next best thing - and 'perverted' to boot! (Don't tell me breaking the conversation by spitting into his cup wasn't there for a reason - it sure wasn't a 'pleasantry')

  Rob

That was like he was spitting on him, like a big F.U. In the interview (Roberta Maxwell) he's supposed to be one mean SOB who's tormented them for years.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lizandre on February 28, 2006, 03:19:45 PM
I think he made up this "another man" story. The attitude of Jack's mother is my clue. Ennis is starting to shake, and she puts her hand on his shoulder, to comfort him, as jack did comfort so often. And just before Ennis leaves the house, when the father insists on the ashes being buried in the family plot, Jack's mother stares at Ennis, putting her hand on her neck as if to say "please, don't retaliate".

There is fear in her heart, but I don't think she is afraid for herself. She knows the cruelty and violence of her husband. She guess the violence Ennis could burst into, and she perceives the passion beneath the surface.

I find very interesting that it is the first time Ennis succeed in controlling his violence. It is my optimistic point of view : Ennis is beginning to change.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lizandre on February 28, 2006, 03:40:32 PM
And one last thing that moves me so much.

Ennis begins the story with a brown bag, all his possessions inside it - a few clothes.

Ennis ends the story with almost the same brown bag - all that is precious to him inside it - a few clothes.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: madameshawshank on March 01, 2006, 12:26:38 AM
The first time I saw the film...attention on the faces...close close...however every so often I'd notice something...an object...when Ennis comes to Jack's parents' house...in that suffocating room...there's a cross on the wall...at least it seems to be a cross...and I thought of "Water-Walking Jesus" that Jack's mother had taught him...imagined that the Penecostal church might provide, for her, some relief from her life with the husband.  Like a weird form of theatre...a break...

as for the father...crumbs...let's wonder why HE was like he was...what the hell happened to him along life's highway...don't forget we're looking at a man who, in Annie's story, pissed over Jack when he was 4 or 5...'cause Jack couldn't reach the toilet...angry man...

and the grace of Ennis during that time....angelic methinks...somehow or other glowing with love...amidst all this being shot at him...beyond it now...although he still has to walk the stairs...yet another mountain...

the cake prepared...the cake ...such a strange word/thing...at that moment...Ennis says no...just the coffee...yet he knows a little bit more about Jack with each moment...ah...so these are his parents....wondering what it would have been like if they'd moved there...would the father have mellowing...would they have brought sunshine into that gloom?

Jack's father could have been gay...anger at his son being what he couldn't...I've seen that happen...although not about sexuality...a father's anger...

'n to think Roberta Maxwell had one day to film that scene..not sure if you know this:

"Within the sanctity afforded by Ang Lee," she replied, "I was able to drop my actor's mask and reveal my heart. I had no idea this small indie production would become a phenomenon, but I'm very proud of both the film and my scene."

In the summer of 2004, Maxwell was taken to a secluded spot 45 miles from Calgary. (The story is set in Wyoming, but the shoot was moved to Alberta, shaving an already low budget.) Maxwell was brought in for just one day's work

"When I arrived, people were getting ready to leave," she recalls. "They wanted to pack up."

So, to think while all that packing up was going on...just imagine :o ~ there she was ..able to produce such wonder..there isn't a nanosecond of this film that hasn't stayed in my soul since I first saw it...and I'm thrilled there are these individual scene threads...thrilled...and thanks to all posting...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on March 01, 2006, 12:31:17 AM
Jacks mother gives Ennis a sort of salvation.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: hybrid on March 01, 2006, 12:52:40 AM
One thing that's curious to me in these posts are many people's insistence that the father loved Jack. I don't think there's any evidence in either the story or the movie that he felt anything besides complete contempt for Jack. Parents don't always love their children. Well, maybe mothers do. In my experience at least, fathers are another another matter entirely, they often resent or even hate their children. This one doesn't love Jack, and I don't think Jack loves him.  They are just too different, they are, in a certain sense, almost complete  enemies.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: madameshawshank on March 01, 2006, 01:35:01 AM
perhaps Jack's father was too angry to love anyone...including himself..
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveinPhilly on March 01, 2006, 08:34:05 AM
perhaps Jack's father was too angry to love anyone...including himself..

Yeah, resented his own failures - hence projected them onto Jack. He was a bitter, sad creature and whilst it's unrealistic to expect people to feel sorry for him, he shows how any of us can blame others.

Their lives must have been miserable and it's only through her beloved and sweet son and her faith that Mrs Twist was able to go on. Now she has Ennis as an adopted son (in law).
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: strazeme on March 01, 2006, 09:53:40 AM
Jack's mom seems so warm and loving ... but that's in the movie.  In the book, she's "coring apples with a sharp, serrated instrument" ... almost as if she's ripping his heart out after Jack's dad has repeatedly stabbed him in the back.  Frankly, I don't want to consider this latter interpretation, I want to see the former.  But Annie, why did you have her taking the heart out of apples ... what did you mean by this?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: bluehorse on March 01, 2006, 10:17:47 AM
I think it's hard to have an apple in a story and not have the symbolism be biblical: eating from the tree of knowledge/life, getting thrown from the Garden of Eden. . .you can look at it another way: rather than violently coring them, she is taking those apples, making them into some sort of dessert, to feed and nourish. . .she could be saying: I know and understand (symbolically) what happened between you and my son. . .
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwp2paris on March 01, 2006, 07:06:53 PM
Roberta Maxwell is spot on.
The body language is impeccable.
The humility - the simplicity - the salt-of-the-earth quality.
The knowing-ness.
OMG
Every pore of Ms. Maxwell oozed the character appropriately.

At my 8th viewing this afternoon, I just couldn't keep the tears in from the moment she makes that humble welcoming entrance from the door of the house to welcome this stranger who she knows is so much more (I'll be exploring my theories on that over on the little slash I'm writing on the Slash Thread).

I hope that in 50 years, acting classes are using those few minutes of her on screen as the perfect example of acting. There is not one false move, one out of character motion that betrays all that she conveys in not just what she says, but what she doesn't say except through expression and gesture.

That moment, close up, of her putting the folded shirts into a grocery bag, and she just holds them a minute in her little folded hand, then plunges them into the sack is the peak of the emotional ride this movie takes me on. She knows, she understands, she loved here son for what he was, could not fix what he was experiencing, but could be there to help him stand it.

Roberta Maxwell, YOU win the Oscar in my heart for most tears shed while watching a miniscule but overwhelming performance.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on March 01, 2006, 07:09:36 PM
I do hope someone mentions Roberta Maxwells performance, when they are giving thanks at the Oscars
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwp2paris on March 01, 2006, 07:15:32 PM

I sooooooo agree with you!
The expression in her eyes when she nods, puts down her coffee mug and reaches for the paper bag rips me to pieces.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

What is it about that scene. It is nothing. It is just a look and a bag and some shirts.

And it moves me to even more tears every time I see it...

Please Ang, tell us what you told the actors during the filming of that...what was their motivation.

Or maybe not...I think I know and I cling to my analysis as a liferaft every time I see that scene.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwp2paris on March 01, 2006, 07:32:25 PM
I'm not sure Ang would have an answer for you.

And that is my fantasy...he gathered these artists, gave them some general direction, then started the cameras rolling. We get so much to watch because of this creative approach that let nature be the guide, and yet to analyze how it was done...the crew, if interviewed, would say..."well, we pointed the lights toward the talent, made sure their mikes were working, then Ang called 'Action' and pretty much what you see is what we saw."

Organic filming of an organic story...pure, simple, blown way out of perspective by all our analyzing.

Jack and Ennis loved each other, they could never be together, Jack's mother had an insight into it all and she came to Ennis at his time of greatest need and gave him the one thing he needed but didn't have...a tangible memory, that he could hold, and weep into, and button, and protect...and with those shirts' departure from that sad prairie ranch house, she bid farewell to her son and knew he was just where he wanted to be, ashes be damned.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on March 01, 2006, 07:39:41 PM
I'm not sure Ang would have an answer for you.

And that is my fantasy...he gathered these artists, gave them some general direction, then started the cameras rolling. We get so much to watch because of this creative approach that let nature be the guide, and yet to analyze how it was done...the crew, if interviewed, would say..."well, we pointed the lights toward the talent, made sure their mikes were working, then Ang called 'Action' and pretty much what you see is what we saw."

Organic filming of an organic story...pure, simple, blown way out of perspective by all our analyzing.

Jack and Ennis loved each other, they could never be together, Jack's mother had an insight into it all and she came to Ennis at his time of greatest need and gave him the one thing he needed but didn't have...a tangible memory, that he could hold, and weep into, and button, and protect...and with those shirts' departure from that sad prairie ranch house, she bid farewell to her son and knew he was just where he wanted to be, ashes be damned.




well that put a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye
            :'(
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: gblady on March 01, 2006, 09:50:47 PM
Jack's mother had an insight into it all and she came to Ennis at his time of greatest need and gave him the one thing he needed but didn't have...a tangible memory, that he could hold, and weep into, and button, and protect...and with those shirts' departure from that sad prairie ranch house, she bid farewell to her son and knew he was just where he wanted to be, ashes be damned.
 
Everytime I think the tears are all done, something like this comes and unleashes them again.....
Beautifully said.....thank you.
Cheryl
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Rob. on March 01, 2006, 11:01:55 PM
Jack's mother had an insight into it all and she came to Ennis at his time of greatest need and gave him the one thing he needed but didn't have...a tangible memory, that he could hold, and weep into, and button, and protect...and with those shirts' departure from that sad prairie ranch house, she bid farewell to her son and knew he was just where he wanted to be, ashes be damned.
 
Everytime I think the tears are all done, something like this comes and unleashes them again.....
Beautifully said.....thank you.
Cheryl
[/quote

  Agreed, beautifully said!

  Rob]
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: In Tears on March 01, 2006, 11:16:52 PM
Jack's mother .......... came to Ennis at his time of greatest need and gave him the one thing he needed but didn't have...a tangible memory, that he could hold, and weep into, and button, and protect...and with those shirts' departure from that sad prairie ranch house, she bid farewell to her son and knew he was just where he wanted to be, ashes be damned.

bless you - ever so sweet and true!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: sinne on March 02, 2006, 12:12:12 AM
Roberta Maxwell is an amazing actress.  Catch her in "Dead Man Walking" playing Sean Penn's character's mother.  The same humanity.  Also she's in a wonderful Canadian film called "Last Night".  It's too bad she wasn't nominated for an Oscar.  Maybe they should have a new category for "performers who are only in one scene"?  Like William Hurt, who was only in one scene in "History of Violence" being in the same category as Jake?  Doesn't make sense!  Sorry - I should post this on the Oscar thread.  Didn't realize I was going to rant.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: richardL on March 02, 2006, 12:54:22 AM
I saw it again yesterday with a sad girlfriend .. we cried and couldn't speak afterwards as words seemed so .. crass ...
One thing she did say before going home to mull it all over was  .. why didn't the father (given his controlling, bitter portrayal) query the
shirt being taken ?
I couldn't really answer .. we thought maybe he really knew ALL ... but couldn't release the pain of his life and join in that last
sad moment of his son's memory ? Maybe he just didn't see ? maybe he just didn't want to see ?
Sorry if this has been raised before here, so many posts cant read all !!
any views gratefully received  :)
Rich
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on March 02, 2006, 12:56:33 AM
I saw it again yesterday with a sad girlfriend .. we cried and couldn't speak afterwards as words seemed so .. crass ...
One thing she did say before going home to mull it all over was  .. why didn't the father (given his controlling, bitter portrayal) query the
shirt being taken ?
I couldn't really answer .. we thought maybe he really knew ALL ... but couldn't release the pain of his life and join in that last
sad moment of his son's memory ? Maybe he just didn't see ? maybe he just didn't want to see ?
Sorry if this has been raised before here, so many posts cant read all !!
any views gratefully received  :)
Rich

Because in his mind, he won.
He was keeping the ashes.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Zam on March 02, 2006, 01:04:17 AM

Jack and Ennis loved each other, they could never be together, Jack's mother had an insight into it all and she came to Ennis at his time of greatest need and gave him the one thing he needed but didn't have...a tangible memory, that he could hold, and weep into, and button, and protect...and with those shirts' departure from that sad prairie ranch house, she bid farewell to her son and knew he was just where he wanted to be, ashes be damned.


Thank you for putting it nicely together...(tears welling in eyes again, feeling gutted)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: richardL on March 02, 2006, 01:06:13 AM
Yeh, I guess so ... it is THE scene isn't it ? .. just like a wound-up spring ready to snap and puncture your heart ...  :-\
Rich
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: In Tears on March 02, 2006, 01:07:53 AM
...why didn't the father (given his controlling, bitter portrayal) query the
shirt being taken ?

That is an interesting question.  Though he stares at the shirts knowingly with a look of recognition and acceptance, he certainly had not softened up (as evidenced by the "Tell you what" lines that follow.) One insightful commenter earlier wrote that E carries the shirts in such a way as to protect them, should John Twist try to interfere.  (Recalling that J threatened to force Monroe to "eat the fuckin floor," there can be little doubt as to the outcome of that struggle!)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: richardL on March 02, 2006, 01:25:15 AM
A bit irrelevant, but my Dad is a well-off modern day version of him.
I know that he is that way because of his awful childhood. In this stupendous scene .. all this man's pain and childhood misery is on display
it is truly historic moment for me. :-\
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: peteinportland on March 02, 2006, 03:40:07 AM
I saw an episode of Law and Order today where Peter McRobbie was the judge. All I could think of was his portrayal of Jack's dad. That voice and those eyes. I think his portrayal was as spot on as Jack's mom. However, I don't think he gets enough credit because his character is so unsympathetic.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: sotoalf on March 02, 2006, 05:13:10 AM
Roger Ebert's review of BBM includes this sentence: "But the filmmakers have focused so intently and with such feeling on Jack and Ennis that the movie is as observant as work by Bergman."

Did anyone else recognize this quality?  The very first time I saw the movie I thought of Bergman during the penultimate scene at Jack's parents' house.

After reading Ebert's observation, I now feel that there are several Bergmanesque moments in the movie.

The lighting and staging certainly evoke one of Bergman's chamber dramas, no?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: doggedstrength on March 02, 2006, 05:50:02 AM
Roger Ebert's review of BBM includes this sentence: "But the filmmakers have focused so intently and with such feeling on Jack and Ennis that the movie is as observant as work by Bergman."

Did anyone else recognize this quality?  The very first time I saw the movie I thought of Bergman during the penultimate scene at Jack's parents' house.

After reading Ebert's observation, I now feel that there are several Bergmanesque moments in the movie.

The lighting and staging certainly evoke one of Bergman's chamber dramas, no?

i totally agree.  i thought especially of bergman in the scene w/jack's parents, the lighting, the staging and the framing of the shots.  the atmosphere seemed chillingly moralistic, yet there was someting pure and clarifying about it, too, a naked sort of light.  there seemed no escape. those tight head shots of the father made him seem like some sort of puritan minister/demon.  peter mcrobbie -- what an actor!  the way he says, "i tell you what . . ." made my blood run cold.  does jack use that phrase right before he says to ennis, "the truth is, sometimes i miss you so much i can hardly stand it"?  interesting if he picked it up from his father, and uses it there with such love, while his father uses it with such menace.  mcrobbie and, as has been widely noted here, the great roberta maxwell give two astonishing performances.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: valkyrie911 on March 02, 2006, 06:30:27 AM
I saw an episode of Law and Order today where Peter McRobbie was the judge. All I could think of was his portrayal of Jack's dad. That voice and those eyes. I think his portrayal was as spot on as Jack's mom. However, I don't think he gets enough credit because his character is so unsympathetic.

I was thinking the same thing, everyone wants to villify the character and forget the actor.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on March 02, 2006, 08:03:19 AM
the way [peter mcrobbie] says, "i tell you what . . ." made my blood run cold.  does jack use that phrase right before he says to ennis, "the truth is, sometimes i miss you so much i can hardly stand it"?  interesting if he picked it up from his father, and uses it there with such love, while his father uses it with such menace.

Jack does say it there;  in the short story, it's a favorite phrase of his.

Dal 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Marge_Innavera on March 02, 2006, 08:36:35 AM
Maybe they should have a new category for "performers who are only in one scene"?

I was thinking just that after the second viewing - that there should be a "minor role" category.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: JackF******Twist on March 02, 2006, 08:37:19 AM
True.  I did a quick search on the short story I have in Word and yes, Jack does use that phrase a lot.  Even his father too.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: JT on March 02, 2006, 09:03:17 AM
I saw it again yesterday with a sad girlfriend .. we cried and couldn't speak afterwards as words seemed so .. crass ...
One thing she did say before going home to mull it all over was  .. why didn't the father (given his controlling, bitter portrayal) query the
shirt being taken ?
I couldn't really answer .. we thought maybe he really knew ALL ... but couldn't release the pain of his life and join in that last
sad moment of his son's memory ? Maybe he just didn't see ? maybe he just didn't want to see ?
Sorry if this has been raised before here, so many posts cant read all !!
any views gratefully received  :)
Rich

Because in his mind, he won.
He was keeping the ashes.

When Ennis came down the stairs with those shirts, the look on his face and the way he was holding those shirts made me believe that he would have killed the old man before letting them go.  Maybe Jack's father got the same impression...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on March 02, 2006, 10:21:06 AM
why didn't the father (given his controlling, bitter portrayal) query the
shirt being taken ?
... maybe he really knew ALL ... but couldn't release the pain of his life and join in that last
sad moment of his son's memory ? Maybe he just didn't see ? maybe he just didn't want to see ?
any views gratefully received  :)
Rich

My own take is that, even though he knew the truth and had already heavily hinted that he did (Tell you what... I know where Brokeback Mountain is... spits in his cup), spiteful as he was, over his dead body was he going to stoop to acknowledging as much. It would have done Ennis too much honour to recognize him, however negatively, as his son's lover, which is why he slams Ennis with the revelation (real or embellished) that Jack has "another fella". JMO...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lucee on March 02, 2006, 10:58:41 AM
I took my mom to see BBM this past weekend.  She's in her early 60's and had a fairly strict Catholic upbringing so I was very interested to see her reactions.  Being a mother to 1 daughter and 4 sons she didn't have any trouble reading Jack's mom at all.  She said, without a doubt, his mother knew who Ennis was/meant to Jack.  Didn't matter how, what the specifics were, but she KNEW.  And when she asked him if he'd like to see his room....it wasn't asking him, it was telling him.  It was the mother tone of "I'm asking you to do something to try and be polite but we both know that I'm telling you to do it and you and I both know that you're going to listen to me".    I guess at that point it kinda stuck me how much of my mother's protectiveness I see in Jack's mom and is yet one more reason why that scene moves me so much.  She lets us live our own lives, make our own mistakes, but is always there to help us pick up the pieces and have a shoulder to cry on.  I can only imagine that's what Jack's mom was to him all those years of dealing with the heartache of not being with Ennis.  In most likely some unspoken way, she was able to comfort him and more importantly love him and accept him for who he was.  Probably just one of the many reasons Jack hung on so long despite him not being the type to just "stand it".  He at least had some small outlet.  Ennis could never even come close to telling a soul what Jack truly meant to him....until he met Jack's mom.  So at the very least Ennis was able to walk away knowing that despite everything he had been taught, everything he had seen, and everything he felt...there was still one person who accepted the love that he and Jack had. 

Aren't mom's the best sometimes  :'(

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: madameshawshank on March 02, 2006, 05:50:46 PM
oh Lucee what a gem of  post...

Heartbroken Ennis knows...through Jack's mother's eyes...they spoke through eyes...I can imagine some time...years later...maybe when she's as old as the hills...sitting with Ennis...and he feeling safe enough to share his story...and she will be given the gift of that time...on Brokeback.....shared  tears ...healing...I imagine ~ I'm am constantly thrilled that I'm alive at this time...to be a part of this...to experience all this...

again Lucee...a gem

oh..there's nothing quite like a strict Catholic upbringing!...my brother is a priest...strict...he's told me he hasn't seen it...would bet my last $ that he never will.....sin etc ::)

 ~ Jack's father and Joe Aguirre...both such angry angry men..hating the joy they've seen or sensed or imagined...maybe they were jealous..of the joy...of the intimacy...maybe they were gay...and locked inside their own prisons...fearfilled lonely angry men...'n fearfilled lonely anger doesn't come from nowhere.. :(
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lynn Allan on March 02, 2006, 09:34:12 PM
I've been thinking about the scene where Ennis drives up and Jack's mother steps out the kitchen door to meet him.  As I recall from my rural childhood (about the same time as Ennis and Jack), the man of the house always went out to meet a strange man who had just driven up.  At first I thought this was just an example of John Twist's nature, but it also occurs to me that he never moved from the table. Granted, it was a short period of time, but I'm wondering if there was another reason-- many, if not most, bullriders end up with chronic pain, or even incapacitating musculo-skeletal injuries. This could also explain why he never had enough help on the ranch, and why Jack went back every year to help on the ranch. Thoughts?

Also, when John Twist spits in the cup, besides the strong comment it made, I assumed it was because he was chewing tobacco... did anyone notice any indication that he was? (Whether he was or not, surprisingly, I'm not attaching any hidden meaning or symbolism to that... just curious).  :D
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: richardL on March 03, 2006, 12:11:52 AM
Lynn .. the spitting in cup .... I remember from my old relatives up in Newcastle (UK) who had worked down the coal
pits .. they all had real bad chests and  had "spitoons" .. they spat constantly . I wonder if the spitting was to indicate bad health.
It seemed to say to me .. " i'm gonna die soon boy and I'll see my son before you do ... "
This scene at the house absolutely overwhelms me  :-\
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Marge_Innavera on March 03, 2006, 09:21:36 AM
In this stupendous scene .. all this man's pain and childhood misery is on display

There could be an additional irony there - that Jack's father and Ennis might have more in common than they know.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: strazeme on March 03, 2006, 09:22:06 AM

I sooooooo agree with you!
The expression in her eyes when she nods, puts down her coffee mug and reaches for the paper bag rips me to pieces.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

What is it about that scene. It is nothing. It is just a look and a bag and some shirts.

And it moves me to even more tears every time I see it...

Please Ang, tell us what you told the actors during the filming of that...what was their motivation.

Or maybe not...I think I know and I cling to my analysis as a liferaft every time I see that scene.
I'm not sure Ang would have an answer for you.

I said the following in the miscellaneous scene thread:

One often hears actors talk of "instincts".  I imagine that much of the richness of most of the scenes in this film - the richness that enables us to dissect layer upon layer of unspoken meaning between so many of the characters - exists because all of the actors had superb instincts.  Surely, this many layers of meaning could not have been planned even by the actors.  They simply understood their characters so well that they were able to play them as real, with all those layers we sense intact.  Surely, no actor can prepare such complexities at a conscious level.

... I think it's actually possible that much of the richness wasn't explicitly planned - that much of it was a happy accident that arose from conscientiously professional actors who wanted to do a great great script justice.

I still love your suggestion tho' that Roberta Maxwell's performance be used to teach actors in the future.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Did you notice, when she's helping put the shirts in the bag .... there's a momont of pause ... while she's feeling the folded fabric, weighing it perhaps, to make sure he's getting both of the shirts ... not just the one on the outside.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: richardL on March 03, 2006, 10:24:34 AM
"Did you notice, when she's helping put the shirts in the bag .... there's a momont of pause ... while she's feeling the folded fabric, weighing it perhaps, to make sure he's getting both of the shirts ... not just the one on the outside."

Oh God this insight has sent my heart off again .. it's only a story but I fervently hope she was doing just that .. thank you Strazeme !
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lucee on March 03, 2006, 10:33:54 AM
oh Lucee what a gem of  post...

Heartbroken Ennis knows...through Jack's mother's eyes...they spoke through eyes...I can imagine some time...years later...maybe when she's as old as the hills...sitting with Ennis...and he feeling safe enough to share his story...and she will be given the gift of that time...on Brokeback.....shared  tears ...healing...I imagine ~ I'm am constantly thrilled that I'm alive at this time...to be a part of this...to experience all this...

again Lucee...a gem

oh..there's nothing quite like a strict Catholic upbringing!...my brother is a priest...strict...he's told me he hasn't seen it...would bet my last $ that he never will.....sin etc ::)

 ~ Jack's father and Joe Aguirre...both such angry angry men..hating the joy they've seen or sensed or imagined...maybe they were jealous..of the joy...of the intimacy...maybe they were gay...and locked inside their own prisons...fearfilled lonely angry men...'n fearfilled lonely anger doesn't come from nowhere.. :(

Oh gosh, wouldn't it be lovely to think that some time down the road Ennis could actually find it within himself to open up to Jack's mom. 

I was just so happy though to be able to take my mom and see her eyes open up just a little bit more.  It's something I've been working slowly on her for years now (on more than one issue) and she has come so far.  And what amazes me most is that despite some of the prejudices she was brought up with and had drilled into her head, she somehow managed to raise her kids to be much more open minded. 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: richardL on March 03, 2006, 10:39:51 AM
I'm off on a ramble but .... I think this scene holds my life in it's hands.

I'm an only child, parents don't know I'm gay (at 52 !). My father is not a very nice person : he speaks in superlatives and is grandiose in manner, he is always
right (he was a great success, now retired). He was totally ashamed of me and embarrassed by me and would avoid me at all costs when I was little.
When I visit them he follows me with a hawk eye and contradicts me whenever he can. He buys me cars and stuff and I accept ... then regret it and hate myself ... but it's the only
sort of love he can give me.  I think he feels genuinely superior .. my Ma always puts him first .. and I know it
breaks her heart everytime but she is compelled to do it. I am aloof and as distant as possible from them. I heard from another source that she will ask me if i am gay
before she dies but HE must never know. So she has a good idea.
The scene in the house could be for my partner visiting after my death .. it is etched in my mind's eye for ever  :-\
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Rob. on March 03, 2006, 10:42:33 AM
[
Oh gosh, wouldn't it be lovely to think that some time down the road Ennis could actually find it within himself to open up to Jack's mom. 


  But...that's the point :)!  Ennis didn't need to open up with Jack's mother - she already knew - not only that - she gave her tacit approval.  She knew that this man loved her son as much as she did.  I can see it in the hand on the shoulder, the very deliberate "You are welcome to go up to his room..." which was more a demand than a question, to the nod and slight smile when Ennis came down with the shirts, and the slight hesitation when she places the shirts in the bag, almost as if weighing them, to the way she looked Ennis in the eyes, even though Ennis doesn't like eye contact

  She was a mother.  She knew those shirts were there.  She knew.

  I don't think Ennis could ever go back to the Twist farm though - it would be like ripping his heart out all over again.  I could see them perhaps meeting sometime - probably at the grave or perhaps in town - but Ennis is (and always was) a closed person.  Even though HE knows she knows - I don't know if he could ever get himself to the point to freely discuss Jack - even with his mother.

  Rob
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: richardL on March 03, 2006, 10:43:31 AM
"Oh gosh, wouldn't it be lovely to think that some time down the road Ennis could actually find it within himself to open up to Jack's mom."

Dear Lucee .. yes it's a wonderful thought isnt it  .... and has me in tears now ! :-\
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lucee on March 03, 2006, 11:35:32 AM

  But...that's the point :)!  Ennis didn't need to open up with Jack's mother - she already knew - not only that - she gave her tacit approval.  She knew that this man loved her son as much as she did.  I can see it in the hand on the shoulder, the very deliberate "You are welcome to go up to his room..." which was more a demand than a question, to the nod and slight smile when Ennis came down with the shirts, and the slight hesitation when she places the shirts in the bag, almost as if weighing them, to the way she looked Ennis in the eyes, even though Ennis doesn't like eye contact

  She was a mother.  She knew those shirts were there.  She knew.

  I don't think Ennis could ever go back to the Twist farm though - it would be like ripping his heart out all over again.  I could see them perhaps meeting sometime - probably at the grave or perhaps in town - but Ennis is (and always was) a closed person.  Even though HE knows she knows - I don't know if he could ever get himself to the point to freely discuss Jack - even with his mother.

  Rob

I wish for the meeting for Jack's mom, not Ennis.  I don't think Ennis would need to open up to Jack's mother any more...as you said, she knows and he has her approval.   But I would think Jack's mom would love to hear stories about her son.  I don't think Ennis would actually open up and say he loved Jack or anything that blantant, but hearing about their companionship and how he told the stories would give her so much insight into another part of her sons life and bring her comfort in hearing about it.

Jack's father didn't care if his son was happy, only how Jack's actions effected him.  Jack's mother only cared that her son found happiness and was a good person....one who loved and was loved in return.

And RichardL....it does almost have me in tears as well because I could only imagine the happiness (yet mixed with sorrow) that it would bring to Jack's mom.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on March 03, 2006, 01:28:36 PM
Lynn Allan,  You're right the man would ordinarily come to the door.  I surmise E must have called in advance (using same pay phone as in preceding scene, since he doesn't have one himself).

Since in the book JCT Sr. greets him with an "angry, knowing" look, I also surmise both parents have a pretty good idea who Ennis really is when he drives onto the property, and this is father's way of shunning him from the beginning.

Or not.  Maybe he was in that little tiny house out back when E drove up.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lynn Allan on March 03, 2006, 02:00:14 PM
Dave,
I had suspected they didn't have a phone, as obviously dirt poor as they were (I know a couple today who still don't have a phone!). But it does seem like they must have had advanced warning... standing at the door, the mother's face does look like she knew who Ennis was. And they had called Aguirre when Jack's uncle was sick. And I assume Lureen had called them when Jack died.  Then again, on the farm, we depended on our neighbors to bring us phone messages, as Dad thought of phones as a luxury!

I doubt that John had been in the outhouse... he acts like he's held everything in for years! ;D
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Rob. on March 03, 2006, 03:19:09 PM
Dave,
I had suspected they didn't have a phone, as obviously dirt poor as they were (I know a couple today who still don't have a phone!). But it does seem like they must have had advanced warning... standing at the door, the mother's face does look like she knew who Ennis was. And they had called Aguirre when Jack's uncle was sick. And I assume Lureen had called them when Jack died.  Then again, on the farm, we depended on our neighbors to bring us phone messages, as Dad thought of phones as a luxury!

I doubt that John had been in the outhouse... he acts like he's held everything in for years! ;D


  Ahhhh...finally.....the mystery of the 'brown stuff' he spits out is solved  :D ;D

  OK - Sorry - but I couldn't resist

  Rob
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on March 03, 2006, 04:55:17 PM
Lynn Allan: In the 60's they still had those little telephone companies in the country with real live operators.  Then they had "party lines" with lots of subscribers listenting in on all the neighbors' conversations.  I don't think Ennis had a phone, except maybe those 9 years he was married to A.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lynn Allan on March 03, 2006, 06:14:19 PM
Lynn Allan: In the 60's they still had those little telephone companies in the country with real live operators.  Then they had "party lines" with lots of subscribers listenting in on all the neighbors' conversations.  I don't think Ennis had a phone, except maybe those 9 years he was married to A.

Sure, I knew they existed in rural areas (I remember my grandparents having party lines). I just thought the Twist's level of poverty might have prevented them from being able to afford a phone... you know, money that they were saving for house paint  ;)

OK, now I'm gonna have to see it an 8th time, to look for a telephone line running into the ranch.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on March 03, 2006, 08:42:46 PM
Sure, I knew they existed in rural areas (I remember my grandparents having party lines). I just thought the Twist's level of poverty might have prevented them from being able to afford a phone... you know, money that they were saving for house paint  ;)

OK, now I'm gonna have to see it an 8th time, to look for a telephone line running into the ranch.

No phone, I don't think.....    Dal

(http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f104/vcdrtPH/ChesTwist.jpg)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lynn Allan on March 03, 2006, 09:50:16 PM
Thanks, Dal,

'Course, now I have to come up with another reason to see it tomorrow. sigh.
Lynn
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: madameshawshank on March 04, 2006, 12:30:45 AM
as John Twist twists the knife into Ennis by letting him know of the other man...Ennis' nostrils flare ever so slightly.....exquisite grace under such pressure.....

Just before Jack's mother places the shirts into the bag...a pause...full of meaning..

Would she ever had asked Jack about the shirts? rather powerful items to keep for all those years...maybe she sensed, so didn't need to ask...Did papa know about the shirts..ever...

there must be some award ..for Roberta Maxwell...to think they filmed it in a day....as packing up was in motion....and she gave us these few minutes of unforgettable cinema...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on March 04, 2006, 12:33:43 AM
as John Twist twists the knife into Ennis by letting him know of the other man...Ennis' nostrils flare ever so slightly.....exquisite grace under such pressure.....

Just before Jack's mother places the shirts into the bag...a pause...full of meaning..

Would she ever had asked Jack about the shirts? rather powerful items to keep for all those years...maybe she sensed, so didn't need to ask...Did papa know about the shirts..ever...

there must be some award ..for Roberta Maxwell...to think they filmed it in a day....as packing up was in motion....and she gave us these few minutes of unforgettable cinema...


WHEN Michelle AND Heath AND Jake AND Ang AND Ossana and McMurty AND Santalalla get their awards and are giving their speeches, I hope they mention Roberta Maxwell's outstanding performance also.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: richardL on March 04, 2006, 12:53:19 AM
Ohmigod .. if you look at the pic that Dal has posted .. the window to the bedroom is still open as he  had opened it .. it makes me think the spirit of Jack might have escaped
to be with Ennis as he walks away. Or Ennis opened it to let this happen ? Bearing in mind Ang is Chinese it could be that was the intention .. opening the window and shoring it up was a very deliberate mini-scene ... it would enable the flow .
Rich
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on March 04, 2006, 06:38:39 AM
You're cheating.  Where did you get that still of the house??  Anyway, it is bigger, by several rooms, apparently, than the house in the book.

What is more, in the film, it has steam heat, judging from the radiator in that famous bedroom (which, incidentally, a lot of kids  would think pretty nice, particularly if they had to share a room with a sibling).  Steam heat I don't think was that common in houses way out in the country back then (or now).

The phone line prob)ably came in on the other side of the house, like the electric (house is electrified, from the button light switch, ca 1910, we see).

House was stucco in the book.  Also, in light of the radiator, why all the firewood outside?  Didn't see any franklin style stove, like the ones my grandmother had through the 1950's.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: All4one on March 04, 2006, 06:40:09 AM
Ohmigod .. if you look at the pic that Dal has posted .. the window to the bedroom is still open as he  had opened it .. it makes me think the spirit of Jack might have escaped
to be with Ennis as he walks away. Or Ennis opened it to let this happen ? Bearing in mind Ang is Chinese it could be that was the intention .. opening the window and shoring it up was a very deliberate mini-scene ... it would enable the flow .
Rich

Observations like that are what draws me again and again to this board. Thank you, richardL

My own thought was simpler, ignoring the significance of the opened window. I imagined how many times Jack must have imagined, as he sat up there, his future Ennis waiting for him. Maybe he held that little cowboy figured as he dreamed...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lumberjack on March 04, 2006, 07:48:31 AM
One of the questions that lingered for me after reading Proulx's book 100x over the last couple of years was, "Did Jack's parents know?"

It took 2 or 3 viewings of the BBM film to be able to answer, yes and with confidence:

1. When Ennis reenters the kitchen with the shirts, the father turns. Instead of fixing his gaze on Ennis, he blankly stares at the bloodstained shirts and follows them as Ennis walks across the room. He knew of the shirts existence the entire time. And instead of demanding that the shirts be returned, he doesn't say a word until the end of the scene.

2. When the mother turns to look at Ennis, she immediately sees the shirts and instinctively knows that they have found its rightful owner. It becomes clear that she knows this when she mercifully turns to get the paper bag for Ennis. The father continues to be silent.

3. Finally, it became clear to me that both parents had discussed, in depth, Jack's tragic fate, his sexuality, the shirts and even Ennis del Mar. I really believe that they accepted and validated Jack's sexuality. They may have even recognized the love Jack had for Ennis. The parents were obviously heartbroken and in pain throughout Ennis's visit, Jack's room was kept the way it was, the shirts were preserved, etc.



The first time I saw the movie I thought Jack's parents knew, but in addition after seeing it the second or third time, I listened to the dialog of Jack's father closer.  If I take it literally, it more shows Jack's father's disapproval with the statement, 'but like with most of Jack's ideas, they never come to pass.'  So to me that is saying Jack's father wasn't necessarily disapproving of Jack's sexuality, it was that he thought Jack never did what it took to make something of himself. (ie moving back to Lightning Flat, building the cabin, bringing Ennis with him, then later the male ranch neighbor from TX)

A parallel to this is much earlie when Jack goes back to the trailer in Signal in the spring of '64 and is rejected for work.  If I take literally what is said by the man behind the desk, it says that he was upset with Ennis and Jack, not necessarily for having a sexual relationship, but because they did not follow the instructions from their employer and did not fullfill their responsibilities, regardless of what else they were doing.

re 1:  I have noticed that when Ennis  walking through the kitchen with the shirts he is mentally inside of himself.  As Ennis steps past Jack's father, he more or less notices him sitting there, hesitates for half a second, and turns away slightly from Jack's father.  I took it as Ennis was thinking that he was determine to take those shirts with him.

re 2: I am so glad someone else was touched by the fact Jack's mother got a bag to put the shirts in!!!  It so reminds me of my mother always wanting to put whatever I had with me in a bag before I walked out the kitchen door!  I take it as a mother's way of protecting, and specifically in this scene, Jack's mother's way of approving and wanting to protect what Ennis had.

re 3: Jack's father wanted the ashes in the family plot because imo he wanted Jack to be finally home 'where he belongs'
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Rob. on March 04, 2006, 09:01:14 AM
The first time I saw the movie I thought Jack's parents knew, but in addition after seeing it the second or third time, I listened to the dialog of Jack's father closer.  If I take it literally, it more shows Jack's father's disapproval with the statement, 'but like with most of Jack's ideas, they never come to pass.'  So to me that is saying Jack's father wasn't necessarily disapproving of Jack's sexuality, it was that he thought Jack never did what it took to make something of himself. (ie moving back to Lightning Flat, building the cabin, bringing Ennis with him, then later the male ranch neighbor from TX)

  I don't know...I think they both very definately knew - and he most definately didn't approve of anything Jack did.  Just listen to the venom in his voice when he almost sneers "I know where Brokeback mountain is....."

Quote
A parallel to this is much earlie when Jack goes back to the trailer in Signal in the spring of '64 and is rejected for work.  If I take literally what is said by the man behind the desk, it says that he was upset with Ennis and Jack, not necessarily for having a sexual relationship, but because they did not follow the instructions from their employer and did not fullfill their responsibilities, regardless of what else they were doing.
Quote

  Actually, I get this very same impression.  Aguirre didn't seem to care as mich about what they did on their off time as keeping his sheep safe.  Annie Proulx had some insights into that.

Quote
re 1:  I have noticed that when Ennis  walking through the kitchen with the shirts he is mentally inside of himself.  As Ennis steps past Jack's father, he more or less notices him sitting there, hesitates for half a second, and turns away slightly from Jack's father.  I took it as Ennis was thinking that he was determine to take those shirts with him.
Quote

  Absolutely - he was definately 'protecting' the shirts from Mr Twist


Quote

re 3: Jack's father wanted the ashes in the family plot because imo he wanted Jack to be finally home 'where he belongs'
Quote

  This one I don't agree with.  Jack's father needed to have the last laugh so to speak.  It was more a matter of control - at least for me.  Frankly, if he really HAD cared about Jack all that much, and 'knew' of the love they shared - and wasn't such a bitter old 'Martinette'  He would have let the ashes go.  I get the distinct feeling Jack's mother definately would have released the ashes to Jack.

  Rob
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: valkyrie911 on March 04, 2006, 09:05:20 AM
I think the father is holding on to those ashes because it is the last thing a nasty, bitter old man can do to hurt and humiliate a son who has never quite lived up to what he thought he could have if he hadn't been "queer".
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: sinne on March 04, 2006, 11:09:46 AM
Something just occurred to me reading these recent posts about Jack's father. Maybe part of his bitterness and hurt is because, if we do believe Jack was murdered for being gay, his father is hurting because he lost his only child (who I'm sure he did love on some level), who would still be alive if he hadn't been gay!!!  Even if is anger and bitterness is only because Jack was the only visitor AND helper around the place that they ever had in the past 20 years and now he's gone.  I'm usually so focussed on Ennis and Jack's mother in this scene and so repulsed by Jack's father, but maybe, just maybe, some of the pain was his way of grieving and hurting for the loss of his son....???
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: richardL on March 04, 2006, 11:39:20 AM
When I first saw this scene .. I had it in my mind's eye that the ashes WERE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG ... if so .. that turns her looks to Ennis into something quite different
and makes the last words of the father a sad miscalculation on his part.
I felt that because she seemed to go specifically for a special bag .. as if somehow she had planned this ... dreamed of giving Jack his final wish .. and be damned to the father.
anyone else think that too ?
Rich  ???
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: londonphil on March 04, 2006, 12:03:21 PM
What a wonderful thought - I must admit it had never crossed my mind, but now you mention it...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: richardL on March 04, 2006, 12:14:53 PM
Yes isnt it .. i want it so badly to be the case .. i'm on the verge of tears thinking it .. oh jesus this film ! :-\
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: londonphil on March 04, 2006, 12:54:30 PM
 :'( :'( :'(
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: patroclus on March 04, 2006, 01:20:19 PM
Yes isnt it .. i want it so badly to be the case .. i'm on the verge of tears thinking it .. oh jesus this film ! :-\

I feel mean doing this, but it isn't true. It's been worked through before and there's nothing in the bag that she hands to Ennis. It's empty. 'We have the moon, lets not reach for the stars', guys. The shirts are enough - let be, let be!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on March 04, 2006, 03:28:33 PM
I'm usually so focussed on Ennis and Jack's mother in this scene and so repulsed by Jack's father, but maybe, just maybe, some of the pain was his way of grieving and hurting for the loss of his son....???

In addition to Peter McRobbie's sensational performance, we have Jack's own words about what kind of father the man was to him. "Can't please my old man, no way" (the initial bar scene with Ennis in Signal). "Never taught me a thing. Never once come to see me ride." (scene on Brokeback with Jack & Ennis drinking whiskey, just before Jack breaks into his Yee-Haw! antics). Malevolent is a word that comes to mind. Not all hateful fathers secretly love their sons. I would say this one doesn't.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: AntonioBrazil on March 04, 2006, 03:34:31 PM
I've been to the theatre here in Brazil for the fifth time to see the movie!
At Jack's parents, after Ennis has left the house, I noticed some disappointment on Jack's mom face when she shuts the door. Some kind of: Oh, Gosh, what have I done to diserve this.......  Finally I recognised that she was against Jack's sexuality!!!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: richardL on March 04, 2006, 03:34:38 PM
Michelle .. yeh my doesnt love me .. he is so wrapped up with his own value .. even at 76  :-[
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Zudos on March 04, 2006, 03:38:50 PM
When I first saw this scene .. I had it in my mind's eye that the ashes WERE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG ... if so .. that turns her looks to Ennis into something quite different
and makes the last words of the father a sad miscalculation on his part.
I felt that because she seemed to go specifically for a special bag .. as if somehow she had planned this ... dreamed of giving Jack his final wish .. and be damned to the father.
anyone else think that too ?
Rich  ???

Lovely thought Rich,

But there is no evidence to suggest that this was the case... Surely if the ashes were in the bag, then a scene would have ensued with Ennis scattering the ashes on BBM...!

Also there is no indication in the book...

Also she seems a faithful wife, and I doubt would go so directly against her husbands wishes... Especially as he is so 'traditional' in his views...!!!   
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on March 04, 2006, 04:05:15 PM
Michelle .. yeh my doesnt love me .. he is so wrapped up with his own value .. even at 76  :-[

richardL, same goes for my mother. I've found that most people who have had loving mothers cannot imagine a mother not loving their child(ren). So I keep that little secret to myself, as I invariably find people take it upon themselves to convince me that my mother really does love me, "she just doesn't show it", or better still "doesn't know it". Huh. I wish. Most people who have had loving parents have no idea, no concept, no comprehension at an intellectual or emotional level of what the witholding of love by a mother or father can do. And that's a good thing. I've made it my life's goal for my children not to know too.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on March 04, 2006, 04:06:14 PM
When I first saw this scene .. I had it in my mind's eye that the ashes WERE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG ... if so .. that turns her looks to Ennis into something quite different
and makes the last words of the father a sad miscalculation on his part.
I felt that because she seemed to go specifically for a special bag .. as if somehow she had planned this ... dreamed of giving Jack his final wish .. and be damned to the father.
anyone else think that too ?
Rich  ???
Lovely thought Rich,
But there is no evidence to suggest that this was the case... Surely if the ashes were in the bag, then a scene would have ensued with Ennis scattering the ashes on BBM...!
Also there is no indication in the book...
Also she seems a faithful wife, and I doubt would go so directly against her husbands wishes... Especially as he is so 'traditional' in his views...!!!   

I thought (HOPED) that too when I saw the movie for the 2nd time.
But as lovely as it seems, I'm afraid it remains pure speculation.
I just went once again through the screeenplay - and I couldn't find the slightest hint for such an assumption.
Pity, though...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: brokeback101 on March 04, 2006, 04:16:01 PM
Quote
I've been to the theatre here in Brazil for the fifth time to see the movie!
At Jack's parents, after Ennis has left the house, I noticed some disappointment on Jack's mom face when she shuts the door. Some kind of: Oh, Gosh, what have I done to diserve this.......  Finally I recognised that she was against Jack's sexuality!!!

i don't think she was against jack's sexuality, she loved jack and was happy to know that jack had found somebody like ennis who really loved him. i don't think she is dissapointed when she shuts the door she's more devestated that a part of jack's life (ennis) is leaving and she probably wont see him again.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Rob. on March 04, 2006, 04:42:44 PM
Quote
I've been to the theatre here in Brazil for the fifth time to see the movie!
At Jack's parents, after Ennis has left the house, I noticed some disappointment on Jack's mom face when she shuts the door. Some kind of: Oh, Gosh, what have I done to diserve this.......  Finally I recognised that she was against Jack's sexuality!!!

i don't think she was against jack's sexuality, she loved jack and was happy to know that jack had found somebody like ennis who really loved him. i don't think she is dissapointed when she shuts the door she's more devestated that a part of jack's life (ennis) is leaving and she probably wont see him again.

  Yep - the last two real tangible ties to her son have just left her life.  The shirts (of which there is NO way she didn't know the significance - even if Jack never spoke to her about them) and Ennis (Again - there's no way possible she didn't know how special Ennis was to Jack).

  If she was opposed to Jack's sexuality, I don't think she would have 'invited' Ennis to go upstairs to find the shirts, or smiled and nodded when she saw him coming downstairs with them, or laid her hand in a physical gesture of comfort when Mr Twist was verbally tearing Ennis down.

  We can never know how she felt about Jack's sexuality - nor is it really important in the long run.  We can see how much she loved her son - if only in the actions and reactions to the man her son loved!

  Rob
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: justaguy on March 04, 2006, 04:51:58 PM
Quote
I've been to the theatre here in Brazil for the fifth time to see the movie!
At Jack's parents, after Ennis has left the house, I noticed some disappointment on Jack's mom face when she shuts the door. Some kind of: Oh, Gosh, what have I done to diserve this.......  Finally I recognised that she was against Jack's sexuality!!!

i don't think she was against jack's sexuality, she loved jack and was happy to know that jack had found somebody like ennis who really loved him. i don't think she is dissapointed when she shuts the door she's more devestated that a part of jack's life (ennis) is leaving and she probably wont see him again.
You have to remember that she told Ennis to come back and visit them again.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Poohbunn on March 04, 2006, 05:16:19 PM
I really believe that Jack's mom knew how important Ennis was.  She looked like she expected him to leave with those very shirts (her subtle nod).  Jack's father seems like a genuine a**hole.  However, the love for him and the pain of his passing was so evident on Mrs. Twist's face. She had a gentle expression when she asked Ennis to come back again.  The only reason I think she would have said that is that she feels like a piece of Jack remains alive in Ennis.

I just saw the movie again this afternoon, and it's reallly clear in my mind.

Debi
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Poohbunn on March 04, 2006, 05:18:11 PM
Quote
, I noticed some disappointment on Jack's mom face when she shuts the door. Some kind of: Oh, Gosh, what have I done to diserve this.......  Finally I recognised that she was against Jack's sexuality!!!

I didn't read it that way. I think her look was grief and a wishful thought that perhaps Ennis would visit again. Did you notice how Jack's parents didn't even look at each other?  I don't think she was happy with her husband's disrespect for his own son. 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on March 04, 2006, 05:22:03 PM
I really believe that Jack's mom knew how important Ennis was.  She looked like she expected him to leave with those very shirts (her subtle nod).  Jack's father seems like a genuine a**hole.  However, the love for him and the pain of his passing was so evident on Mrs. Twist's face. She had a gentle expression when she asked Ennis to come back again.  The only reason I think she would have said that is that she feels like a piece of Jack remains alive in Ennis.

I just saw the movie again this afternoon, and it's reallly clear in my mind.

Debi

well said!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: sinne on March 04, 2006, 05:26:13 PM
I'm usually so focussed on Ennis and Jack's mother in this scene and so repulsed by Jack's father, but maybe, just maybe, some of the pain was his way of grieving and hurting for the loss of his son....???

In addition to Peter McRobbie's sensational performance, we have Jack's own words about what kind of father the man was to him. "Can't please my old man, no way" (the initial bar scene with Ennis in Signal). "Never taught me a thing. Never once come to see me ride." (scene on Brokeback with Jack & Ennis drinking whiskey, just before Jack breaks into his Yee-Haw! antics). Malevolent is a word that comes to mind. Not all hateful fathers secretly love their sons. I would say this one doesn't.

Thanks Michelle!  Right you are.  I guess I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt but I'm sure the only reason Jack kept going "up to my Daddy's place" was to see his wonderful mother!!!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Poohbunn on March 04, 2006, 05:42:42 PM
Quote
well said! 
Quote

Thank you.   I know a mother's loving eyes so well.  My mom recently died of ALS, and could only speak with her eyes.

Debi
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on March 04, 2006, 05:49:05 PM
Poohbunn, what a wonderful tribute. You should send it to Roberta Maxwell.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: peteinportland on March 04, 2006, 07:58:08 PM
Why Ennis opens the window in Jack's room has always been a question for me. I like the idea about letting Jack's spirit go free. I could see Ang adding that touch (btw, a Chinese poster on the symbolism and imagery thread had some great insights into some of Ang's touches in the film that honor his heritage--I'm not sure how far back in the thread those posts are). Any other thoughts on this?

It also struck me recently that while Jack's father denies Ennis the part of Jack that Ennis went to their house to get (the physical part which was reduced to ashes), Jack's mother gives Ennis a part of Jack that Ennis did not know he would get (Jack's heart and soul which resided in the shirts). I think Ennis and Jack got the best of that deal.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: paulh on March 04, 2006, 08:23:54 PM
Ennis and Jack could no longer be together, but their shirts could.
I find it interesting that Jack's ashes had to be divided between two places, as a statement of his being torn apart because of his divided nature.
What is comforting, though, is that Ennis got a part of him, too.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: gblady on March 04, 2006, 09:57:30 PM
I always thought that Jack's Mom looked angry/defiant when she closes the door after saying goodbye to Ennis.  I thought that she was shoring herself up/or bracing herself for any possible verbal attack from Jack's Dad for having let Ennis take the shirts, and/or just that fact that she was so nice to Ennis.  I felt that the way she puts her hand to her neck when the father says "He's going to be buried in the family plot" showed the fear and hinted at the abuse (at the very least emotional and verbal) that that woman has probably suffered at the hands of that man.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: richardL on March 04, 2006, 10:49:17 PM
Michelle .. yeh my doesn't love me .. he is so wrapped up with his own value .. even at 76  :-[

richardL, same goes for my mother. I've found that most people who have had loving mothers cannot imagine a mother not loving their child(ren). So I keep that little secret to myself, as I invariably find people take it upon themselves to convince me that my mother really does love me, "she just doesn't show it", or better still "doesn't know it". Huh. I wish. Most people who have had loving parents have no idea, no concept, no comprehension at an intellectual or emotional level of what the witholding of love by a mother or father can do. And that's a good thing. I've made it my life's goal for my children not to know too.

Michelle ... you have my full support on this .. I think it's worse when it's the parent of your sex that ... just doesn't love you .. for my dad my existence is a trial of responsibilities and embarrassments for him .. he buys me cars and stuff (I'm 52 !!!) to show he "cares".
I too get fed up of people saying, oh he does love you really .... I know instinctively he doesn't. I'm used to it now, but it will always haunt me. It is liberating to able to write this here !
Rich
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: AntonioBrazil on March 05, 2006, 01:44:37 PM
***THAT  ACTRESS , Jack's mom, is simply amazing! The way she comes to welcome Ennis, oh, well, such simple clothes, and the way she does touch her pullover to look better, receiving the beloved of her son is out of this world!!!!! The way she walks, everything!!!!!!  Great!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: valkyrie911 on March 05, 2006, 01:47:13 PM
***THAT  ACTRESS , Jack's mom, is simply amazing! The way she comes to welcome Ennis, oh, well, such simple clothes, and the way she does touch her pullover to look better, receiving the beloved of her son is out of this world!!!!! The way she walks, everything!!!!!!  Great!
Yes she doesn't need to be told who Ennis is she just knows.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: linnyfafa on March 07, 2006, 10:36:15 AM
I'm having a real problem with the fact that Jack was going to bring another man to his father's ranch. It kind of tarnishes my view of Jack. Was it because he had given up on Ennis? Did he need sex and companionship so badly that he would cheat on Ennis? He couldn't haved loved this other man the way he loved Ennis, could he? It makes me sad that this was brought up in the movie and story. I'm heartbroken for Ennis. Can anyone make me feel better about this?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: patroclus on March 07, 2006, 11:24:29 AM
I'm having a real problem with the fact that Jack was going to bring another man to his father's ranch. It kind of tarnishes my view of Jack. Was it because he had given up on Ennis? Did he need sex and companionship so badly that he would cheat on Ennis? He couldn't haved loved this other man the way he loved Ennis, could he? It makes me sad that this was brought up in the movie and story. I'm heartbroken for Ennis. Can anyone make me feel better about this?

not really! There is a big debate about whether or not Jack had decided to quit Ennis at the end of their last meeting (after the 'dozy embrace' scene, the look on his face as he watches Ennis drive away is particularly desolate and tired). Some people think he had decided to let it all go, lots more follow the 'he couldn't quit Ennis' line. Perhaps he was thinking of trying to live with Randall?? Perhaps he was just talking it through as an idea before the event with his mother? Some people think Jack's dad was just making it up to needle Ennis. Who knows the truth? More 'open space', I'm afraid. I guess you just have to sound out your own sense of the characters and fill in the blanks with what makes most emotional/psychological sense to you, like the rest of us.

But being heartbroken for Ennis sounds about right to me for lots of reasons
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Brokaholic on March 07, 2006, 12:58:45 PM
I'm having a real problem with the fact that Jack was going to bring another man to his father's ranch. It kind of tarnishes my view of Jack. Was it because he had given up on Ennis? Did he need sex and companionship so badly that he would cheat on Ennis? He couldn't haved loved this other man the way he loved Ennis, could he? It makes me sad that this was brought up in the movie and story. I'm heartbroken for Ennis. Can anyone make me feel better about this?

You have to remember that Jack's dad is saying this to hurt ennis. You literally see Ennis flinch when he hears this.. this scene is very important and if you read the book you know that that is the moment when Ennis realised it was the tire iron afterall.  Ennis knew Jack well enough to suspect immediately that he had been up to something and the wrong people found out. Jack's father only confirmed it. the issue of fidelity never comes up before thier final time together. Initially they are both married and then Ennis hooks up with cassie. Ennis never thought of asking for exculsivity because he never recognised thier relationship as being a relationship.. not in that sense because that would mean admitting to himself that he was gay.

Remember the most powerful thnig about this movie is that it does not show an ideal, it shows love existing in its purest form amidst imperfection. So Jack was not perfect niether was Ennis.  Ennis gave in to his fear and self loathing and Jack to his desire for companionship and physical contact. they both had thier flaws and yet they are so perfect. This scene with his parents is so powerful. Ennis is being told, he loved you, he wanted to build a life with you and you drove him away to another and to his death. Again this is clearer in the short story cos he swears at Loraine for not being there for Jack when Jack died but really he was swearing at himself.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: starlight on March 07, 2006, 01:26:08 PM
Yes, the scene at Jack's parent's home is heart breaking; I agree with Brokaholic's response to Linnyfafa; also, if we recall the details of Ennis and Jack's last scene together, we can see the total break down of their tentatively sustained love: Jack blurts out, "You know friend, this is a goddamn bitch of an unsatisfactory situation..." Then Ennis confronts Jack about the Mexico visits and threatens him....and Jack retorts with You're too much for me Ennis, you son of a whoreson bitch. I wish I could quit you."And then Ennis in near cunvulsive, tearfulness, collapses to his knees and cries out, "Then why don't you?! Why don't you let me be? It's because of you, Jack, that I'm like this. I'm nothing. I'm nowhere." Nothing is resolved, but it seems apparant that Jack realizes he'll never have Ennis with continuity, and even more horribly, he may destroy Ennis, or rather Ennis may destroy himself.....so when Jack's father digs the knife in by telling Ennis of the "other man" that Jack wanted to bring to the farm, he is telling the truth, because Jack needed what he needed, and he had to go on living, though his heart would always be with Ennis. It's all so unbearably painful to even contemplate these scenes.......
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Brokaholic on March 07, 2006, 01:34:36 PM
Does anyone care to comment on the significance of the wooden cowboy sculpture in Jack's room? At my last viewing I noticed Ennis was sculpting something similar in while alone in the tent on brokeback. I wonder if it is the same one... Funny though how I never noticed that tent scene in the begining until I saw the scene at Jack's parents and then caught it on my next viewing.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: JackF******Twist on March 07, 2006, 01:40:28 PM
Well, I'm not sure if it was the same.  The wood horse in the room looked like a toy.  But I believe that wooden horse and cowboy inspired Jack to be one.  I mean he had no other toys in the room except that gun on the wall and the carriage.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: patroclus on March 07, 2006, 01:42:50 PM
Again this is clearer in the short story cos he swears at Loraine for not being there for Jack when Jack died but really he was swearing at himself.


he didn't actually curse at her in the story, Brokaholic, it says 'he wanted to curse her for letting Jack die on the dirt road.' Not that he actually did, but I think you're exactly right - it was really himself he wanted to curse at.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Brokaholic on March 07, 2006, 02:30:40 PM
Again this is clearer in the short story cos he swears at Loraine for not being there for Jack when Jack died but really he was swearing at himself.


he didn't actually curse at her in the story, Brokaholic, it says 'he wanted to curse her for letting Jack die on the dirt road.' Not that he actually did, but I think you're exactly right - it was really himself he wanted to curse at.


You are quite right.. he didn't actually do any cursing
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lumberjack on March 07, 2006, 03:33:57 PM
The toy horse in Jack's room looks to be about the same size as the carving we saw Ennis make in the tent during their first summer together.  The figure shown in Jack's room is much more detailed than the figure we saw Ennis making in the tent.

This figure is not mentioned in the original short story.  Is it mentioned in the screen play?  maybe when the DVD comes out there will be a director's narrative included that might mention it.

Since its a fictional story, I think its great things like this can be left to individuals to conclude.  I say the horse figure in Jacks room is the figure Ennis carved that first summer; Jack snagged it and hid it (like Ennis's shirt) and saved it all those years.  Sure packs a punch in the emotional bread basket for me.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Chance on March 07, 2006, 08:10:49 PM
Just in case you haven't heard, we are running an Ad in Variety this Friday to thank everyone who contributed to the making of the Best Picture of 2005 - Brokeback Mountain.  See the discussion on AD CAMPAIGN and how you can help.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: sinne on March 07, 2006, 10:11:45 PM
The toy horse in Jack's room looks to be about the same size as the carving we saw Ennis make in the tent during their first summer together.  The figure shown in Jack's room is much more detailed than the figure we saw Ennis making in the tent.

This figure is not mentioned in the original short story.  Is it mentioned in the screen play?  maybe when the DVD comes out there will be a director's narrative included that might mention it.

Since its a fictional story, I think its great things like this can be left to individuals to conclude.  I say the horse figure in Jacks room is the figure Ennis carved that first summer; Jack snagged it and hid it (like Ennis's shirt) and saved it all those years.  Sure packs a punch in the emotional bread basket for me.

This was discussed a long time ago and the conclusion was it's not the same horse.  If you see the film again you'll see the size is completely different. 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: PALeben on March 08, 2006, 01:40:10 PM
I haven't made up my mind yet on the toy horse. Many people note that the size iss different, but if you have ever seen toys being carved or done it yourself, the one he is carving in the tent is one that is really just the rough form and the finished product will be much smaller. It is possible that it is the same one he carved. If it is, it is another indication of his love for Jack that he carved it and probably gave it to him up on Brokeback. As i said at the beginning though, I am still not sure about it.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwp2paris on March 08, 2006, 02:44:40 PM
It is the small little things that so draw me in and just blow me completely away about this scene. I said in another post that the last scene with Jack and Ennis together will be used in future film classes as the perfect example of the comlete coming together of all the ingredients of great filmmaking...direction, cinematography, screenplay, acting, scenic design, location, music.

But it is this scene that will become the benchmark for how film can move the viewer by actually presenting as little as possible. It is the ultimate example of minimilistic filmmaking.

The little things that I love and savor everytime I see this scene...

The entry of Roberta Maxwell...first her face through the window, then that very formal greeting she offers, pulling her sweaters around her and raising her shoulders and giving that slight nod of recognition...she knows Ennis Del Mar...her son has told her everything. This a noble and proud woman, not in a haughty way, but because she knows who she is greeting and is proud that he has come to her.

The looks that move across Ennis's face as he listens quietly to John Twist. No words need be spoken, those looks, the glimmer of a tear not even out of the duct...masterful acting Mr. Ledger.

The stark white of the scene...bookends with the stark whiteness of Lureen's background in the telephone scene just before.

When Ennis carries the shirts into the dining room, John Twist stares straight at them and Ennis turns them slightly away, as though to protect them with his body the way he cannot protect the ashes of his other half from this vengeful old man.

The silent ackowledgement...John Twist may be clueless about what is happening around him or denying it, but Mrs. Twist and Ennis speak volumes of all they know about each other without even uttering a word.

How Roberta Maxwell, just as she begins to slide the shirts into the grocery bag...she holds them, lingers on them for just a breath...it is her son she is giving to Ennis and she knows he is in the best of care, out of harms way at that point.

The hand to the throat by Roberta Maxwell as John Twist declares one more time where Jack is going.

The mouthed "thank you" from Ennis and the knowing shake of the head from Mrs. Twist.

The lone figure of Ennis, clutching the paper bag, taking one last look around the sad, decaying ranch where so much could have happened if only he had said yes.

I used to tear up during this scene...now it is as though it draws me in and I just float through it...mystical and otherworldly and it just won't let me go.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: JHL11 on March 08, 2006, 03:08:43 PM
mwp2paris- Excellent post. I would only add that she physically touches Ennis, too.

She places a consoling hand on his shoulder when he hears Jack's father tell him about the rancher Jack is going to bring to their home.

Wow.


Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwp2paris on March 08, 2006, 03:27:39 PM
mwp2paris- Excellent post. I would only add that she physically touches Ennis, too.

She places a consoling hand on his shoulder when he hears Jack's father tell him about the rancher Jack is going to bring to their home.

Wow.

Yes, Yes, Yes...the way that hand just comes in from the bottom left corner of the screen to offer comfort to Ennis...I think she knows that what John Twist is saying is not altogether true, but is civil enough not to defy her husband in front of company. Especially this company.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lynn Allan on March 08, 2006, 10:23:27 PM
I haven't made up my mind yet on the toy horse.  one he is carving in the tent is one that is really just the rough form and the finished product will be much smaller.

What you say about carving is true, except that he already has the legs roughed out, the body length, neck and head length...  all you can do then is make the horse skinnier... you can't move the legs closer together as they'd be on a smaller, shorter (body length) horse.  The one Ennis is carving looks far to big too be the toy in Jack's room.  (That doesn't mean Ennis didn't carve more than one...) Jack's Mom says she kept his room like it was when he was a boy-- I think he grew up with that toy horse and rider.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: David G on March 08, 2006, 10:42:47 PM
Man, I hated Jacks' father.

Not letting Ennis have the ashes was too much.

If I was Ennis, I would have asked to see the plot and then hung around until after dark with a shovel in hand.

Jacks dad would never know they were gone.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on March 09, 2006, 11:54:23 PM
PiP re open window, in the book, the room is described as facing west and overheated from the afternoon sun.  The business of opening the window and delicious detail of the rotted sash weight ropes, and impromptu stick to hold up window, no doubt left there since J's childhood, and thus giving E the chance to replicate his actions, are in keeping with that text.

The fact that the window is left open can just as easily be attributed to E's obvious distraction by what he finds in the closet.

Earlier I speculated the visit to LF was in November, in the time originally set aside for the hunting trip.  The detail about the overheating may suggest an earlier time, Sept or Oct.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: David G on March 10, 2006, 11:07:34 AM
Someone once said that the symbolism of opening the window was to let out the spirit of Jack.

I haven't gone into these kids of issues but I think it may be just the opposite.

Opening the window let IN Jacks's spirit which then directed Ennis to look in the closet.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on March 10, 2006, 09:24:08 PM
DaveL -

What's your take on the "toilet training" anecdote?  It is narrated between "Then Ennis knew it had been the tire iron", and Ennis' starting up the stairs to Jack's room.  I have to think that it is meant to illuminate Ennis in some way, just because of where Proulx places it:  as I have been reading the story, this is the time for data to come to Ennis, that cast light on him or his relationship w/ Jack.  But I can't see that this anecdote adds anything like that.  After all, we and Ennis already know John C is a jerk who had to dominate Jack.  I delete it, and the scene reads fine.  Obviously, the point of the anecdote is sailing right over my head.  Why do you think that anecdote needs to be there?

Dal
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on March 10, 2006, 09:48:52 PM
I think it's the one false note in the story.  Coming late, it doesn't do too much damage.  Like the Ennis childhood anecdote I guess it is an attempt to "explain" something.  Most people have repressed trauma from toilet training, I guess.  The interesting part about it is that since J apparently is an only child, and isolated from other male role models presumably, the awarness of a parent's genitals and the difference , perhaps we're led to speculate, coupled with the abuse (though many parents probablyl have let go at least once with a whuppin)--adds to the distance between father and son.  I thought the real key to that rejection by the father is in the statement that he put J on the woolies, but later refused to teach him any of his secrets.  Sensing his son's orientation and rejecting it.

The other thing is that parents in that era really didn't explain very much to children about sexuality. So maybe we're intended to conclude from this paragraph that J  concluded he in fact was "different" from the hypermasculine model of his father (imagine him 25 years younger than in the wake scene) because of the anatomical difference. 

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on March 10, 2006, 10:33:10 PM
I thought the real key to that rejection by the father is in the statement that he put J on the woolies, but later refused to teach him any of his secrets.  Sensing his son's orientation and rejecting it.

Yes, exactly so.  Established early on.  To me, the last third of the story is about a process of enlightening Ennis, from the postcard to the phone call, to the kitchen table, then up the stairs.  He gets his last dose in the closet, of light I mean.  But, maybe I'm wrong;  the "toilet training" anecdote at the foot of the stairs seems to spoil my beautiful theory.  Unless I'm missing the meaning of the anecdote. 

Dal
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on March 10, 2006, 11:06:12 PM
There's another point about this paragraph and how it illustrates the author's peculiar style.

A famous critic had a remark about, I believe, Schubert's Wintereise.  "Made all of a piece".  I can't remember the exact quote.  The point is, some works of art have a flow, an organic unfolding, that goes beyond just logic, a unifying idea, emotion, whatever.  In music, it goes beyond simple formal development; in poetry, beyond form and rhyme

Offhand, I think of a few another examples, also musical:  the 4th movement (passacaglia) of Brahms' 4th Symphony, D minor chaconne, Bach unaccompanied sonatas (or any passacaglia by Bach).

In BBM we don't see this, except in isolated passages, such as the paragraph describing the last horsepacking trip, while they're riding.

Author's technique though it follows certain precedents, e.g., anagorisis in the wake scene,  is really all over the place.  Time speed up and slows down.  focus goes from grains of sand and lichens to the stratosphere.  Perspectives change from paragraph to paragraph, Aguirre's "pair of deuces going nowhere"  Alma's why am I sticking around with this guy.

This particular paragraph just doesn't seem to work, doesn't really explain anything, and I can see why the director couldn't integrate it either.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: wolfchild on March 11, 2006, 12:35:42 AM
Someone once said that the symbolism of opening the window was to let out the spirit of Jack.

I haven't gone into these kids of issues but I think it may be just the opposite.

Opening the window let IN Jacks's spirit which then directed Ennis to look in the closet.



Ever since I saw BBM it has had a firm grasp on my heart and soul.  And I have been reading this forum as completely as I can, just totally absorbed in everything I have been reading here and reliving the movie moment by moment through the posts in this forum.  But this the first post that made me feel drawn to join and post myself.  And that is because of all of the posts that have gotten me teary eyed or made my heart ache-this post made both of those things happen and also happened to give me full chills, to the point of an actual shudder.  Thank you for that beautiful image.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lizandre on March 11, 2006, 04:43:13 AM
Ennis has lived a traumatic experience, and never recovered. Jack did and did. Ennis lived in fear, Jack lived in hope. Their aging and maturing was really different, and in the end, the two lovers were quite separate in the way the saw life.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: David G on March 11, 2006, 04:47:55 AM
Quote
Ever since I saw BBM it has had a firm grasp on my heart and soul.  And I have been reading this forum as completely as I can, just totally absorbed in everything I have been reading here and reliving the movie moment by moment through the posts in this forum.  But this the first post that made me feel drawn to join and post myself.  And that is because of all of the posts that have gotten me teary eyed or made my heart ache-this post made both of those things happen and also happened to give me full chills, to the point of an actual shudder.  Thank you for that beautiful image.

You're welcome. I'm glad I could share this with everyone.

I missed it the first time but when someone said Ennis opened the window to let Jacks' spirit free, next time I watched the scene very carefully. It's all there. Ennis opens the window and sits down. Just then, he turns to look at the closet. Something was prodding him to look. Jack wanted to make sure he found the shirts. He was there with Ennis, patting him on the back, pointing, whispering in his ear to go look in the closet.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: calaloo on March 11, 2006, 12:00:50 PM
I'm new here, new to message boards altogether, so be gentle with me!

I've been reading here for weeks and just want to add my 2 cents worth about the shirts and the ashes. Remember when we first see Ennis, he has his stuff in a paper bag? Presumably just about all he owns since there was no more room for him when his brother got married. Then he leaves Jack's parents' house with a paper bag, holding all that is most important to him in the world.

Also, my take on Jack's father not letting the ashes go to Brokeback is that, as long as the ashes are in the family plot, he can deny what happened up there - or what he suspects happened, or knows now that Ennis has actually materialized. His son may be a huge disappointment but at least he's not queer if the ashes stay in the family plot.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: strazeme on March 11, 2006, 12:23:51 PM
Again this is clearer in the short story cos he swears at Loraine for not being there for Jack when Jack died but really he was swearing at himself.


he didn't actually curse at her in the story, Brokaholic, it says 'he wanted to curse her for letting Jack die on the dirt road.' Not that he actually did, but I think you're exactly right - it was really himself he wanted to curse at.

         "Dirt road", that's what E is thinking, based on what Lureen has said.  But in the film, J is killed by a railroad track (in E's vision) ( also an echo to the first scene)  and much speculation has decided that Lureen is lying, and that E's vision is the truth.  So does E really buy it when she says "dirt road" or not?  Picky, picky ....
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on March 11, 2006, 12:42:37 PM
         "Dirt road", that's what E is thinking, based on what Lureen has said.  But in the film, J is killed by a railroad track (in E's vision) ( also an echo to the first scene)  and much speculation has decided that Lureen is lying, and that E's vision is the truth.  So does E really buy it when she says "dirt road" or not?  Picky, picky ....

E's first thought is No, he thought, they got him with the tire iron.

A minute later, he starts to flip-flop.  He didn't know which way it was, the tire iron or a real accident, blood choking down Jack's throat and nobody to turn him over. Under the wind drone he heard steel slamming off bone, the hollow chatter of a settling tire rim.

Flip.  Flop.  Flip.  Flop.  He can't call the coroner; he can't demand that the Sheriff investigate:  he has no "standing" in the legal sense.  So he flips and flops till John C tells him about the "other fella". 

So much for what Ennis believes.  As for us.... well, maybe we could all drive down to Childress and examine the death certificate in the hall of records!

Dal
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Marge_Innavera on March 11, 2006, 12:44:17 PM
I missed it the first time but when someone said Ennis opened the window to let Jacks' spirit free, next time I watched the scene very carefully. It's all there. Ennis opens the window and sits down. Just then, he turns to look at the closet. Something was prodding him to look. Jack wanted to make sure he found the shirts. He was there with Ennis, patting him on the back, pointing, whispering in his ear to go look in the closet.

That was my take on that scene as well, and a very personal one.  When my Dad passed on (1997), it was more than 1,000 miles away, and my mom and sister had called early that morning to let me know that he was failing.  At 8:40 a.m. I went upstairs for some mundane reason, happened to glance out the window and suddenly knew with no doubt at all that my dad had just passed on.  No ghostly experience or anything, I just knew he'd stopped by for one last "I love you."

I asked my sister later and sure enough, with an adjustment for time zones that was the time of his death, within a minute or so.  It happens.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: wjp58 on March 11, 2006, 12:47:13 PM
Ennis has lived a traumatic experience, and never recovered. Jack did and did. Ennis lived in fear, Jack lived in hope. Their aging and maturing was really different, and in the end, the two lovers were quite separate in the way the saw life.

Lizandre, I've been wondering about the toilet-training passage ever since my first reading, and that's the best explanation I've seen as to its place in the story.  Still, I wonder about the fact that, in all that trauma, the thing that affected Jack the most (according to the story) was the anatomical difference between his father and himself.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: David G on March 11, 2006, 12:49:45 PM
Quote
I've been wondering about the toilet-training passage ever since my first reading

Can someone will me in on the toilet training passage. Where does it appear? What is said?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on March 11, 2006, 12:54:53 PM
Quote
I've been wondering about the toilet-training passage ever since my first reading

Can someone will me in on the toilet training passage. Where does it appear? What is said?

David G --

It's gettin' enlightened well, on the Anything Gay Anything Bi/Over 40 thread.  Drop over!  Don't worry, you won't be carded.

Dal
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: wjp58 on March 11, 2006, 01:01:04 PM
As E is about to go upstairs, he remembers J telling him about the toilet training episode.  J had had alot of trouble in that regard, and his father got so pissed at him one time, that he pissed on him, made him clean it up etc.  In the process J noticed that dad was uncut, unlike himself.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: David G on March 11, 2006, 01:02:41 PM
Quote
Can someone fill me in on the toilet training passage. Where does it appear? What is said?

As soon as I posted the above I realized what you were referring to. I always thought of that passage it in terms of emotional and physical abuse and not toilet training.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: David G on March 11, 2006, 01:12:44 PM
As E is about to go upstairs, he remembers J telling him about the toilet training episode.  J had had alot of trouble in that regard, and his father got so pissed at him one time, that he pissed on him, made him clean it up etc.  In the process J noticed that dad was uncut, unlike himself.

Thanks for the above.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: patroclus on March 11, 2006, 01:17:03 PM
Quote
I've been wondering about the toilet-training passage ever since my first reading

Can someone will me in on the toilet training passage. Where does it appear? What is said?

Hi, David - great not to have to argue with you about 'Were they gay'! This episode is narrated in the story between the father's speech at the kitchen table and Ennis going upstairs to Jack's bedroom.

I, too, found this anecdote odd in its extremity, casually squeezing in an incident of pure child abuse in between two key parts of the story. But what it did do was give me a very vivid glimpse about the depth of the intimacy which Ennis and Jack shared with each other. I could suddenly imagine them togther, naked, looking at each other's penises like lovers really do and Jack suddently telling Ennis this appalling story which must have been humiliating and deeply traumatic for him. The level of trust and tenderness between the two men implied by this deepened my sense of their connection and love for each other. I couldn't imagine either of them sharing such intensely personal stories with anyone else in their lives, for example. It also had a sort of psychological realism for me. Here is Ennis, for the first time walking in the place where his beloved Jack was a baby and grew up. And the things Jack has told him leap into his mind with a vividness entirely new to him because he can actually see where it happened and who did it. We see Jack's father as a truly harsh, damaging and damaged man. I think they reflected that in the way the character was played in the film. Finally, there is a kind of Freudian aspect to this anecdote as the very young Jack connects his sexual organs with cruel rejection by his father and a mysterious, unexplained difference between their genitals. It is both confused and confusing for such a young child but perhaps strains for a possible account for why Jack might long for 'getting it right' with other men all his life after this incident?

I'm not sure if I think it's a successful part of the story or not, to be honest. But this is what impact it has had on me when I first read it.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on March 11, 2006, 01:32:27 PM
I knew I'd be sorry for responding to this question the first time.

If Patroclus is onto something, one conclusion we draw is that Ennis is........u/c.  If that's what prompts J to relate the story.

Another point about the placement of this odd paragraph: the Freudian associations of climbing stairs.

Here, underscored by the fact that, in book, the stairs had their own climbing rhythm.

Earlier I said the house is a halfway house between living and dead.

Now it's becoming a halfway house between c and u/c.  Time to move to naughty bits.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: patroclus on March 11, 2006, 01:38:22 PM
I knew I'd be sorry for responding to this question the first time.

If Patroclus is onto something, one conclusion we draw is that Ennis is........u/c.  If that's what prompts J to relate the story.

Another point about the placement of this odd paragraph: the Freudian associations of climbing stairs.



and that's exactly the conclusion I did draw, DaveL! Wishful thinking, perhaps... Anyway ... What are the Freudian associations of climbing stairs? Don't know about this...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: romeshvr on March 11, 2006, 06:42:19 PM
Quote
I've been wondering about the toilet-training passage ever since my first reading

Can someone will me in on the toilet training passage. Where does it appear? What is said?

Hi, David - great not to have to argue with you about 'Were they gay'! This episode is narrated in the story between the father's speech at the kitchen table and Ennis going upstairs to Jack's bedroom.

I, too, found this anecdote odd in its extremity, casually squeezing in an incident of pure child abuse in between two key parts of the story. But what it did do was give me a very vivid glimpse about the depth of the intimacy which Ennis and Jack shared with each other. I could suddenly imagine them togther, naked, looking at each other's penises like lovers really do and Jack suddently telling Ennis this appalling story which must have been humiliating and deeply traumatic for him. The level of trust and tenderness between the two men implied by this deepened my sense of their connection and love for each other. I couldn't imagine either of them sharing such intensely personal stories with anyone else in their lives, for example. It also had a sort of psychological realism for me. Here is Ennis, for the first time walking in the place where his beloved Jack was a baby and grew up. And the things Jack has told him leap into his mind with a vividness entirely new to him because he can actually see where it happened and who did it. We see Jack's father as a truly harsh, damaging and damaged man. I think they reflected that in the way the character was played in the film. Finally, there is a kind of Freudian aspect to this anecdote as the very young Jack connects his sexual organs with cruel rejection by his father and a mysterious, unexplained difference between their genitals. It is both confused and confusing for such a young child but perhaps strains for a possible account for why Jack might long for 'getting it right' with other men all his life after this incident?

I'm not sure if I think it's a successful part of the story or not, to be honest. But this is what impact it has had on me when I first read it.

Good post PATROCLUS.  I didn't understand why that paragraph was in there and your post gives me now some insight. The short-story and the movie keeps getting better and better...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: peteinportland on March 12, 2006, 05:57:09 AM
Interestingly, in the story, we see what is probably the most truamatic expereince in both Jack's and Ennis childhoods. Both at the hands of their fathers. Both very direct statements on masculinity. Both probably only ever recounted to one another and no one else. Very powerful writing.

Pete
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwp2paris on March 12, 2006, 07:23:10 AM
Interestingly, in the story, we see what is probably the most truamatic expereince in both Jack's and Ennis childhoods. Both at the hands of their fathers. Both very direct statements on masculinity. Both probably only ever recounted to one another and no one else. Very powerful writing.

Pete

My thoughts exactly. When you read Annie, you understand the depth of sharing J&E found. They could talk about things that they would never bring up with anyone else. That is just so telling about the love between them. Share all, no fear, no hiding except the one area Jack knew he could not discuss with Ennis...Mexico and the other "bulls he had ridden."
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: SYC on March 13, 2006, 11:49:17 PM
Can anyone tell me why the shirt in the closet was bloody?  I don't understand why it would be neatly replaced in the closet with other clean clothes, hanging there as if Jack would need it again. 

I can see the parents washing it and putting it back.  I can see them furiously trying to get out the stains and wash the truth away.  I can also see them burning it.  But hanging it in the closet straight off of Jack's back?  I don't understand what that meant.   :-\



Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on March 13, 2006, 11:50:59 PM
Can anyone tell me why the shirt in the closet was bloody?  I don't understand why it would be neatly replaced in the closet with other clean clothes, hanging there as if Jack would need it again. 

I can see the parents washing it and putting it back.  I can see them furiously trying to get out the stains and wash the truth away.  I can also see them burning it.  But hanging it in the closet straight off of Jack's back?  I don't understand what that meant.   :-\





excuse me, but...............................
ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! :o
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: SYC on March 14, 2006, 12:12:05 AM
Quote
excuse me, but...............................
ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Argh?  Was this topic already discussed?  Sorry, I didn't see a mention of it here or in the symbolism thread.  Can you just humor me and help me out a little here?  Then y'all can go back to discussing hat color.

 ???
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: valkyrie911 on March 14, 2006, 12:48:58 AM
Quote
excuse me, but...............................
ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Argh?  Was this topic already discussed?  Sorry, I didn't see a mention of it here or in the symbolism thread.  Can you just humor me and help me out a little here?  Then y'all can go back to discussing hat color.

 ???
During the scene when they have to come down off the mountain Ennis and Jack get into a wrestling match that gets a little too aggressive and Jack hits Ennis in the nose, causing it to bleed. Jack tries to stop the blood with his own shirt sleeve. Ennis is mad and punches Jack knocking him down and  wiping his own nose. Later they are seen in clean shirts. At the bottom, at Jacks truck, Ennis is looking through his things and says "I can't believe I left my damn shirt up there", Jack just nods and says, "yeah, well..." because he has stolen the shirt.  He brings them to his home. His birth home. The shirts are never to be touched. Ennis is blood of his blood, skin of his skin, soul of his soul. They are bound forever and all they have are those shirts. They cannot wear rings, they cannot hold hands nor can the live together. The best they can do is put two blood stained shirts together hidden away in the corner of a tiny closet to symbolize everything that their coming together that summer meant to them and to everyone it would effect for the rest of their stormclouded lives.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: iver on March 14, 2006, 01:24:44 AM
Quote
He brings them to his home. His birth home. The shirts are never to be touched. Ennis is blood of his blood, skin of his skin, soul of his soul. They are bound forever and all they have are those shirts. They cannot wear rings, they cannot hold hands nor can the live together. The best they can do is put two blood stained shirts together hidden away in the corner of a tiny closet to symbolize everything that their coming together that summer meant to them and to everyone it would effect for the rest of their stormclouded lives.
Thank you, Valkyrie! You express it so beautifully!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: SYC on March 14, 2006, 09:09:48 AM
Quote
Ennis is looking through his things and says "I can't believe I left my damn shirt up there", Jack just nods and says, "yeah, well..." because he has stolen the shirt.  He brings them to his home. His birth home.

Thank you, that was a puzzle to me.  I didn't even make the connection as to which exact shirt that was.  That makes sense.  So all those years he kept that shirt.  Does that also mean he was residing at the parents ranch the time, or did he just bring the shirt there?  Do you think also that Jack really did steal that shirt, or is it possible he went back up the mountain to retrieve it? 

BTW what you said about not having rings or anything, that was touching.  I didn't really think about that.  It makes what little they did keep of one another so much more irreplaceable. 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: patroclus on March 14, 2006, 03:47:14 PM
Quote
Ennis is looking through his things and says "I can't believe I left my damn shirt up there", Jack just nods and says, "yeah, well..." because he has stolen the shirt.  He brings them to his home. His birth home.

Thank you, that was a puzzle to me.  I didn't even make the connection as to which exact shirt that was.  That makes sense.  So all those years he kept that shirt.  Does that also mean he was residing at the parents ranch the time, or did he just bring the shirt there?  Do you think also that Jack really did steal that shirt, or is it possible he went back up the mountain to retrieve it? 

BTW what you said about not having rings or anything, that was touching.  I didn't really think about that.  It makes what little they did keep of one another so much more irreplaceable. 

Jack went to his parents home when he was near, in Wyoming. He returned there often. Presumably he went back after the time on Brokeback. I think he did steal the shirt after Ennis changed it on the mountain that last day. Fresh from his buddy's back. Not only better but why complicate it? I don't think he went back up the mountain. Your last comment is very touching and delicate. Thanks
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: jayhill on March 14, 2006, 04:09:47 PM
Jack told Ennis, as they were saying goodbye in Aguirre's parking lot after that first summer on Brokeback, that he was going up to "his daddy's" to "give him a hand during the winter." Thus he would have taken the shirt there at that time. I think the scene in which we see the naked Jake washing shirts in the stream is meant to convey the idea that he might keep one of Ennis's shirts as a keepsake. To me one of the most touching aspects of the two entwined shirts stems from the role of Jack's mother. She maintained his room and so had of course seen the shirts. Given a mother's intuition, she had probably sensed Jack's orientation and knew the significance of the shirts. I think this is why she obviously wanted Ennis to go up to the room---she wanted to know if Ennis  was "the one," and her quiet smile when Ennis came down with the shirts signaled that she then  knew and was happy for Ennis to take them with him. A heartbreaking scene indeed!
It is difficult to review this scene without taking note of Roberta Maxwell in the role of Jack's mother---her facial expressions and physical mannerisms speak volumes. Although her role is confined to this one scene, I consider her to be one of the stars of the film!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Rob. on March 14, 2006, 06:50:04 PM
Quote
Ennis is looking through his things and says "I can't believe I left my damn shirt up there", Jack just nods and says, "yeah, well..." because he has stolen the shirt.  He brings them to his home. His birth home.

Thank you, that was a puzzle to me.  I didn't even make the connection as to which exact shirt that was.  That makes sense.  So all those years he kept that shirt.  Does that also mean he was residing at the parents ranch the time, or did he just bring the shirt there?  Do you think also that Jack really did steal that shirt, or is it possible he went back up the mountain to retrieve it? 

BTW what you said about not having rings or anything, that was touching.  I didn't really think about that.  It makes what little they did keep of one another so much more irreplaceable. 

  As well...watch Jack closely when they're saying their goodbyes at the beginning.  When Ennis says he can't believe he left his shirt up there....Well....what Jack did was just what I used to do when my mom caught me doing something I shouldn't :)!

  Rob
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: SYC on March 14, 2006, 09:42:04 PM
Quote
I think he did steal the shirt after Ennis changed it on the mountain that last day. Fresh from his buddy's back. Not only better but why complicate it?

Not trying to complicate it at all.  I just think that it would have been sweet for Jack to go back and get the shirt that Ennis forgot, planning on surprising him later with it.  I can picture Jack holding that shirt in his hand, thinking twice about it....thinking this is the shirt of my beloved and making a decision instead to keep it and cherish it.  I prefer the idea of it not being stolen.  But the way you explain it, it's very possible he did snatch it.

An old love in my life did this a lot in fact....she would produce something I thought I lost or forgot, even picking up little sentimental things in restaurants I left behind (a scrawled note on a napkin or something) and show me later during a quiet moment alone.  I even "lost" my favorite hat when it zoomed out of the car on a road trip.  We stopped the car, she got out, walked back and retrieved it.  I took a picture of her walking back, shaking her head, carrying that hat.

Thanks to everyone who explained the circumstances of the shirt.  Jayhill, you cleared up a lot for me too. 

I've only seen this movie once, but I'd like to go back, I see that there is so much more to the film and it takes more than one viewing.


Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: soylentGreen on March 14, 2006, 11:15:40 PM
It is difficult to review this scene without taking note of Roberta Maxwell in the role of Jack's mother---her facial expressions and physical mannerisms speak volumes. Although her role is confined to this one scene, I consider her to be one of the stars of the film!

Absolutely.  She, along with the rest of the cast in this film, manages to communicate so much, with so little!  That's something I really appreciate about the film - there's so much unsaid, that we are left to dwell on just from body language, expressions... I think the Phone Call scene with Lureen is tremendous in this way, too.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: City Girl on March 17, 2006, 01:53:29 PM
The righteous, condemnatory attitude of the fundamentalist Christian churches towards their imagined idea of the film (because most people saying things like this haven't actually seen it) springs to my mind. Because Jack's mother absolutely radiates the sort of Christ-like love and utterly tranquil acceptance and peace which I thought Christianity promoted as its finest quality. Don't they say something about Faith, Hope and Charity, but the greatest of these is Love? Very ironic that such a quality is found in such a supposedly 'immoral' work...

YES, YES, YES!!!

Sorry for shouting and I realize that your post was eons ago in posting time but I just read it today.  I have been struggling to articulate this idea for a while and you nailed it!  The irony of the one overtly religious person in the film, a Pentecostal woman at that, being the source of the greatest acceptance and love to these "sinners" vs. the behavior and yammering of the Christian Right is astonishing.  The other irony is that the Right would no doubt be appalled at the use of "one of their own" providing this love and acceptance to our boys but then since none of them will go see the film it will be yet one more thing that they will never "get".

Faith, hope, something, but, the greatest of these things is Love.  I know there is something in the Bible about that but I don't know where.  I tried to find it in the family Bible inherited but, couldn't.  Some help anyone.

By the way, your post was done on my birthday.  Thank you so much.  I consider it one of the best gifts I got.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on March 17, 2006, 07:15:43 PM
Faith, hope, something, but, the greatest of these things is Love.  I know there is something in the Bible about that but I don't know where.  I tried to find it in the family Bible inherited but, couldn't.  Some help anyone.

First Corinthians I believe.  I'm no expert though.  Definitely one of the Epistles.  Caritas is the third of the three "things" Paul is going on about, and used to be rendered as "charity".  It really means caring for others, or love.

Dal
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: IRISH on March 17, 2006, 09:38:17 PM
Hi all,
Am I glad I found this site as I know I am not alone in what I feel for this film.
I am fairly new to the movie (it hadn't opened in central Europe when I left for the USA to work for 7 weeks) and this forum so if I repeat anything that has already been answered, please forgive.
As we all agree this is a superb and very revealing scene.
I really believe the parents knew and Jack's mother had perhaps been told more than we think. The father knew but was selfish enough to turn a blind eye if he got the ranch back in order. Jack said they were going to build a cabin together and the father has the 'well as long as what they get up to is not under my roof' attitude. I also think Ennis knew Jack loved his father as he called him 'daddy' and always left him to go visit even though maybe they were not that close. For me a telling moment in the Twist Sr. speech is his last line 'but like most of Jack's ideas, it never came to pass'. I beleive that hit's Ennis more than the mention of the other guy and it is here (I think) that Heath's forehead twitches and his mouth starts to quiver. The realization that because of him his father has contept for Jack even in death and he stopped Jack doing the one thing that might have made his father 'proud' of him. The mother's hand quickly touches Ennis's shoulder as if to say 'don't blame yourself, I know it wasn't your fault'. When Ennis leave he stops to look at the land and maybe thinks of how it could have been and the mistake he made.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: IRISH on March 17, 2006, 09:58:21 PM
Hi again,
I forgot to add that this is only how I saw it. That is what makes this forum so interesting, the many different interpretations of the wonderful work before us.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: IRISH on March 17, 2006, 10:10:45 PM
Christ, I'm beginning to feel like a stalker and it's only my first attempts to post.
So much to remember.
Now guy's and gal's, I ain't even American or old enough but isn't the horse in Jack's bedroom a toy based on an early b/w 50's tv childrens show?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: jacktrade on March 17, 2006, 10:51:45 PM
For me a telling moment in the Twist Sr. speech is his last line 'but like most of Jack's ideas, it never came to pass'. I beleive that hit's Ennis more than the mention of the other guy and it is here (I think) that Heath's forehead twitches and his mouth starts to quiver. The realization that because of him his father has contept for Jack even in death and he stopped Jack doing the one thing that might have made his father 'proud' of him. The mother's hand quickly touches Ennis's shoulder as if to say 'don't blame yourself, I know it wasn't your fault'.

I reckon you're right there Irish.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: dog.day.king on March 17, 2006, 10:54:35 PM
The righteous, condemnatory attitude of the fundamentalist Christian churches towards their imagined idea of the film (because most people saying things like this haven't actually seen it) springs to my mind. Because Jack's mother absolutely radiates the sort of Christ-like love and utterly tranquil acceptance and peace which I thought Christianity promoted as its finest quality. Don't they say something about Faith, Hope and Charity, but the greatest of these is Love? Very ironic that such a quality is found in such a supposedly 'immoral' work...

YES, YES, YES!!!


Faith, hope, something, but, the greatest of these things is Love.  I know there is something in the Bible about that but I don't know where.  I tried to find it in the family Bible inherited but, couldn't.  Some help anyone.



Paul's letter to the Corinthians

BYW that scene takes place at the height of the AIDS-hysteria, condemnation, etc. All the more glorious when placed in that context>
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: dog.day.king on March 17, 2006, 11:04:58 PM
Christ, I'm beginning to feel like a stalker and it's only my first attempts to post.
So much to remember.
Now guy's and gal's, I ain't even American or old enough but isn't the horse in Jack's bedroom a toy based on an early b/w 50's tv childrens show?

Welcome Irish!!

I'm not old enough to know that either, my earliest memories go back to the sixties.



Now this may have been mentioned on this thread.....

THE CLOCK on Jack's dresser.....

... is stopped at 8:45 and  8+4=5=17!!!!
I discovered this yesterday, after my ninth viewing. I knew that clock meant something...just took awhile to see that.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: City Girl on March 17, 2006, 11:15:32 PM
I just loved Roberta Maxwell when she puts those shirts into the paper bag for Ennis.  That extra half second that she holds the shirts in her hand before putting them into the paper bag.  She has lost her only child and has few momentos of him and yet freely and lovingly gives up one more part of him to the one person on earth that loves her baby and to whom the shirts would mean something to.  As Jack's shirt has come to symbolize Jack to Ennis, the shirt is a symbol of Jack to her and she is taking that moment to say good-bye to her boy. 

It just kills me.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwp2paris on March 18, 2006, 04:33:09 AM
I just loved Roberta Maxwell when she puts those shirts into the paper bag for Ennis.  That extra half second that she holds the shirts in her hand before putting them into the paper bag.  She has lost her only child and has few momentos of him and yet freely and lovingly gives up one more part of him to the one person on earth that loves her baby and to whom the shirts would mean something to.  As Jack's shirt has come to symbolize Jack to Ennis, the shirt is a symbol of Jack to her and she is taking that moment to say good-bye to her boy. 

It just kills me.

I know exactly what you are feeling...that nod and smile when she sees Ennis has the shirts...she sent him to that room for that very reason...then that little last pause as she slides the shirts into the bag...she is saying good-bye to her dear, sweet, precious boy and knows he is going home with the only other person who knew and loved him as she did...so beautifully acted by Roberta Maxwell...I hope she knows how much we love her here.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: City Girl on March 18, 2006, 11:42:12 AM
The righteous, condemnatory attitude of the fundamentalist Christian churches towards their imagined idea of the film (because most people saying things like this haven't actually seen it) springs to my mind. Because Jack's mother absolutely radiates the sort of Christ-like love and utterly tranquil acceptance and peace which I thought Christianity promoted as its finest quality. Don't they say something about Faith, Hope and Charity, but the greatest of these is Love? Very ironic that such a quality is found in such a supposedly 'immoral' work...

YES, YES, YES!!!


Faith, hope, something, but, the greatest of these things is Love.  I know there is something in the Bible about that but I don't know where.  I tried to find it in the family Bible inherited but, couldn't.  Some help anyone.



Paul's letter to the Corinthians

BYW that scene takes place at the height of the AIDS-hysteria, condemnation, etc. All the more glorious when placed in that context>

Absolutely! 

I have always thought it interesting how the Right will conveniently take the message of the Old Testament, a vengeful and punishing God and apply it towards those they don't like (as in "AIDS as God's punishment for sin".  Blab, Blab).  Yet, have the audacity to use the message of the New Testament and play the Love card when asking for charity, forgiveness, and love for their own supposed transgressions.

My apologies to those I have offended out there who are among the Faithful but I can't help myself.  In my little world, hypocrisy is the greatest of all "sins".
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: mwp2paris on March 18, 2006, 06:39:25 PM

Sorry, I'm being thick.  I don't get why 17 is important.  Please enlighten me.
Thanks!

Seventeen letters in Brokeback Mountain.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: deevah2 on March 18, 2006, 09:24:57 PM
Hi all,
Am I glad I found this site as I know I am not alone in what I feel for this film.
I am fairly new to the movie (it hadn't opened in central Europe when I left for the USA to work for 7 weeks) and this forum so if I repeat anything that has already been answered, please forgive.
As we all agree this is a superb and very revealing scene.
I really believe the parents knew and Jack's mother had perhaps been told more than we think. The father knew but was selfish enough to turn a blind eye if he got the ranch back in order. Jack said they were going to build a cabin together and the father has the 'well as long as what they get up to is not under my roof' attitude. I also think Ennis knew Jack loved his father as he called him 'daddy' and always left him to go visit even though maybe they were not that close. For me a telling moment in the Twist Sr. speech is his last line 'but like most of Jack's ideas, it never came to pass'. I beleive that hit's Ennis more than the mention of the other guy and it is here (I think) that Heath's forehead twitches and his mouth starts to quiver. The realization that because of him his father has contept for Jack even in death and he stopped Jack doing the one thing that might have made his father 'proud' of him. The mother's hand quickly touches Ennis's shoulder as if to say 'don't blame yourself, I know it wasn't your fault'. When Ennis leave he stops to look at the land and maybe thinks of how it could have been and the mistake he made.

Hi Irish
I'm  new to the site and just saw BBM four days ago. I agree that both of Jack's parents knew about his sexuality.  I going to have to read the short story because I think that Twist Sr.  is a grieving father who didn't agree with his son's lifestyle but "accepted" that it was what it was.  As far as we know Ennis never visited the Twist farm while Jack was alive.  The father comments that Jack was always talking about how Jack and Ennis were going move back and rebuild the farm.   When the father says" but like most of Jack's ideas, it never came to pass'. it definitely is directed at Ennis. To me, the disdain and contempt that is seen on the father's face is  because it seems that Only in Death can Ennis "admit" by going to the farm the depth of the relationship he had for /with  Jack.  When the father says that Jack will be buried in the Family plot he is saying, Ennis wouldn't/couldn't be with Jack while he was alive (perhaps if he had Jack would still be alive)  there was no way that Twist sr. is going let Ennis have Jack all to himself in Death.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: peteinportland on March 18, 2006, 11:34:01 PM

Sorry, I'm being thick.  I don't get why 17 is important.  Please enlighten me.
Thanks!

Seventeen letters in Brokeback Mountain.

It is the number Ennis puts on his mailbox at the end of the movie.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Rob. on March 19, 2006, 09:42:30 AM

Sorry, I'm being thick.  I don't get why 17 is important.  Please enlighten me.
Thanks!

Seventeen letters in Brokeback Mountain.

Thanks, mwp2paris.  Appreciate it.  I wasn't being thick, actually, I was being lazy.  Sometimes the volume of posts in here feels so overwhelming that I can't face digging back through the old ones to find out what comments are about that have lost their contextual details.

Thanks.


  Someone posted earlier as well that the clock in Jack's room was stopped at 8:45 - when added together is 17

  Rob
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dal on March 19, 2006, 10:35:27 AM
Seventeen letters in Brokeback Mountain.
  Someone posted earlier as well that the clock in Jack's room was stopped at 8:45 - when added together is 17

  Rob

Also, exactly 17 mountain ranges they worked their way through from the Absarokas to the Washakies, during their years of fishing trips.  In the short story of course, where there is no mail box nor alarm clock.

Dal
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: JHL11 on March 20, 2006, 08:22:25 AM
While watching this scene last night, for the first time I realized that it is analogous to the mood and ritual of a funeral.

As we know, humans invented rituals such as funerals, weddings, baptisms to mark profound passages in our lives and deaths. Rituals exist to help us process these events and give us some sense of finality or beginning.

For example, divorce is one of the few life-changing events a person experiences that is absent a ritual. That is one reason why it takes so long to overcome or, otoh, some people don't give it time at all and end up in a rebound relationship.

As others have pointed out, Ennis is denied any ritual tp properly mourn his lover's death.

It ocurrred to me while watching this scene is that, essentially, the trip to Jack's parents is that ritual, and Jack's mother is presiding as the priest, or celebrant. Other elements of a funeral are the "visitation" to Jack's bedroom which has the mood of a wake. As with most funerals their is always somebody who has to be the asshole and that person here is, of course, Jack's father.

The shirts I compare to the US flag that surviving spouses are handed to by the presiding military personnel. Here, although not a military battle, Ennis and Jack have been through a very different type of struggle, and to me, just like a flag, Jack's mother is handing those shirts to Ennis as a symbol of that struggle.

I'm glad this scene is so powerfully flimed and acted. I look on it as my necessary ritual, too.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: All4one on March 20, 2006, 08:31:12 AM
The Ritual A**hole... :D

Well, that's another way to look at Jack's father. You know, I just realized that in all the discussion of characters, and actors, we have said little about Peter McRobbie. Maybe we engaged as a group in the 'suspension of disbelief' so much we somehow felt he was a real SOB who blundered onto the set.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: jayhill on March 20, 2006, 09:23:52 AM
You may well be right about McRobbie; we may have associated him so much with the character he played that it interfered with our appreciation of his portrayal. And he may have suffered somewhat from sharing the scene with Roberta Maxwell's mind-blowing interpretation of Jack's mother. But the truth is that McRobbie's performance is also very strong (maybe Ang Lee just brings out the best in any actor!). Look at his eyes as they follow Jack's mother while she goes to prepare the coffee for Ennis---you can see the meanness of spirit in him that prompted Jack to remark that there was no way to please his old man. You can sense that this is a man who made life miserable for both his son and his wife. So bravo, Mr. McRobbie---another strong link in this remarkable chain of performers!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: JHL11 on March 20, 2006, 09:51:22 AM
McRobbie is just excellent. I had such a strong reaction to his portrayal of Jack's dad.

Agree with you Jayhill regarding John Twist's eyes during this scene.

In fact, I was spooked more by his silences during this scene than by what he said.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: phlmale on March 20, 2006, 12:37:12 PM
I'm disappointed that there hasn't been more recognition for Roberta Maxwell's portrayal of Jack's mother.....I know her screen time was short..but the minute she arrives on screen you can sense the heartache and loss.  I wish she had been nominated as well.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: bbmbliss on March 20, 2006, 05:12:50 PM
I think that Jack would have been MORTIFIED that Ennis found out what Jack had said to his father about the ranch neighbour. 

Jack always protected Ennis and would have hated that Ennis was left to cope with this 'neighbour' stuff after Jack had died.


(I first posted this on the 'Last Scene' thread, but wondered if any of you had any thoughts).
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: IMJackNasty on March 20, 2006, 05:23:54 PM
I'm disappointed that there hasn't been more recognition for Roberta Maxwell's portrayal of Jack's mother.....I know her screen time was short..but the minute she arrives on screen you can sense the heartache and loss.  I wish she had been nominated as well.

She was outstanding. i read an interview done with her a month or so ago and she said that was one of the last scenes filmed and she arrived on set as most everyone was leaving because they were done. She did that without having feeling the vibe of what was taking place all during the filming. It is her performance and character that sets off my waterworks in the scene.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: dog.day.king on March 20, 2006, 08:13:28 PM
17 answer is: all of the above:  17 years traversing that catalog of 17 mountain ranges, etc.

This was established on the old board, in December.

Ultimately the meaning of 17 is mysterious, I and others have suggested ideas (emotional maturity of Ennis, last year before age of consent, etc.) yet we can't seem to grasp why the number pops up so much, and why Ennis has that number placed on his mailbox.

The 17 letters of the title is its origin...Anne must have choosen that number then in listing the Mountain Ranges and it should correspond to the number of seasons Jack and Ennis had togeather from the reunion.

The placement on the mailbox I believe takes it to another level as a symbol.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Simple on March 23, 2006, 06:07:33 AM
For many of us there is a Jack inside us; an Ennis inside us; or both inside us. And many of us are parents of a Jack or Ennis.  After recognizing that the encounter at Jack's parents became clear for me.  When Ennis went to Jack’s parent's house to get the ashes AND finally meet his lover’s parents (another step forward after hitting rock bottom during his breakdown at their last reunion) he knew they were aware of his relationship with Jack and their sexuality.  Although they may never have acknowledged it, they knew.  But at that time, his father could NOT deal with his only son being gay.   When Jack arrived, the mother was resigned to the fact that her son was dead; killed by men with a tire iron; and now was seeing the man her son loved his entire adult life.  Parents always know these things.  Jack’s father also knew about Jack and Ennis’ relationship from the beginning, i.e. stating “I know where BBM is”.  He confirmed to Ennis that he was the only focus in Jack’s life when he stated how his son ranted …Ennis Delmar that…and that he wanted the two of you to move up here to get the ranch in shape.  And then threw the sucker punch about a new guy, the rancher from Texas who was moving up to the ranch.  But quickly added “Like most of Jack’s ideas, they never come to pass.” He knew his son would never and could never leave or ‘quit’ Ennis. Since his guilt and pain was so deep from the years of not accepting his son or committing to his son, he mentioned the other rancher to share the blame of Jack’s death on Ennis for also not accepting or committing to his to his son.  The point he was making in his words and body language was ‘we both made Jack stray and get killed.’  Lashing out at the only person your dead, gay son ever truly loved was the only way he could deal with the situation.  Regarding the shirts, the mother absolutely knew they were there and knew never to touch or move them.  They were theirs – together -- Jack’s and Ennis’.  She knew Ennis would come by when he learned that Jack died, since he wanted his ashes spread on BBM.  When Ennis arrived, as she knew he would one day, she wanted to make sure he got them.  This is what her son would want.  (And only Ennis would know the meaning behind the shirts).  When Ennis retrieved the shirts from the room, the father knew what they were and would never have taken those shirts away from Ennis (although Ennis did not know this, as he moved through the room, turning them away from the father).  The father had lost his son…but knew Ennis had lost his lover.  They both lost someone because neither would commit to him.  His feeling were, ‘Ennis, you get the shirts intertwined together.  That is your guilt, but I get the ashes, to remind me of my guilt.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: strazeme on March 23, 2006, 06:53:12 AM
Last post, what a great analysis of this scene.  I'm still touched by the way Jack's mom goes right for the paper bag ... from her stack of used, re-folded bags from the grocery store.  So goes so quickly, as if she were already expecting him to bring down the shirts.  And then she pauses, only a moment, as if she were making sure he had both the shirts.  But back to something else:  the cherry cake.  In this threadbare, dirt-poor home, a cherry cake would not have been an everyday treat ... it was something special, like you make for company.  So she had to be expecting Ennis's arrival, she already knew who he was, she was already reaching out to him.                                                                                                                                                                                         So how did she know he was coming?  They were undoubtedly too poor to have a phone ... and a careful look shows no phone line coming into the house.  Did Ennis have their address ... if so where did he get it?  And for that matter, how did Lureen send the ashes ... she said Jack kept all his addresses in his head.  We know they couldn't make it to the funeral in Texas, but how did they even know he's died.  God, I'm so obsessive, but these people are so real for me, and I just have to know everything.                                                                                                                                                                  And that cherry cake, it would have had cheerful red, an unexpected spot of brightness in this bleak home.  Even though he must know she made it just for him, Ennis politely declines saying "I can't eat no cake just now".  Not just "no thanks" but "I can't".  And this is before he goes upstairs, before the shirts.  And that cherry cake is offered only to Ennis, not to Jack's dad.  Why am I so hung up on this cake?   In an austere home like this, nothing ever went to waste ... somehow I wish she'd have wrapped a piece for Ennis to take home with him ... he did say "can't" "just now".  But that would have detracted from the bag of shirts ... so much more important.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: aperture on March 23, 2006, 10:21:28 AM
                                                                                                                                                                                       So how did she know he was coming?  They were undoubtedly too poor to have a phone ... and a careful look shows no phone line coming into the house.  Did Ennis have their address ... if so where did he get it?  And for that matter, how did Lureen send the ashes ... she said Jack kept all his addresses in his head.  We know they couldn't make it to the funeral in Texas, but how did they even know he's died.  God, I'm so obsessive, but these people are so real for me, and I just have to know everything.                                                                                                                                                                  And that

My first post in this forum.

I think Jack's father told Ennis about Jack's plan. Jack used to mention about Ennis everytime he came to his parent house. So they knew how special Ennis to Jack. At some point, IMHO Jack's parent would expect a visit from Jack's best 'friend'.

I think Lureen said Jack kept his friends' address, not all address. Lureen also said Jack parent still stay in Lightning Flat. So she knew Jack's parent address.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: silverbear3 on March 23, 2006, 11:02:18 AM
For many of us there is a Jack inside us; an Ennis inside us; or both inside us. And many of us are parents of a Jack or Ennis.

Boy - does that ring true for me. I think that's one of the reasons why I can't seem to shake this story - or movie. Everywhere I turn I can understand the story from both sides of it. And I keep searching for answers in this movie - maybe to help to understand myself better in the process..

When I first watched this scene - I noticed how Jack's mom came out on the front porch and stood there.. as if she was expecting him to show up eventually. The look on her face during the entire scene said so much inspite of the spare dialog. I kept remembering that this woman went to a Pentacostal church.. which from what I understand are *very* strict about biblical interpretation. What her son was - and what he did with other men - would have  been enough justification for a lot of parents to disown their son(s). But there she was... opening the door to her home and offering cherry cake to the man that her son loved. Suggesting that he go up to her son's room alone. She knew that Ennis was grieving. She knew that he loved her son. She knew that he had to be a good man if her son loved him so much and for so long.

I noticed that when he came downstairs with the 2 shirts, she nodded her head almost imperceptibly and then got the paper bag .. [and did she put them into the bag or did Ennis?] But that little nod made me think that she was kind of saying: "Of course. I understand. Please take them. Jack would want you to have them and cherish them as much as he cherished you."

That scene just kills me every time I watch it...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: snuffle007 on March 23, 2006, 01:45:53 PM
OMG. These scenes just tear my heart out  :'( :'( :'( :'( :'(

Fantastically acted by everyone. You can see the pain in Ennis' eyes. Though he may not cry outside, inside you can feel the grief he is in, just by his eyes.

I love the tiny little smile he has on his face when Jack's dad mentions that Jack had talked about Ennis and him living together. So subtle. You can feel the way Ennis pictures Jack and him together. But then suddenly as Jack's dad mentions that Jack had talked about living with another man, you can see the pain that causes Ennis. He realises that Jack may have moved on from Ennis and at that point, I really think that Ennis feels that he made such a huge mistake and he is so jealous.

I start to cry as soon as I see Ennis walking up the stairs to Jacks room, mainly because I know what is coming.

That room is so cold and empty and it made me sad thinking that Jack grew up in that room. Looking out of that small window onto that lonely road. I wonder if he even knew where that road would lead him? It amazes me he grew up to be so optimistic living in that environment. I think that was down to his mother. She seems like a very gentle and caring person.

The way Ennis handles the toy cowboy always interests me. It's almost like he is afraid to touch it. He is very gentle with it. Almost imagining it is Jack himself he is touching. Then you see he has been crying and then I really can't stop the tide of tears.

I get such a feeling of sadness when Ennis sits on that stool by the window as I picture young Jack doing the same and even older Jack too (as he did go and stay there frequently) and then I imagine him hiding the shirts and then sitting on that stool looking out onto that road, wondering if he will ever see the love of his life ever again. ...tears are building up now just thinking about it.

Because of the way Ang Lee used the wind/air with regards to Jack (he is a breath of fresh air for Ennis too) whenever I see Ennis open Jack's bedroom window, I always imagine that he is trying to let Jack out of this room. To free him, to let him get back to Brokeback Mountain. Because we then hear a rush of wind and Ennis is directed to the closet almost as if Jack is telling him to go and look (to find the boots and shirts)

Ennis finding the boots and shirts is where I really lose control and really start sobbing. He is again very gentle with the boots, touching them, remembering the man who used to fill them (he lets out quite a deep sigh when he does this). I can't tell if this is a sigh of happiness at the memories or of sadness, maybe a bit of both.

Then finding the shirts, he is so moved and taken aback by it, that he is so scared to touch them. You can see the way his hand is shaking, the look on his face is one of utter despair and regret that he will never be able to hug or touch the person he loved so much, ever again and he knows at that point, it could've been so different. He tries to almost breathe Jack into himself by smelling the shirt. It wasn't just a little sniff, he really took a deep breath in. Trying to get the scent of Jack back onto him.

It is so tragic and heartbraking. You just want to go back and change the story so that when Jack asks Ennis to live together, Ennis says yes. Maybe things would've been different, maybe not, but at least Ennis wouldn't be filled with so much regret.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Cameron816 on March 23, 2006, 01:59:38 PM
This scene when Ennis goes back to Jack's folks to get Jack’s ashes ranks way up on my list of important scenes.  Jack's mother, played by Roberta Maxwell, gave a stellar performance.  Nothing added to her by the script, but it is what was NOT in her lines that swept me.  It was as if she already knew Ennis was the love of Jack's life, and how there was something up there that Jack kept in a safe place for him to come and get.  Of course Jack couldn't have kept these shirts at home with his wife, so he had them kept in a safe place.   Also, when Ennis came back down with the shirts, there were no words needed.  Jack's mother gave that meek smile to Ennis as if to say, "Ah, I see you found what Jack wanted you to have."  This seemed to give both Ennis and her silent closure on acceptance of their relationship, and that how still, that secret would still be kept.  When Ennis was out on the door step, signaling with a nod and a lift of the paper bag containing the shirts, "Thank you for your son. ", and she back to him, "Thank you for loving my son" ... as if she were saying goodbye to both of them.  Even though Jack's last wishes would not be carried out, more importantly having the love between Ennis and Jack be acknowledged and accepted gives respect to what Jack wanted so badly.

Roberta Maxwell has been included in my round of post cards I send out.  I wish I could sit down with her and talk about what her performance has meant to me.  God, I wish I could scratch away the blackness between them and me and physically express my gratitude to all of the crew and cast.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: City Girl on March 23, 2006, 02:22:56 PM
For many of us there is a Jack inside us; an Ennis inside us; or both inside us. And many of us are parents of a Jack or Ennis... 

...The father had lost his son…but knew Ennis had lost his lover.  They both lost someone because neither would commit to him.  His feeling were, ‘Ennis, you get the shirts intertwined together.  That is your guilt, but I get the ashes, to remind me of my guilt.

An extraordinarily insightful and beautiful post, thank you for a new view of Jack’s father.  I have notice a couple of your other insightful posts as well.  Well done.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Simple on March 23, 2006, 02:25:46 PM
Regarding the shirts, the mother absolutely knew they were there and knew never to touch or move them.  They were theirs – together -- Jack’s and Ennis’.  She knew Ennis would come by when he learned that Jack died, since he wanted his ashes spread on BBM.  When Ennis arrived, as she knew he would one day, she wanted to make sure he got them.  This is what her son would want.  (And only Ennis would know the meaning behind the shirts).  When Ennis retrieved the shirts from the room, the father knew what they were and would never have taken those shirts away from Ennis (although Ennis did not know this, as he moved through the room, turning them away from the father).  The father had lost his son…but knew Ennis had lost his lover.  They both lost someone because neither would commit to him.  His feeling were, ‘Ennis, you get the shirts intertwined together.  That is your guilt, but I get the ashes, to remind me of my guilt.

I failed to mention a point that has been made numerous times, but is very important (at least to me), as 'Ennis' and 'Jack' are in many of us and many of us have been there.  As we know, when Ennis met Jack , he entered the relationship with his only possessions in a brown paper bag in 1963.  And after their first meeting obtaining their work assignment from Agguire, he followed Jack to the bar.  Jack led the way with his confident, proud and bold gait, while Ennis trailed...being led...being shown the way...timid...holding back...no confidence.  And now, 20 years later, he was leaving Jack's parents house with a brown paper bag, containing all of his worldly possessions -- his and Jack's shirts intertwined together -- two souls intertwined forever, for internity. As he made his way back to his truck, he looked up at Jack's bedroom window that he had opened and paused, asking Jack...please follow me old friend.  Although I never followed you like you wanted or I should have, I am begging you to please follow me this one time and be with me now and forever.  Ennis then made his way to his truck (knowing Jack was now with him forever) and drove away.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: City Girl on March 23, 2006, 02:45:08 PM
Jack's mother, played by Roberta Maxwell, gave a stellar performance.  Nothing added to her by the script, but it is what was NOT in her lines that swept me.  It was as if she already knew Ennis was the love of Jack's life, and how there was something up there that Jack kept in a safe place for him to come and get.     

Also, when Ennis came back down with the shirts, there were no words needed.  Jack's mother gave that meek smile to Ennis as if to say, "Ah, I see you found what Jack wanted you to have."  This seemed to give both Ennis and her silent closure on acceptance of their relationship, and that how still, that secret would still be kept. 

When Ennis was out on the door step, signaling with a nod and a lift of the paper bag containing the shirts, "Thank you for your son. ", and she back to him, "Thank you for loving my son" ... as if she were saying goodbye to both of them.  Even though Jack's last wishes would not be carried out, more importantly having the love between Ennis and Jack be acknowledged and accepted gives respect to what Jack wanted so badly.


I think that your inteptation of "thank you for your son" is essentally correct, he is thankful for Jack and Jack's mother is the only one who deseves any thanks for the wonderful man Jack became.  But, he actually does whisper, because he is barely able to speak at this point, "thank you for this" as he lifts the bags up slightly.

This brings to mind an interview, with a pediatric nurse who worked with war orphans, I read years ago.  In it, the nurse found interesting how certain orphans thrived while others who might be physically better off didn't.  What she found was that inevitably, the ones that thrived had at least one person in their past who had loved and cared for them totally.  That person might now be gone but it was if that love was somehow some sort of an inoculation that the child carried forward throughout life.  If this theory is true, that one can recover from trauma, if they understand they are loved it could explain how it was that Jack could have survived his boyhood in that horrible house with that father of his.  I can’t help but feel hopeful that Ennis, physically an adult but in many ways a child, could find the strength to carry on knowing he was so loved by Jack.  IMHO
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: SYC on March 23, 2006, 10:58:16 PM
While watching this scene...I realized that it is analogous to the mood and ritual of a funeral.

It ocurrred to me that essentially, the trip to Jack's parents is that ritual, and Jack's mother is presiding as the priest, or celebrant. Other elements of a funeral are the "visitation" to Jack's bedroom which has the mood of a wake.

The shirts I compare to the US flag that surviving spouses are handed to by the presiding military personnel. Here, although not a military battle, Ennis and Jack have been through a very different type of struggle, and to me, just like a flag, Jack's mother is handing those shirts to Ennis as a symbol of that struggle.


That is a very, very accurate reading of that scene, IMO.

There was something going around my head with the methodic and deliberate nature of the scene, and you just pointed out exactly what that was.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Eniese on March 24, 2006, 01:43:26 AM
Regarding the shirts, the mother absolutely knew they were there and knew never to touch or move them.  They were theirs – together -- Jack’s and Ennis’.  She knew Ennis would come by when he learned that Jack died, since he wanted his ashes spread on BBM.  When Ennis arrived, as she knew he would one day, she wanted to make sure he got them.  This is what her son would want.  (And only Ennis would know the meaning behind the shirts).  When Ennis retrieved the shirts from the room, the father knew what they were and would never have taken those shirts away from Ennis (although Ennis did not know this, as he moved through the room, turning them away from the father).  The father had lost his son…but knew Ennis had lost his lover.  They both lost someone because neither would commit to him.  His feeling were, ‘Ennis, you get the shirts intertwined together.  That is your guilt, but I get the ashes, to remind me of my guilt.

OMG.. Of course she must have known that the shirts where there! How could I´ve missed that! It´s so obvious! The parents knew that Jack loved a man from what he used to tell them about breaking up with his wife and moving to their ranch with Ennis, so when Ennis arrived they knew everything about him.
But I never thought of the point that a mother, an old ranch woman must be conscious about every single detail in her house- so, for sure, she knew about the two shirts and that they were somehow special or even sacred to Jack. Maybe she didn´t know exactly why they were there during all those years but then realized it the day Ennis arrived to pick them up. She must have known how much her son had been in love with Ennis. The way she treated him, the loving way she acted towards him when he visited leaves no doubt. Plus, a mother always knows more about her son than he wants her to know.

I also thought- maybe Jack even told his mother about Ennis and about the way he felt. He surely didn´t tell his father, but maybe he spoke to her in a quiet hour. Who knows..   (sorry for my English)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Eniese on March 24, 2006, 02:00:30 AM
I think Jack's father told Ennis about Jack's plan. Jack used to mention about Ennis everytime he came to his parent house. So they knew how special Ennis to Jack. At some point, IMHO Jack's parent would expect a visit from Jack's best 'friend'.


Ok! I really want to get this point now!

Going back to the shirts: His mother knew they were there. She must have known that the two shirts were put this way by her son, so it must have been obvious for her that they weren´t "best friends".

When Ennis came to visit, Jacks dad also seemed to know that he was sitting next to his sons "lover" and not next to his "best friend". The way he acted just made that clear. I think that he- as a father- knew Jack perfectly well and couldn´t deny his sons sexual orientation. There are two kinds of characters: The ones who deny the truth and prefer to live with comforting lies- and the ones who can´t deny reality because they are two sensitive. I think Jacks dad was from the second kind because I´m sure that he and Jake were pretty alike. As it says in the short story that Ennis coulnd´t sense much of Jack in neither one of them I think that he was wrong in that point. I think Jacks parents were as sensitive as Jack was- both of them in their own way- and thats the reason I think Jacks father knew exactly what was going on.

So, I think neither of them expected Jacks "best friend" when Ennis arrived.
I think back in those days it wasn´t very common that a man came by and took a piece of clothes from his passed away best friend even when he was very very sad. Man were much to cool and too strong to do something like that. At least I think so.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: aperture on March 24, 2006, 03:36:47 AM
I think Jack's father told Ennis about Jack's plan. Jack used to mention about Ennis everytime he came to his parent house. So they knew how special Ennis to Jack. At some point, IMHO Jack's parent would expect a visit from Jack's best 'friend'.


Ok! I really want to get this point now!

Going back to the shirts: His mother knew they were there. She must have known that the two shirts were put this way by her son, so it must have been obvious for her that they weren´t "best friends".

When Ennis came to visit, Jacks dad also seemed to know that he was sitting next to his sons "lover" and not next to his "best friend". The way he acted just made that clear. I think that he- as a father- knew Jack perfectly well and couldn´t deny his sons sexual orientation. There are two kinds of characters: The ones who deny the truth and prefer to live with comforting lies- and the ones who can´t deny reality because they are two sensitive. I think Jacks dad was from the second kind because I´m sure that he and Jake were pretty alike. As it says in the short story that Ennis coulnd´t sense much of Jack in neither one of them I think that he was wrong in that point. I think Jacks parents were as sensitive as Jack was- both of them in their own way- and thats the reason I think Jacks father knew exactly what was going on.

So, I think neither of them expected Jacks "best friend" when Ennis arrived.
I think back in those days it wasn´t very common that a man came by and took a piece of clothes from his passed away best friend even when he was very very sad. Man were much to cool and too strong to do something like that. At least I think so.

I agree with you...I think they knew about Jack and Ennis relationship...
I just use 'friend' because I think Jack would never mentioned Ennis as lover to his parent.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: strazeme on March 24, 2006, 05:35:55 AM
The shirts in Jack's closet, his mom had to know they were there.  She took good care of his clothes ... think of the jeans crease-ironed (that's from Annie).  And those shirts have been hanging there for about 20 years.  And they're not washed.  And they're hanging oddly, not on separate hangers.  She had to know they were there and somehow realize their meaning.                                                             And on the subject of hangers, I think back to Jack and Ennis's final scene together, after Ennis collapses ... Annie says he's like a wire coat-hanger that's been straightened to open a locked car, then bent back to it's original shape.  And "locked" echoes back to the reunion kiss, where it was like the right key turning the lock tumblers.  Trying to get the full meaning of this ... remembering that Annis always choses her words so carefully.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: All4one on March 24, 2006, 06:13:08 AM
Not replying to any specific post here, but rather to our collective overall impression of the austerity of Jack's bedroom. ( I do recall one person who said it was a nice bedroom ).

I've been imagining that room with Jack in it. Can you picture the desk with some school papers on it, with perhaps a glass of milk ( even some cherry cake? :)  ) that his mom brought up to him while he did his homework?
 I can see him picking up that little cowboy, 'galloping it' across his bed where she sat, soaking in the sunshine of her only boy...
Did he have a little transistor radio in there? ( Would it have had good reception so far from town? )  Even if not, he went to school. He knew some music - did he sometimes burst into song, entertaining her as he entertained Ennis with his crazy rodeo performance?

That room, for many years, was her happy haven in the house.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: bbmbliss on March 24, 2006, 06:16:34 AM
The shirts in Jack's closet, his mom had to know they were there.  She took good care of his clothes ... think of the jeans crease-ironed (that's from Annie).  And those shirts have been hanging there for about 20 years.  And they're not washed.  And they're hanging oddly, not on separate hangers.  She had to know they were there and somehow realize their meaning.                                                             And on the subject of hangers, I think back to Jack and Ennis's final scene together, after Ennis collapses ... Annie says he's like a wire coat-hanger that's been straightened to open a locked car, then bent back to it's original shape.  And "locked" echoes back to the reunion kiss, where it was like the right key turning the lock tumblers.  Trying to get the full meaning of this ... remembering that Annis always choses her words so carefully.

This is a bit OT, but does the 'locked car' refer to the fact that Ennis has opened and therefore 'unlocked' his heart, but for a brief time.  Just like at the reunion where Ennis has his heart on his sleeve - for once.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Eniese on March 24, 2006, 07:40:00 AM
The shirts in Jack's closet, his mom had to know they were there.  She took good care of his clothes ... think of the jeans crease-ironed (that's from Annie).  And those shirts have been hanging there for about 20 years.  And they're not washed. 

His mother didn´t wash those shirts. Thats a very interesting point that I also didn´t think of. This brings me to the conclusion that Jack must have told her not to wash them. He didn´t really hide them, otherwise Ennis wouldn´t have been able to find them so easily. So, Jack must have known that his mother would see them and must have told her to leave them the way they were.

How must the mother have felt. Two shirts hanging inside your sons closet for about 20 years- one inside the other, like "two skins"- and they are both full with dried blood. You don´t know the story behind them (unless Jack told his mother) and after your sons death a man, that you have never seen before, but that your son mentioned quite often, visits you and takes the shirts with him.
It seems to me that she must have known Jacks and Ennis story, because she was not at all surprised when Ennis came downstairs with the shirts and didn´t even say a word about it.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: City Girl on March 24, 2006, 02:26:42 PM
Not replying to any specific post here, but rather to our collective overall impression of the austerity of Jack's bedroom. ( I do recall one person who said it was a nice bedroom ).

I've been imagining that room with Jack in it. Can you picture the desk with some school papers on it, with perhaps a glass of milk ( even some cherry cake? :)  ) that his mom brought up to him while he did his homework?
 I can see him picking up that little cowboy, 'galloping it' across his bed where she sat, soaking in the sunshine of her only boy...
Did he have a little transistor radio in there? ( Would it have had good reception so far from town? )  Even if not, he went to school. He knew some music - did he sometimes burst into song, entertaining her as he entertained Ennis with his crazy rodeo performance?

That room, for many years, was her happy haven in the house.


Oh man!  You had to go and put that picture of Jack's mother watching her sweet little boy and his little wooden cowboy into my head. 

I can't take much more of this.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dixon on March 24, 2006, 02:51:04 PM
 It occurs to me that as Jacks mother knew about the shirts I would think she suggested Ennis go up to Jacks room hoping (knowing?) he would find the shirts. Typically mother-ish thing to do. If you know what I mean. What a great mum. And yes, I'm sure her acceptance of Jack gave Jack the inner strength to be who he was.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Eniese on March 24, 2006, 03:07:59 PM
It occurs to me that as Jacks mother knew about the shirts I would think she suggested Ennis go up to Jacks room hoping (knowing?) he would find the shirts. Typically mother-ish thing to do. If you know what I mean. What a great mum. And yes, I'm sure her acceptance of Jack gave Jack the inner strength to be who he was.

But still, I´m not sure if the two of them talked about his sexual orientation. They saw each other once or twice a year when Jack came home to help out on the ranch, so they must have had a good connection to one another. But on the other side the story says that the parents never ever met Lureen, which seems weird to me.

She probably knew without any words- just because of the fact that Jack used to talk about Ennis a lot and because he must have told her not to wash those shirts. Maybe he hid the shirts somewhere else before he died and the mother put them there so Ennis could find them. But how could she have been sure that Ennis showed up until so many years and that the shirts were actually connected to him and not an earlier event in his life? Maybe Jack started talking about Ennis the winter he came back from Brokeback Mountain and that was when his mother was confronted with the two shirts the first time.
Many questions- anybody has a clue?

Your thought of the mother being the caring, sensitive person that made Jack able to deal with his homosexuality in a better way than Ennis was able to is a very nice one. I think it must have been this way. She gave him the feeling that she loved him no matter what- something only a mother can do. And this gave him the strength to accept who he was.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Dixon on March 24, 2006, 03:59:18 PM
From Eniese; "She probably knew without any words- just because of the fact that Jack used to talk about Ennis a lot and because he must have told her not to wash those shirts. Maybe he hid the shirts somewhere else before he died and the mother put them there so Ennis could find them. But how could she have been sure that Ennis showed up until so many years and that the shirts were actually connected to him and not an earlier event in his life? Maybe Jack started talking about Ennis the winter he came back from Brokeback Mountain and that was when his mother was confronted with the two shirts the first time.
Many questions- anybody has a clue?"

 Well, I think the shirts were probably always kept there (apart from when Jack took them out occasionally? *sigh* at that image). I don't think she would have know for sure that Ennis would turn up but she wanted to keep Jacks room the way it was anyway. It's entirely possible Jacks mother 'knew' about him but they never directly had a conversation about it. I didn't come-out to my folks until I was 24 but when I got to about the age of 19 or 20 my mother suddenly, but subtley, started talking about gay people she knew. Something which had never been discussed in our house before. So we went through a number of years not discussing the thing we both knew. (erm, yes, my head was a bit messed up back then!)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Eniese on March 24, 2006, 04:56:51 PM

Well, I think the shirts were probably always kept there (apart from when Jack took them out occasionally? *sigh* at that image). I don't think she would have know for sure that Ennis would turn up but she wanted to keep Jacks room the way it was anyway. It's entirely possible Jacks mother 'knew' about him but they never directly had a conversation about it. I didn't come-out to my folks until I was 24 but when I got to about the age of 19 or 20 my mother suddenly, but subtley, started talking about gay people she knew. Something which had never been discussed in our house before. So we went through a number of years not discussing the thing we both knew. (erm, yes, my head was a bit messed up back then!)

This makes sense to me, thanks for your post.It´s probably exactly what Annie and Ang Lee were trying to say with that scene.

Just imagining the fact that Ennis would have said: "Jack, I´m ready- lets go to Lightning Flat together and build a cabin there"- do you think Jacks father would have taken it the easy way? I still don´t quite understand if Jack was only a dreamer or if there was a real possibility for the two of them living at Jacks parents ranch together. If he would have showed up there with his "lover" I´m not sure how the environment would have reacted. But somehow Jack must have had a silent commitment with his father, otherwise he wouldn´t have mentioned bringing somebody up there to share a life.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Elevation on March 24, 2006, 05:22:51 PM
For many of us there is a Jack inside us; an Ennis inside us; or both inside us. And many of us are parents of a Jack or Ennis.  After recognizing that the encounter at Jack's parents became clear for me.  When Ennis went to Jack’s parent's house to get the ashes AND finally meet his lover’s parents (another step forward after hitting rock bottom during his breakdown at their last reunion) he knew they were aware of his relationship with Jack and their sexuality.  Although they may never have acknowledged it, they knew.  But at that time, his father could NOT deal with his only son being gay.   When Jack arrived, the mother was resigned to the fact that her son was dead; killed by men with a tire iron; and now was seeing the man her son loved his entire adult life.  Parents always know these things.  Jack’s father also knew about Jack and Ennis’ relationship from the beginning, i.e. stating “I know where BBM is”.  He confirmed to Ennis that he was the only focus in Jack’s life when he stated how his son ranted …Ennis Delmar that…and that he wanted the two of you to move up here to get the ranch in shape.  And then threw the sucker punch about a new guy, the rancher from Texas who was moving up to the ranch.  But quickly added “Like most of Jack’s ideas, they never come to pass.” He knew his son would never and could never leave or ‘quit’ Ennis. Since his guilt and pain was so deep from the years of not accepting his son or committing to his son, he mentioned the other rancher to share the blame of Jack’s death on Ennis for also not accepting or committing to his to his son.  The point he was making in his words and body language was ‘we both made Jack stray and get killed.’  Lashing out at the only person your dead, gay son ever truly loved was the only way he could deal with the situation.  Regarding the shirts, the mother absolutely knew they were there and knew never to touch or move them.  They were theirs – together -- Jack’s and Ennis’.  She knew Ennis would come by when he learned that Jack died, since he wanted his ashes spread on BBM.  When Ennis arrived, as she knew he would one day, she wanted to make sure he got them.  This is what her son would want.  (And only Ennis would know the meaning behind the shirts).  When Ennis retrieved the shirts from the room, the father knew what they were and would never have taken those shirts away from Ennis (although Ennis did not know this, as he moved through the room, turning them away from the father).  The father had lost his son…but knew Ennis had lost his lover.  They both lost someone because neither would commit to him.  His feeling were, ‘Ennis, you get the shirts intertwined together.  That is your guilt, but I get the ashes, to remind me of my guilt.
(my underlining)  Brilliant post.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on March 24, 2006, 05:25:11 PM
For many of us there is a Jack inside us; an Ennis inside us; or both inside us. And many of us are parents of a Jack or Ennis.  After recognizing that the encounter at Jack's parents became clear for me.  When Ennis went to Jack’s parent's house to get the ashes AND finally meet his lover’s parents (another step forward after hitting rock bottom during his breakdown at their last reunion) he knew they were aware of his relationship with Jack and their sexuality.  Although they may never have acknowledged it, they knew.  But at that time, his father could NOT deal with his only son being gay.   When Jack arrived, the mother was resigned to the fact that her son was dead; killed by men with a tire iron; and now was seeing the man her son loved his entire adult life.  Parents always know these things.  Jack’s father also knew about Jack and Ennis’ relationship from the beginning, i.e. stating “I know where BBM is”.  He confirmed to Ennis that he was the only focus in Jack’s life when he stated how his son ranted …Ennis Delmar that…and that he wanted the two of you to move up here to get the ranch in shape.  And then threw the sucker punch about a new guy, the rancher from Texas who was moving up to the ranch.  But quickly added “Like most of Jack’s ideas, they never come to pass.” He knew his son would never and could never leave or ‘quit’ Ennis. Since his guilt and pain was so deep from the years of not accepting his son or committing to his son, he mentioned the other rancher to share the blame of Jack’s death on Ennis for also not accepting or committing to his to his son.  The point he was making in his words and body language was ‘we both made Jack stray and get killed.’  Lashing out at the only person your dead, gay son ever truly loved was the only way he could deal with the situation.  Regarding the shirts, the mother absolutely knew they were there and knew never to touch or move them.  They were theirs – together -- Jack’s and Ennis’.  She knew Ennis would come by when he learned that Jack died, since he wanted his ashes spread on BBM.  When Ennis arrived, as she knew he would one day, she wanted to make sure he got them.  This is what her son would want.  (And only Ennis would know the meaning behind the shirts).  When Ennis retrieved the shirts from the room, the father knew what they were and would never have taken those shirts away from Ennis (although Ennis did not know this, as he moved through the room, turning them away from the father).  The father had lost his son…but knew Ennis had lost his lover.  They both lost someone because neither would commit to him.  His feeling were, ‘Ennis, you get the shirts intertwined together.  That is your guilt, but I get the ashes, to remind me of my guilt.


you give John Twist way too much credit
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Elevation on March 24, 2006, 06:07:35 PM
For many of us there is a Jack inside us; an Ennis inside us; or both inside us. And many of us are parents of a Jack or Ennis.  After recognizing that the encounter at Jack's parents became clear for me.  When Ennis went to Jack’s parent's house to get the ashes AND finally meet his lover’s parents (another step forward after hitting rock bottom during his breakdown at their last reunion) he knew they were aware of his relationship with Jack and their sexuality.  Although they may never have acknowledged it, they knew.  But at that time, his father could NOT deal with his only son being gay.   When Jack arrived, the mother was resigned to the fact that her son was dead; killed by men with a tire iron; and now was seeing the man her son loved his entire adult life.  Parents always know these things.  Jack’s father also knew about Jack and Ennis’ relationship from the beginning, i.e. stating “I know where BBM is”.  He confirmed to Ennis that he was the only focus in Jack’s life when he stated how his son ranted …Ennis Delmar that…and that he wanted the two of you to move up here to get the ranch in shape.  And then threw the sucker punch about a new guy, the rancher from Texas who was moving up to the ranch.  But quickly added “Like most of Jack’s ideas, they never come to pass.” He knew his son would never and could never leave or ‘quit’ Ennis. Since his guilt and pain was so deep from the years of not accepting his son or committing to his son, he mentioned the other rancher to share the blame of Jack’s death on Ennis for also not accepting or committing to his to his son.  The point he was making in his words and body language was ‘we both made Jack stray and get killed.’  Lashing out at the only person your dead, gay son ever truly loved was the only way he could deal with the situation.  Regarding the shirts, the mother absolutely knew they were there and knew never to touch or move them.  They were theirs – together -- Jack’s and Ennis’.  She knew Ennis would come by when he learned that Jack died, since he wanted his ashes spread on BBM.  When Ennis arrived, as she knew he would one day, she wanted to make sure he got them.  This is what her son would want.  (And only Ennis would know the meaning behind the shirts).  When Ennis retrieved the shirts from the room, the father knew what they were and would never have taken those shirts away from Ennis (although Ennis did not know this, as he moved through the room, turning them away from the father).  The father had lost his son…but knew Ennis had lost his lover.  They both lost someone because neither would commit to him.  His feeling were, ‘Ennis, you get the shirts intertwined together.  That is your guilt, but I get the ashes, to remind me of my guilt.

(my underlining)  Brilliant post.
you give John Twist way too much credit


Well, I don't give much for John Twist, but I thought the post was brilliantly expressed.  Ok, he probably wouldn't admit any guilt of his own whatsoever in front of Ennis (or his poor wife), but who knows what thoughts haunt him in the eerie hours. It's very plausible though that he wouldn't mind adding to Ennis grief-and-shame-ridden soul.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: SYC on March 24, 2006, 10:57:37 PM
Quote
Maybe he hid the shirts somewhere else before he died

I was thinking about the possibility of this too.  I mean, do people hang bloody shirts in the closet?  I don't know.  Maybe Jack did.  Or maybe he tucked them away somewhere, where they could not be found and therefore he wouldn't have to explain to anyone not to wash them.  If Jack's mother found them like that after Jack's death, specially put aside, she would have known the significance and at that point why wash them anyway.  I think about myself, what I've done, and there have only been a few items of clothing I've put aside for sentimental reasons, and none of them I chose to hang.  I folded them and tucked them away.  That felt special, and safe. 

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: doggedstrength on March 25, 2006, 03:49:19 AM
For many of us there is a Jack inside us; an Ennis inside us; or both inside us. And many of us are parents of a Jack or Ennis.  After recognizing that the encounter at Jack's parents became clear for me.  When Ennis went to Jack’s parent's house to get the ashes AND finally meet his lover’s parents (another step forward after hitting rock bottom during his breakdown at their last reunion) he knew they were aware of his relationship with Jack and their sexuality.  Although they may never have acknowledged it, they knew.  But at that time, his father could NOT deal with his only son being gay.   When Jack arrived, the mother was resigned to the fact that her son was dead; killed by men with a tire iron; and now was seeing the man her son loved his entire adult life.  Parents always know these things.  Jack’s father also knew about Jack and Ennis’ relationship from the beginning, i.e. stating “I know where BBM is”.  He confirmed to Ennis that he was the only focus in Jack’s life when he stated how his son ranted …Ennis Delmar that…and that he wanted the two of you to move up here to get the ranch in shape.  And then threw the sucker punch about a new guy, the rancher from Texas who was moving up to the ranch.  But quickly added “Like most of Jack’s ideas, they never come to pass.” He knew his son would never and could never leave or ‘quit’ Ennis. Since his guilt and pain was so deep from the years of not accepting his son or committing to his son, he mentioned the other rancher to share the blame of Jack’s death on Ennis for also not accepting or committing to his to his son.  The point he was making in his words and body language was ‘we both made Jack stray and get killed.’  Lashing out at the only person your dead, gay son ever truly loved was the only way he could deal with the situation.  Regarding the shirts, the mother absolutely knew they were there and knew never to touch or move them.  They were theirs – together -- Jack’s and Ennis’.  She knew Ennis would come by when he learned that Jack died, since he wanted his ashes spread on BBM.  When Ennis arrived, as she knew he would one day, she wanted to make sure he got them.  This is what her son would want.  (And only Ennis would know the meaning behind the shirts).  When Ennis retrieved the shirts from the room, the father knew what they were and would never have taken those shirts away from Ennis (although Ennis did not know this, as he moved through the room, turning them away from the father).  The father had lost his son…but knew Ennis had lost his lover.  They both lost someone because neither would commit to him.  His feeling were, ‘Ennis, you get the shirts intertwined together.  That is your guilt, but I get the ashes, to remind me of my guilt.

I have to concur with the general consensus.  This is a brilliant post.  And it's not giving the senior Twist too much credit.  Love and death fuse when these three people meet.  Jack abides with his father as much as with his mother, there's no denying the fact.  John Twist claims his son.  Flesh of his flesh.  It has nothing to do with being a nice guy, which Mr. Twist surely isn't.  But he knew Jack longer than Ennis did, maybe, in his warped way, saw into Jack as deeply as Ennis did (though surely not as kindly).  There's something ancient and powerful about the ritual of claiming one's own -- ferociously -- as Mr. Twist asserts his partriarch's primacy.  Great scene.  Superb post.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Eniese on March 25, 2006, 06:01:46 AM
Quote
Maybe he hid the shirts somewhere else before he died

I was thinking about the possibility of this too.  I mean, do people hang bloody shirts in the closet?  I don't know.  Maybe Jack did.  Or maybe he tucked them away somewhere, where they could not be found and therefore he wouldn't have to explain to anyone not to wash them.  If Jack's mother found them like that after Jack's death, specially put aside, she would have known the significance and at that point why wash them anyway.  I think about myself, what I've done, and there have only been a few items of clothing I've put aside for sentimental reasons, and none of them I chose to hang.  I folded them and tucked them away.  That felt special, and safe. 



Yeah, absolutely. After her son died she could have find them and then she put them somewhere, kind of, like a memory for her. Which mother would wash a bloody shirt after her son had died? Nonone would do that. Maybe she had no idea about Ennis and when he came downstairs with the shirts she thought: Ookay, now I know why Jack hid them.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: iver on March 25, 2006, 06:12:34 AM
Yeah, absolutely. After her son died she could have find them and then she put them somewhere, kind of, like a memory for her. Which mother would wash a bloody shirt after her son had died? Nonone would do that. Maybe she had no idea about Ennis and when he came downstairs with the shirts she thought: Ookay, now I know why Jack hid them.

Tell you what... my mother would have thrown those shirts in the trash the minute she found them - son dead or alive!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: strazeme on March 25, 2006, 07:16:42 AM
The shirts were only semi-hiding.  Remember, they've been there for 20 years, and the last time Jack was there ... he had no idea it would be the last time.  If he'd wanted them to be totally hidden, there probably would have been some hideaway spot where even his mom probably wouldn't have found them.  If we assume his mom knew the shirts were there, somehow knew their significance, wanted Ennis to find them, she might have moved them up-front, where they couldn't have been overlooked.  It's like she was counting on Ennis to look closely, to dig deeply.                                                                                                                               She had to be expecting Ennis (she baked cherry cake especially for him) and even though she politely offered the bedroom (you're welcome .. if you want), she clearly was "ordering" him to go up there.  And when he returned with the shirts, she got the bag without hesitation, as if she expected Ennis to take them.  And they weren't just dropped in the bag, they were reverantly, lovingly placed inside.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: stacp on March 25, 2006, 07:41:40 AM
Something about that brown paper bag has been bugging me.  Why did Jack's mom feel it necessary to put the shirts in the bag?  Jack's mom saw Ennis bring them down, as well as Jack's dad, who looks right at Ennis as he passes by the table, shirts in hand.  It's almost as if there's still some sort of stigma of shame attached to the shirts and J & E's relationship.  Maybe it's symbolic of she and Ennis are still trying to hide the relationship, or keeping it under wraps.  Or maybe she just was being polite and was trying to protect the shirts on Ennis' ride home.  If I dissect this movie any more, I will apply for a degree in Brokebackology from Del Mar University  ;).
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Eniese on March 25, 2006, 09:55:36 AM
Something about that brown paper bag has been bugging me.  Why did Jack's mom feel it necessary to put the shirts in the bag?  Jack's mom saw Ennis bring them down, as well as Jack's dad, who looks right at Ennis as he passes by the table, shirts in hand.  It's almost as if there's still some sort of stigma of shame attached to the shirts and J & E's relationship.  Maybe it's symbolic of she and Ennis are still trying to hide the relationship, or keeping it under wraps.  Or maybe she just was being polite and was trying to protect the shirts on Ennis' ride home.  If I dissect this movie any more, I will apply for a degree in Brokebackology from Del Mar Universtiy  ;).

I think she was just being polite and there´s nothing else behind that brown paper bag. Its a very sentimental moment in the movie because she lets go of something her loved son owned and with giving the shirt away she accepts that there were other people in Jacks life who loved him just the way she did. Maybe thats comforting for her in some way too.

Oh man, we would all pass the big BBM test, thats for sure!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: iver on March 25, 2006, 11:49:42 AM
I think she was just being polite and there´s nothing else behind that brown paper bag. Its a very sentimental moment in the movie because she lets go of something her loved son owned and with giving the shirt away she accepts that there were other people in Jacks life who loved him just the way she did. Maybe thats comforting for her in some way too.

I agree with you here, Eniese, but I would like it a step further: She knew everything about her son and Ennis and the significance of the shirts. Her putting the shirts in a paper bag could be seen as an act of love for the man who loved her son. I think the expression in her eyes tells us all we need to know.

Iver
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: SYC on March 25, 2006, 11:51:00 AM
Quote
Yeah, absolutely. After her son died she could have find them and then she put them somewhere, kind of, like a memory for her. Which mother would wash a bloody shirt after her son had died? Nonone would do that. Maybe she had no idea about Ennis and when he came downstairs with the shirts she thought: Ookay, now I know why Jack hid them.

Yes, I think so.  I don't believe she knew who exactly who would be showing up, friend, or best friend, or more than a friend, or soulmate.  They tip-toed around each other.  When Ennis said he couldn't eat, that told her a lot.  She sent him upstairs because she knew at that point Ennis cared for Jack deeply.  When he came down with those shirts, humbly, lovingly holding them, taking small steps,....she nodded.  She knew then that the glass slipper fit so to speak, and this was the man in Jack's life, the real man he loved, and shared things with no one else could understand.  She quickly produced a bag for Ennis and helped him slip her son's things inside, silently giving her approval and understanding. 

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: cms on March 25, 2006, 12:01:44 PM
I think she was just being polite and there´s nothing else behind that brown paper bag. Its a very sentimental moment in the movie because she lets go of something her loved son owned and with giving the shirt away she accepts that there were other people in Jacks life who loved him just the way she did. Maybe thats comforting for her in some way too.

I agree with you here, Eniese, but I would like it a step further: She knew everything about her son and Ennis and the significance of the shirts. Her putting the shirts in a paper bag could be seen as an act of love for the man who loved her son. I think the expression in her eyes tells us all we need to know.
Iver

I agree that the bag was a sign of understanding and approval too.  But also a story device - when you first see Ennis in the movie, he has a brown paper bag for a suitcase (presumably with all his material possessions) and at the end of the movie he has a brown paper bag with the only thing that's ever mattered in his life.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Eniese on March 25, 2006, 12:19:54 PM
I think she was just being polite and there´s nothing else behind that brown paper bag. Its a very sentimental moment in the movie because she lets go of something her loved son owned and with giving the shirt away she accepts that there were other people in Jacks life who loved him just the way she did. Maybe thats comforting for her in some way too.

I agree with you here, Eniese, but I would like it a step further: She knew everything about her son and Ennis and the significance of the shirts. Her putting the shirts in a paper bag could be seen as an act of love for the man who loved her son. I think the expression in her eyes tells us all we need to know.
Iver



I´m not convinced that she knew everything about Ennis, but I´m sure she knew it the moment she saw him- and in the situation that she gave him the paper bag I saw the exact same expression that you were talking about in her eyes. In this moment everything was clear for her. I think thats why she wants Ennis to come by again, because he was kind of a piece of her lost son and he knew stories about Jack that she´d never heard of, so in some way, Ennis must have been a mystery to her and she loved him right away for the fact that he had obviously loved and honored her son.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: stacp on March 25, 2006, 12:26:57 PM
I think she was just being polite and there´s nothing else behind that brown paper bag. Its a very sentimental moment in the movie because she lets go of something her loved son owned and with giving the shirt away she accepts that there were other people in Jacks life who loved him just the way she did. Maybe thats comforting for her in some way too.

I agree with you here, Eniese, but I would like it a step further: She knew everything about her son and Ennis and the significance of the shirts. Her putting the shirts in a paper bag could be seen as an act of love for the man who loved her son. I think the expression in her eyes tells us all we need to know.
Iver

I agree that the bag was a sign of understanding and approval too.  But also a story device - when you first see Ennis in the movie, he has a brown paper bag for a suitcase (presumably with all his material possessions) and at the end of the movie he has a brown paper bag with the only thing that's ever mattered in his life.

CMS, I love this perception about the significance of the brown paper bags in Ennis' life. Thanks to all for your awesome input!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: patroclus on March 25, 2006, 02:40:21 PM
  When he came down with those shirts, humbly, lovingly holding them, taking small steps,....she nodded.  She knew then that the glass slipper fit so to speak, and this was the man in Jack's life, the real man he loved, and shared things with no one else could understand.  She quickly produced a bag for Ennis and helped him slip her son's things inside, silently giving her approval and understanding. 



lovely, expressive post, SYC, particularly sweet, resonant analogy with that Cinderella image
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: JHL11 on March 25, 2006, 03:11:03 PM
Damn. You people are too much. I wish I knew how to quit you.

The glass slipper analogy has me floored.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Lizandre on March 25, 2006, 03:56:27 PM
The brown bag is also a question of symmetry. Ennis arrives at Signal in 1963, coming from the right of the screen in the truck, carrying all his possessions in a brown bag.

He leaves the story (well, almost), coming from the left of the screen in his car, carrying his most precious possession in a similar brown bag.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: bbmbliss on March 25, 2006, 05:05:24 PM
Quote
Maybe he hid the shirts somewhere else before he died

It says in the short story that the shirts were stiff from hanging from a nail for twenty years, so I reckon they must have been there all along.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: michelle on March 25, 2006, 05:19:21 PM
I missed it the first time but when someone said Ennis opened the window to let Jacks' spirit free, next time I watched the scene very carefully. It's all there. Ennis opens the window and sits down. Just then, he turns to look at the closet. Something was prodding him to look. Jack wanted to make sure he found the shirts. He was there with Ennis, patting him on the back, pointing, whispering in his ear to go look in the closet.

That was my take on that scene as well, and a very personal one.  When my Dad passed on (1997), it was more than 1,000 miles away, and my mom and sister had called early that morning to let me know that he was failing.  At 8:40 a.m. I went upstairs for some mundane reason, happened to glance out the window and suddenly knew with no doubt at all that my dad had just passed on.  No ghostly experience or anything, I just knew he'd stopped by for one last "I love you."

I asked my sister later and sure enough, with an adjustment for time zones that was the time of his death, within a minute or so.  It happens.

MargeInnavera, your post gave me chills. 31 years ago, I lost a child, a two-year old daughter, who drowned in the family pool while her father was out mowing the lawn and  I and her brothers were fixing breakfast. We tried to revive her, called the police, took her to the hospital where they managed to get her heart beating and put her on a respirator. I collpased and later was given valium to sleep through the night, but the next morning I suddenly woke up, sat bold upright in bed and looked at the clock. It was 8 am. A few minutes later, when I called the hospital, I was informed that my daughter had died. Her heart had stopped beating at precisely 8 am.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: peteinportland on March 26, 2006, 12:22:13 AM
As many of you know, I've taken on an expanded role here at davecullen.com as the Projects Director. This means a major investment of my time, and as a result, I do not have the time to dedicate to being an involved Moderator on these very busy Scenes threads.

At this start of this Board, I badgered Melisande, our Chief Mod, to start these scenes threads. I have been here since day one, and have read every single post that has been posted to these twenty threads. I have enjoyed my time here more than anyone will ever know. I will continue to visit and to post; however, I'm not sure I will be able to read every single post like before nor visit here on a daily basis.

Thanks so much to all of you for your continued insights and your willingness to share your passion for this great art called BBM. I have learned so much from all of you. I am excited that one of my favorite fellow mods, Despardum, will be taking over here as Moderator. Some of you know him from the New York movie night and others from his graceful modding in awards. I feel very good putting "my baby" in his hands. Please make Des feel welcome, and don't scare him too much in his first few days.

So, happy posting to you all.  Stop by the campaign threads and volunteer for something fun or just to post your thoughts. I will see ya all around!

Pete
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: City Girl on March 26, 2006, 01:33:56 AM
I missed it the first time but when someone said Ennis opened the window to let Jacks' spirit free, next time I watched the scene very carefully. It's all there. Ennis opens the window and sits down. Just then, he turns to look at the closet. Something was prodding him to look. Jack wanted to make sure he found the shirts. He was there with Ennis, patting him on the back, pointing, whispering in his ear to go look in the closet.

That was my take on that scene as well, and a very personal one.  When my Dad passed on (1997), it was more than 1,000 miles away, and my mom and sister had called early that morning to let me know that he was failing.  At 8:40 a.m. I went upstairs for some mundane reason, happened to glance out the window and suddenly knew with no doubt at all that my dad had just passed on.  No ghostly experience or anything, I just knew he'd stopped by for one last "I love you."

I asked my sister later and sure enough, with an adjustment for time zones that was the time of his death, within a minute or so.  It happens.

MargeInnavera, your post gave me chills. 31 years ago, I lost a child, a two-year old daughter, who drowned in the family pool while her father was out mowing the lawn and  I and her brothers were fixing breakfast. We tried to revive her, called the police, took her to the hospital where they managed to get her heart beating and put her on a respirator. I collpased and later was given valium to sleep through the night, but the next morning I suddenly woke up, sat bold upright in bed and looked at the clock. It was 8 am. A few minutes later, when I called the hospital, I was informed that my daughter had died. Her heart had stopped beating at precisely 8 am.

Michelle, Marge,
I am at a complete loss for words.  There is nothing I can say that could mitigate either of your losses or bring any kind of comfort.  I just wanted to say how very sorry for you both your losses.
Grace
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: All4one on March 26, 2006, 03:27:08 AM
SYC, I want to add another word of praise for the superb 'glass slipper' connection.  Breath-taking...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Cameron816 on March 26, 2006, 06:16:12 AM
God, I want Jack's mom to adopt me....she understands my pain and as well as I understand her pain.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: strazeme on March 26, 2006, 06:26:43 AM
Jack's mom sent Ennis up to his room to find the shirts.  Anyone else would have looked quickly at this threadbare room, and left just as quickly.  Anyone else would see these old, unwashed shirts as worthless, but only Ennis could see them as priceless.  And when he came back downstairs, with the shirts reverantly folded, he carried them as if they were a treasure.  And to Jack's mom, it immediately confirmed that Ennis was "the one", the only one worthy of this precious piece of Jack, that he was meant to take them.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Elevation on March 26, 2006, 11:01:24 AM
I missed it the first time but when someone said Ennis opened the window to let Jacks' spirit free, next time I watched the scene very carefully. It's all there. Ennis opens the window and sits down. Just then, he turns to look at the closet. Something was prodding him to look. Jack wanted to make sure he found the shirts. He was there with Ennis, patting him on the back, pointing, whispering in his ear to go look in the closet.

That was my take on that scene as well, and a very personal one.  When my Dad passed on (1997), it was more than 1,000 miles away, and my mom and sister had called early that morning to let me know that he was failing.  At 8:40 a.m. I went upstairs for some mundane reason, happened to glance out the window and suddenly knew with no doubt at all that my dad had just passed on.  No ghostly experience or anything, I just knew he'd stopped by for one last "I love you."

I asked my sister later and sure enough, with an adjustment for time zones that was the time of his death, within a minute or so.  It happens.

MargeInnavera, your post gave me chills. 31 years ago, I lost a child, a two-year old daughter, who drowned in the family pool while her father was out mowing the lawn and  I and her brothers were fixing breakfast. We tried to revive her, called the police, took her to the hospital where they managed to get her heart beating and put her on a respirator. I collpased and later was given valium to sleep through the night, but the next morning I suddenly woke up, sat bold upright in bed and looked at the clock. It was 8 am. A few minutes later, when I called the hospital, I was informed that my daughter had died. Her heart had stopped beating at precisely 8 am.

Michelle, Marge,
I am at a complete loss for words.  There is nothing I can say that could mitigate either of your losses or bring any kind of comfort.  I just wanted to say how very sorry for you both your losses.
Grace

Thankyou all for very moving posts. I also had similar un-explainable premonition the night before my dad passed.

I can't believe I didn't think of this regarding Ennis suddenly looking into the closet... all of this also sets the following "I swear" comment in another, even deeper perspective than previously.   

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: SYC on March 26, 2006, 12:36:12 PM

Thanks Patroclus, and others.  I feel like that was the most powerfully written scene in the film.  The actors did a perfect jobl.  We've analyzed it to death but when I read the posts you guys put up every day, I see fresh eyes and hearts seeing things I don't.  I've got to see this movie again.

This website reminds me a little like the time I spent on the Xena: Warrior Princess sites, talking about all the little meanings, the heartbreaking scenes, the soulmates, the incredible depth of love, and the death.  It was really something back then.


Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: IMJackNasty on March 26, 2006, 03:31:39 PM
Something about that brown paper bag has been bugging me.  Why did Jack's mom feel it necessary to put the shirts in the bag?  Jack's mom saw Ennis bring them down, as well as Jack's dad, who looks right at Ennis as he passes by the table, shirts in hand.  It's almost as if there's still some sort of stigma of shame attached to the shirts and J & E's relationship.  Maybe it's symbolic of she and Ennis are still trying to hide the relationship, or keeping it under wraps.  Or maybe she just was being polite and was trying to protect the shirts on Ennis' ride home.  If I dissect this movie any more, I will apply for a degree in Brokebackology from Del Mar Universtiy  ;).

I think she was just being polite and there´s nothing else behind that brown paper bag. Its a very sentimental moment in the movie because she lets go of something her loved son owned and with giving the shirt away she accepts that there were other people in Jacks life who loved him just the way she did. Maybe thats comforting for her in some way too.

Oh man, we would all pass the big BBM test, thats for sure!

She wanted to have Ennis take that part of her son home with him and the bag is for safe keeping for the trip IMO.

Right as Ennis was leaving...Jack's father reiterates that his ashes are remaining as if to say.....you got a part of Jack with those shirts and we want to keep him as well.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Willhoite on March 26, 2006, 03:54:51 PM
Quote
Maybe he hid the shirts somewhere else before he died

I was thinking about the possibility of this too.  I mean, do people hang bloody shirts in the closet?  I don't know.  Maybe Jack did.  Or maybe he tucked them away somewhere, where they could not be found and therefore he wouldn't have to explain to anyone not to wash them.  If Jack's mother found them like that after Jack's death, specially put aside, she would have known the significance and at that point why wash them anyway.  I think about myself, what I've done, and there have only been a few items of clothing I've put aside for sentimental reasons, and none of them I chose to hang.  I folded them and tucked them away.  That felt special, and safe. 



I realize that this discussion is on the movie scene; but, I get the impression that the shirts are NOT on a hanger when Ennis finds them according to what I read in Annie Proulx's narrative.

Quote
At the north end of the closet a tiny jog in the wall made a slight hiding place and here, stiff with long suspension from a nail, hung a shirt. He lifted it off the nail. Jack's old shirt from Brokeback days. The dried blood on the sleeve was his own blood, a gushing nosebleed on the last afternoon on the mountain when Jack, in their contortionistic grappling and wrestling, had slammed Ennis's nose hard with his knee. He had staunched the blood which was everywhere, all over both of them, with his shirtsleeve, but the staunching hadn't held because Ennis had suddenly swung from the deck and laid the ministering angel out in the wild columbine, wings folded.
 
The shirt seemed heavy until he saw there was another shirt inside it, the sleeves carefully worked down inside Jack's sleeves. It was his own plaid shirt, lost, he'd thought, long ago in some damn laundry, his dirty shirt, the pocket ripped, buttons missing, stolen by Jack and hidden here inside Jack's own shirt, the pair like two skins, one inside the other, two in one. He pressed his face into the fabric and breathed in slowly through his mouth and nose, hoping for the faintest smoke and mountain sage and salty sweet stink of Jack but there was no real scent, only the memory of it, the imagined power of Brokeback Mountain of which nothing was left but what he held in his hands.


I really don't think that Mrs. John C. Twist, Jack's mother, even knew that the shirts were hanging up there. I think that while she might have kept the room dusted and basically clean, I think that as far as what was in the closet was concerned, Jack himself hung the stuff there after it was laundered. The book only has  two pairs of ironed-creased jeans on hangers in the closet with some boots on the floor.

In the book, the shirts don't seem to be on a hanger, but are hanging from a nail.

I also find that guys who are gay who spend time helping out their fathers also help their mothers, too. And, while Jack might not have helped with the laundry, he might have put the clothes in the closet. I think that Jack kept the shirts hidden because Ennis had also kept his love for Jack hidden from the rest of the world.

When Ennis hangs the shirt on his trailer wall, he has put them on a hanger which he suspends from a nail that he drove there under the postcard.

I think that unlike the movie, Ennis "outs" his relationship with Jack by putting the shirts on the wall of the trailer and not in a closet.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: JHL11 on March 26, 2006, 04:19:16 PM
"I think that unlike the movie, Ennis "outs" his relationship with Jack by putting the shirts on the wall of the trailer and not in a closet. "

Whoa, I totally agree with you. In fact, the more I ponder it, the more stark the distinctions are betweeen the film and the story.
 
 
 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Eniese on March 26, 2006, 04:33:39 PM
Jack's mom sent Ennis up to his room to find the shirts.  Anyone else would have looked quickly at this threadbare room, and left just as quickly.  Anyone else would see these old, unwashed shirts as worthless, but only Ennis could see them as priceless.  And when he came back downstairs, with the shirts reverantly folded, he carried them as if they were a treasure.  And to Jack's mom, it immediately confirmed that Ennis was "the one", the only one worthy of this precious piece of Jack, that he was meant to take them.


Your post really touched me. The thought of "worthless old shirts" who are precious for only the two people in the world who know their story.. its heartbreaking. Also, imagining Ennis sitting their, knowing that a part of him was lost forever and that he would never discover what happened in that little room during the years before he got to know Jack when he was 19. Jack was the only one who would have been able to tell him those stories but he had left the room forever. I almost start to cry at this thought...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Poohbunn on March 26, 2006, 06:03:37 PM
I really believe that Jack told his mother the truth.  Surely it was clear she loved her son, and probably tried her best to protect him from his father's angry attitude. It seemed to me that the look in her eyes said that she expected Ennis to come downstairs with the shirts.  She had to know.  She had to have seen the shirts and would have known that Ennis' shirt was not one of Jacks.   

After that last meeting between Jack and Ennis, he said he was going up to see his parents for a few days.  His mother must have seen the frustration and hurt in his eyes.  He has eyes that cannot lie.

I love Jack's mom. She seems like a warm, kind woman.
-- Pooh
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: sotoalf on March 26, 2006, 06:11:09 PM
There's scant evidence in the film that Mrs. Twist knew. Rather, when she nods, with that thin warm smile, it's an acknowledgement that Ennis is taking something that belongs to the boy they both loved.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Kragey on March 26, 2006, 08:01:03 PM
In the movie, Jack's father mentions how Jack wanted to build a cabin with another rancher who planned on leaving his wife. Am I completely wrong in assuming said rancher is Randall Malone? And, on a side note, that Jack was never really chasing a rancher's wife, but the rancher himself? I know Randall was a rancher, and he left a lot of implications in that scene where he tells Jack about that cabin he wants them to go to.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: SYC on March 26, 2006, 10:04:43 PM
Quote
At the north end of the closet a tiny jog in the wall made a slight hiding place

I think these quotes from the book you guys have been posting answers a LOT of what we've been discussing.  That particular one answered my question, at least.

In the movie, Jack's father mentions how Jack wanted to build a cabin with another rancher......Am I completely wrong in assuming said rancher is Randall Malone?......

Maybe the book can help us out with this issue too.  But from seeing the movie, I never felt the intention of the writers was to identify a specific man, but just to underline the humanity of Jack.  He was a loving person, full of life, and he was desperate to live a normal decent life as a gay man.  That's what the father's reference was, I believe....a brief allusion to the (unfufillable) dreams of Jack, which would never to come to pass.  I also believe that Jack's death did not interrupt this plan to bring a lover to his father's ranch, --Jack's love for Ennis did.  That is what prevented it.  And that was one of the most tragic aspects of this film.  Those gay-bashing mechanics had power over Jack in death, but it was Ennis who held the key to Jack's life. 

By the end of the movie, one can see that Jack is meant to represent our hopes and dreams, our sexual vibrancy and willingness to love, our right to self-determination, our refusal to surrender.  Ennis represents our fears, our regrets, our lost loves, our frustration with our own identity, our confusion with the world, our surrendering.  This scene, like all the others in the movie, reflect this.  Jack and Ennis are opposites, like the sun and moon.  Or perhaps more accurately, compliments to one another.

How can we NOT see ourselves in them, given that to be the case?  Good movies tell a story.  Great movies speak directly to the audience and tell THEIR story. 



Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: dan_senti on March 27, 2006, 05:39:01 AM
At the end of this scene, Jack's mother said to Ennis: you'll come back to see us? Ennis said nothing but he nodded. So do you think he will go back to see them and see the house?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Kragey on March 27, 2006, 05:59:36 AM
At the end of this scene, Jack's mother said to Ennis: you'll come back to see us? Ennis said nothing but he nodded. So do you think he will go back to see them and see the house?

I don't think so. In my opinion, it felt more like she was saying to him, "I understand."
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Gonzo on March 27, 2006, 09:50:38 AM
This is from the book and didn't make it to the movie.  When Ennis is in Jack's bedroom, AP describes the room and writes "An ancient magazine photograph of some dark-haired movie star was taped to the wall beside the bed, the skin tone gone magenta."  When I read this I was struck that it didn't say starlet or actress or something indicating the photo was of a female.  Was it?  Was it a male movie star?  What does this have to say about Jack.  Ambiguous sexual identification or maybe nothing.  Let me know what you think.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Marge_Innavera on March 27, 2006, 10:22:38 PM
Michelle, Marge,
I am at a complete loss for words.  There is nothing I can say that could mitigate either of your losses or bring any kind of comfort.  I just wanted to say how very sorry for you both your losses.

[HUGS] Thank you!

It is quite a bit easier to come to terms with a parent's death than with a child's, though; the former at least seems to be more in the natural order of things. In the experience I had, it was very comforting - like the person who was my father was not in that funeral urn, or in the churchyard where it was buried. I'd like to think of Ennis having the same perception of Jack being so close by as well.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: peteinportland on March 27, 2006, 10:28:06 PM
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Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: SYC on March 27, 2006, 11:48:54 PM
...When Ennis is in Jack's bedroom, AP describes the room and writes "An ancient magazine photograph of some dark-haired movie star was taped to the wall beside the bed, the skin tone gone magenta."  When I read this I was struck that it didn't say..[female].  Was it?  Was it a male movie star?  What does this have to say about Jack. 

I'm not sure I follow you.  What made you think the picture was of an actress?  I think the absence of customary phrasing like "dark haired beauty," "dark haired starlet," "diva" "actress" "sex symbol" (although that one could be male), or "brunette" or "raven-haired" as opposed to dark-haired,.....all these things make me think male.  AP seems to be indulging in the genderless descriptions that we gays are all too familiar with from our own vernacular.  (Extra pickles, light on the pronouns please)

Anyway, I don't think it matters.  If it was a very old picture, from his youth, it could have been either one and not effect his gayness at all.  I had pictures of Leif Erickson in my bedroom and I still turned out to be a lesbian.



Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on March 27, 2006, 11:51:28 PM
...When Ennis is in Jack's bedroom, AP describes the room and writes "An ancient magazine photograph of some dark-haired movie star was taped to the wall beside the bed, the skin tone gone magenta."  When I read this I was struck that it didn't say..[female].  Was it?  Was it a male movie star?  What does this have to say about Jack. 

I think Anne wanted the 'movie star' to be unspecified in its sex.
It just adds to the ambiguity of Jacks character.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Marge_Innavera on March 28, 2006, 08:21:59 AM
By the end of the movie, one can see that Jack is meant to represent our hopes and dreams, our sexual vibrancy and willingness to love, our right to self-determination, our refusal to surrender.  Ennis represents our fears, our regrets, our lost loves, our frustration with our own identity, our confusion with the world, our surrendering.  This scene, like all the others in the movie, reflect this.  Jack and Ennis are opposites, like the sun and moon.  Or perhaps more accurately, compliments to one another.

How can we NOT see ourselves in them, given that to be the case?

Yep, that's how powerful archetypes are!  That's why, from my perspective, I can see both Ennis and Jack in myself, even though I'm a hetero female of a different generation and totally different social background.

In The Cry For Myth, Rollo May remarked that "Myths are archetypal patterns in human consciousness."
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Gonzo on March 28, 2006, 08:48:39 AM
...When Ennis is in Jack's bedroom, AP describes the room and writes "An ancient magazine photograph of some dark-haired movie star was taped to the wall beside the bed, the skin tone gone magenta."  When I read this I was struck that it didn't say..[female].  Was it?  Was it a male movie star?  What does this have to say about Jack. 

I'm not sure I follow you.  What made you think the picture was of an actress?  I think the absence of customary phrasing like "dark haired beauty," "dark haired starlet," "diva" "actress" "sex symbol" (although that one could be male), or "brunette" or "raven-haired" as opposed to dark-haired,.....all these things make me think male.  AP seems to be indulging in the genderless descriptions that we gays are all too familiar with from our own vernacular.  (Extra pickles, light on the pronouns please)

Anyway, I don't think it matters.  If it was a very old picture, from his youth, it could have been either one and not effect his gayness at all.  I had pictures of Leif Erickson in my bedroom and I still turned out to be a lesbian.


It was a very old pic from child hood because the colors had turned.  Not a major point to make.  I just wondered, bacause I too assumed male at first but upon rereading it I realized it didn't say anything gender specific.  Then I started to think what the significance would be for either gender.  If it had been male it might be a "clue" that Jack was in fact queer from childhood.  Although, a straight boy could still have pics of role model males.   If it had been female, does this mean Jack was destined to be a drag queen. LOL  Silliness, complete silliness.  I stake nothing on the outcome of this discussion.   :-* :-*
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: SYC on March 28, 2006, 09:30:24 AM
Quote
If it had been male it might be a "clue" that Jack was in fact queer from childhood.  Although, a straight boy could still have pics of role model males.   If it had been female, does this mean Jack was destined to be a drag queen. LOL  Silliness, complete silliness.  I stake nothing on the outcome of this discussion.   

LOL!  You tell ME, you tell me.

Anyway there's nothing wrong with silliness.

 :D
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: SYC on March 28, 2006, 09:48:08 AM
Quote
Yep, that's how powerful archetypes are!  That's why, from my perspective, I can see both Ennis and Jack in myself, even though I'm a hetero female of a different generation and totally different social background.  In The Cry For Myth, Rollo May remarked that "Myths are archetypal patterns in human consciousness."

Marge, this kind of conversation with myth and archetypes are probably getting off topic in this thread, but I'd like to hear more of it.  Why don't you meet me at the lesbian/bi thread? 

I googled and found this:

The word "archetype" was coined by Carl Jung, who theorized that humans have a collective unconscious,  "deposits of the constantly repeated experiences of humanity.... a kind of readiness to reproduce over and over again the same or similar mythical ideas...." This shared memory of experiences has resulted in a resonance of the concepts of hero and heroine that transcends time, place and culture.  Jung called these recurring personalities archetypes, from the Greek word archetypos, meaning “first of its kind.” 

The website listed some basic archetypes, and I saw Ennis, but not Jack.  Help me understand.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Marge_Innavera on March 28, 2006, 10:16:02 AM
Sure, I just emailed a message about meeting you over there. The subject of archetypes is about inexhaustible - ExampleEssays.com alone turned up over 200 essays.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: dejavu on March 29, 2006, 04:32:47 PM
Ennis' discovery of the shirts also provides a splendid cinematic example of how "less is more."  The conventional directorial approach would interject a momentary flashback to the rough-play on the mountain some 19 years before when the fabric got bloodied or how Jack discreetly swiped Ennis' shirt.   (Gotta remind the audience!)

But Lee creates a rising, uninterrupted line of dramatic tension by avoiding the typical -- instead relying on the viewer to recall, deduce, and then grasp the monumental significance of those shirts.

It's the perfect setup for the even more gut-wrenching final scene where we learn (without explicitly seeing) that Ennis had switched their relative positions on the hanger.

In those scenes, a further masterstroke of symbolism that truly resonates with any gay person: The CLOSET.

I have to wonder how many of those subtleties fly right over the heads of the casual viewer.

Sorry to be responding to such an old post but I'm new to this thread . . . and YES!  As a casual viewer on the first
and second viewings, I completely missed the significance of the shirts.  I thought, where did they come from?  Is
that blood on them because Jack was wearing them when he was killed?  Someone who saw the movie with me
picked up that "Jack stole it off him" (Ennis' shirt) but I still didn't notice how they were reversed until after reading
some reviews that mentioned the shirts.  Also, when Ennis picks up what looks like a shirt in the trailer scene and puts
it on the closet shelf, I thought THAT was Jack's shirt, until seeing the pair of shirts hanging up.  Yes, yes, yes;
many of these subtleties did fly right over my head when I was still just a casual viewer.

That gives us "hooked" people a lot to think about, but it's sad if more movie-goers miss the point on their only
viewing.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on March 29, 2006, 07:58:06 PM
Kragey, yes I believe you are wrong on this point but you'll have to go back and read the thread (and related ones) for a complete explanation. BTW, I guess I had the first post on this one.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: aintnoreins on March 29, 2006, 10:33:24 PM
You know what it actually took me 5 viewings to fully notice? That it's sunny out when Ennis goes to Jack's parents'. In my mind, whenever I read or envision that scene, the sky is always flat grey, sometimes dark, sometimes light. Yet in the film, that's not the case at all. Not a particularly profound mistake to make, but it kind of surprised me that it took me that long to pick up on it. Huh.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: stacp on March 29, 2006, 10:55:08 PM
You know what it actually took me 5 viewings to fully notice? That it's sunny out when Ennis goes to Jack's parents'. In my mind, whenever I read or envision that scene, the sky is always flat grey, sometimes dark, sometimes light. Yet in the film, that's not the case at all. Not a particularly profound mistake to make, but it kind of surprised me that it took me that long to pick up on it. Huh.



Maybe the sun shining down is Jack's light from up above wrapping Ennis in his warmth and brightening the way to help Ennis find the shirts. 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on March 29, 2006, 11:00:50 PM
aintnoreins,  sometimes I'm an author surrogate.  In the book, the room is overheated from the afternoon sun beating in the window looking west.  In film, this is reflected by E opening the window
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: SYC on March 29, 2006, 11:02:03 PM
Maybe it's for contrast.  It was pretty dark INSIDE from what I recall.  I could be wrong though, memory plays tricks on us, as you pointed out.  I was surprised about the sunny day when you posted that, as well.

Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: magicmountain on March 30, 2006, 12:15:08 AM
By the end of the movie, one can see that Jack is meant to represent our hopes and dreams, our sexual vibrancy and willingness to love, our right to self-determination, our refusal to surrender.  Ennis represents our fears, our regrets, our lost loves, our frustration with our own identity, our confusion with the world, our surrendering.  This scene, like all the others in the movie, reflect this.  Jack and Ennis are opposites, like the sun and moon.  Or perhaps more accurately, compliments to one another.

How can we NOT see ourselves in them, given that to be the case?

Yep, that's how powerful archetypes are!  That's why, from my perspective, I can see both Ennis and Jack in myself, even though I'm a hetero female of a different generation and totally different social background.

In The Cry For Myth, Rollo May remarked that "Myths are archetypal patterns in human consciousness."

This is my first visit to this thread and your comments echo some of the things I have been thinking. Thought you might be interested in the following which I posted over at the Impact section.

Maybe characters in BBM also represent elements in our own minds? For example:

•   Ennis/Jack = left brain/right brain, pragmatist/dreamer, twin souls, human/guardian angel   

•   Aguirre = inner accuser that keeps the soulmates away from each other   

•   The two Almas and Lureen = feminine parts   

When the elements inside us come together in harmony – like Jack and Ennis on the mountain – we feel free and joyful. But what happens when they are broken apart and and important aspects of ourselves are allowed to die off - Ennis in Wisconsin or up with the sheep while Jack is in Texas or left waiting by campsite fire?  Do these characters reflect our own attitudes and patterns of rigid thinking and denial?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: PetiteMiel on March 30, 2006, 12:26:11 AM
magicmountain I would take it one further and say that society = inner accuser that keeps the soulmates away from each other.   
 
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: magicmountain on March 30, 2006, 02:10:44 AM
magicmountain I would take it one further and say that society = inner accuser that keeps the soulmates away from each other.   
 

Thanks for the comment PetiteMiel. Yes society aids and abets the inner killjoy and guilt merchant and not only in terms of our sexuality and choice of partner as in BBM. I was thinking that this part of our mind can also stop us from dreaming, risk taking and being creative in all areas of our lives. It keeps our inner Jack from sparking up 'ole inner Ennis on all fronts. That Aguirre lurking inside keeps vigilant watch with binoculars to make sure everybody keeps in line!
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: dejavu on March 30, 2006, 03:05:19 PM
Lynn Allan: In the 60's they still had those little telephone companies in the country with real live operators.  Then they had "party lines" with lots of subscribers listenting in on all the neighbors' conversations.  I don't think Ennis had a phone, except maybe those 9 years he was married to A.

Sure, I knew they existed in rural areas (I remember my grandparents having party lines). I just thought the Twist's level of poverty might have prevented them from being able to afford a phone... you know, money that they were saving for house paint  ;)

OK, now I'm gonna have to see it an 8th time, to look for a telephone line running into the ranch.

You guys sure have thought of every angle on this one!  This was one question I wanted to ask, but I see it's
already been addressed.  From the way Jack's mom comes outside, it sure looks like she was expecting Ennis.
Now, she could have come out to see who an unexpcted stranger was, but I noticed that at no time did he
say, "I'm Ennis Del Mar, an old friend of Jack."  The first person to use Ennis' name was Jack's father.

On the other hand, if he was able to call ahead, it didn't seem that he brought up the question of the ashes
ahead of time.  If he called, he must have said he just wanted to stop by and pay his respects.

I guess.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: moonbeam on March 30, 2006, 04:52:03 PM
How did Ennis and Jack end up so different in some ways? It seems like they came from equally love deprived childhoods? (Jack's mom did what she could).. Ennis ended up emotionally closed off and Jack ended up being someone who gave love freely... you would think that he was as 'damaged' as Ennis... his home is so different from what I think of as 'jack'... I just don't understand.. :-\
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: dejavu on March 30, 2006, 05:09:33 PM
If I dissect this movie any more, I will apply for a degree in Brokebackology from Del Mar University  ;).

Oh, that's good!  Tell me how to apply, too!   ;)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents ( Ennis DID say "I love You")
Post by: VermontJohn on March 30, 2006, 08:01:23 PM
Ok , maybe I am just crazy but after seeing the movie about 15 times, with last night being the most recent, I had noticed  something I had not noticed before. I might be just wishing but I am now very sure of it. When Ennis was in the closet and just as he puts the jacket/shirt up to his face/body, I am SURE that I heard him say "I love you". It was so quietly said that I had missed it before and I did not notice anyone mention this. I wished I could rewind that movie at the theatre last night, dammit :-)

The next time anyone gets to see Brokeback again, please pay close attention to that part...I am sure you will hear it too! Please let me know.

John
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents ( Ennis DID say "I love You")
Post by: downloaded1 on March 30, 2006, 08:04:00 PM
Ok , maybe I am just crazy but after seeing the movie about 15 times, with last night being the most recent, I had noticed  something I had not noticed before. I might be just wishing but I am now very sure of it. When Ennis was in the closet and just as he puts the jacket/shirt up to his face/body, I am SURE that I heard him say "I love you". It was so quietly said that I had missed it before and I did not notice anyone mention this. I wished I could rewind that movie at the theatre last night, dammit :-)

The next time anyone gets to see Brokeback again, please pay close attention to that part...I am sure you will hear it too! Please let me know.

John


Has anyone heard this?
(secretly wishing its true)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents ( Ennis DID say "I love You")
Post by: Gonzo on March 30, 2006, 08:06:02 PM
Ok , maybe I am just crazy but after seeing the movie about 15 times, with last night being the most recent, I had noticed  something I had not noticed before. I might be just wishing but I am now very sure of it. When Ennis was in the closet and just as he puts the jacket/shirt up to his face/body, I am SURE that I heard him say "I love you". It was so quietly said that I had missed it before and I did not notice anyone mention this. I wished I could rewind that movie at the theatre last night, dammit :-)

The next time anyone gets to see Brokeback again, please pay close attention to that part...I am sure you will hear it too! Please let me know.

John

Has anyone heard this?
(secretly wishing its true)

I don't know but we are all going to be watchin'.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents ( Ennis DID say "I love You")
Post by: VermontJohn on March 30, 2006, 08:16:57 PM
I forgot I had this scene on my hard drive and I just watched it (should have done that first) and I didnt hear it. I just replayed it 3 times and had the speaker right up at my ear but did not hear him say I love you.  HOWEVER, many of these scenes were re-done so i may have a cut scene from the original version where it was not in there.

I bet the theatre/final version has the "I Love you" in it. I asbolutely swore I hear Ennis say that when I was at the theatre last night.

Well, I am in luck....last night was supposed to be the last night for Brokeback Mountain in theatres here, howver when I called the theatre early this afternoon they told me that they are holding it over one more week but for only 1 showing each day at 9:00pm or so. I WILL go tomorrow night and I will be all excited wating for that scene so I can hear for sure.

We'll see.




Ok , maybe I am just crazy but after seeing the movie about 15 times, with last night being the most recent, I had noticed  something I had not noticed before. I might be just wishing but I am now very sure of it. When Ennis was in the closet and just as he puts the jacket/shirt up to his face/body, I am SURE that I heard him say "I love you". It was so quietly said that I had missed it before and I did not notice anyone mention this. I wished I could rewind that movie at the theatre last night, dammit :-)

The next time anyone gets to see Brokeback again, please pay close attention to that part...I am sure you will hear it too! Please let me know.

John

Has anyone heard this?
(secretly wishing its true)

I don't know but we are all going to be watchin'.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents ( Ennis DID say "I love You")
Post by: magicmountain on March 31, 2006, 03:13:10 AM
Ok , maybe I am just crazy but after seeing the movie about 15 times, with last night being the most recent, I had noticed  something I had not noticed before. I might be just wishing but I am now very sure of it. When Ennis was in the closet and just as he puts the jacket/shirt up to his face/body, I am SURE that I heard him say "I love you". It was so quietly said that I had missed it before and I did not notice anyone mention this. I wished I could rewind that movie at the theatre last night, dammit :-)

The next time anyone gets to see Brokeback again, please pay close attention to that part...I am sure you will hear it too! Please let me know.

John

Interesting comment. I think have been hearing "I love yous" very quietly spoken in the reunion and FNIT scenes on Youtube. (See my post over at the FNIT thread.)
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents ( Ennis DID say "I love You")
Post by: VermontJohn on April 01, 2006, 01:12:54 AM
Ok , maybe I am just crazy but after seeing the movie about 15 times, with last night being the most recent, I had noticed  something I had not noticed before. I might be just wishing but I am now very sure of it. When Ennis was in the closet and just as he puts the jacket/shirt up to his face/body, I am SURE that I heard him say "I love you". It was so quietly said that I had missed it before and I did not notice anyone mention this. I wished I could rewind that movie at the theatre last night, dammit :-)

The next time anyone gets to see Brokeback again, please pay close attention to that part...I am sure you will hear it too! Please let me know.

John

Interesting comment. I think have been hearing "I love yous" very quietly spoken in the reunion and FNIT scenes on Youtube. (See my post over at the FNIT thread.)
Ok...I went to Brokeback Mountain this past evening at 9:10pm. This is what I found in regards to this scene....

When Ennis has the jacket up to him....and almost immediately at the end of the scene....and a split second before it cuts to Jacks mother in the kitchen...so just as Ennis turns slightly to his right, you can see his mouth move..and I am absolutely sure I heard  the words LOVE YOU. It was very low and i dont think the producers/directors realized how low it was...but its there!!!

I sat right up in my seat and watched and listened very closely. It is there!

I just rewatched my own copy of that scene and somehow I missed it yesterday. I even looked away from the screen and listened. I did hear Ennis say "love you". There is no doubt in my mind.

Please someone check that scene and verify. For some strange reason, I have to know for sure.


Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: silverbear3 on April 02, 2006, 07:40:00 AM
I know a lot of you can understand this - but I am constantly thinking about this movie and thoughts or observations or questions just seem to explode in my brain from time to time and I wonder why it took me so long to get them - but then once I do.. I sort of obsess over what the answers are!

There are so many of us, I know that my questions aren't unique - and so I'm wondering what you think about this question.. When Ennis goes to Jack's parents' house he offers to take Jack's ashes up to Brokeback Mountain and scatter them there the way he'd wanted. I don't know exactly how much time passed from the time Jack died and the visit to his parents - but we do know that the ashes are there and they haven't been buried in the family plot yet. My question is.. "Why didn't his parents bury his ashes yet?"  It's not an issue of the ground being frozen... It's a family plot so there's no issue about having no place to bury his ashes. We don't know what type of container they're in - but it woudn't take a lot of time to dig a hole to put them into. And they wouldn't have to wait for all of the family to get there for a funeral because there is no other family.. So why are his parents holding on to the ashes so long? And where are they?

Could it be that Jack's mother holds the answer? Could it be that she knew that Ennis would come eventually and kept putting off having the ashes buried there until he did? From what we can see in her face and in her eyes - she loved her son very much and - in spite of her fundimentalist religious upbringing - she didn 't turn her back on him. A mother like that will do almost anything for her beloved son... Could it be that she was keeping the ashes safe - so that at some point in time she could arrange a handoff with Ennis?

I know this comment crosses over to another thread - but could it be that Ennis' "Jack, I swear..." might also mean that he swears that he will get Jack back to Brokeback Mountain one way or another - and by that time is working out - or has worked something out - with Jack's mother?

Otherwise.. I don't understand why Jack's ashes haven't been buried in the family plot yet. Or am I just wishful thinking here?
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on April 03, 2006, 12:17:06 AM
because of the altitude etc. the ground may be frozen already.  As we know from Ennis, the matter at hand in running a farm/ranch takes precedence over burying the urn.  They are probably having to wait until spring thaw.   Trees have lost their leaves in the film, it appears to be Nov., the time E had set aside for the hunting trip, when he makes the pilgrimage.


Having seen it close up in the most excellent Landmark Theatre in Chicago, E may think those words to himself but they can't be heard.

Also, in both SNIT and Fi nal Scene together, Jack says "I'm sorry" and "it's all right".  Just for the record, from that excellent sound system.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on April 03, 2006, 12:19:30 AM
Quote
Having seen it close up in the most excellent Landmark Theatre in Chicago, E may think those words to himself but they can't be heard.

Also, in both SNIT and Fi nal Scene together, Jack says "I'm sorry" and "it's all right".  Just for the record, from that excellent sound system.


Is it at The Landmark until Thursday??
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: DaveL on April 03, 2006, 12:23:04 AM
Yes I believe, moved to Theatre #6, where the screen is still larger than most, and sound excellent, though turned down because of the smaller house.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents ( Ennis DID say "I love You")
Post by: Sun on April 03, 2006, 12:28:48 AM
Please someone check that scene and verify. For some strange reason, I have to know for sure.

been there done that..still am  :'(
last night was my seventh viewing....but I couldnt hear anything VermontJohn... :'(
all I heard was heavy breathing...
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: blubird on April 05, 2006, 12:05:16 PM
Damn. You people are too much. I wish I knew how to quit you.

The glass slipper analogy has me floored.
[/quot                                                                                                                                                   Perhaps the mother. bless her, now regards Ennis as a surrogate son. Apparently they have no other children and might be quite lonely there. Ennis perhaps someday will return and live there, is that why we see the open window on Jack's bedroom? The mother would sure welcome him at least as another helping hand about the place as the father might be disabled. This might be a wonderful place for Ennis to live out his declining years and lay his burden down. The bedroom scene might have a touch of "Wuthering Heights" gothic if that's what you'd like to see. Personally I hated Heathcliff and the book. Any thoughts?                                                                                                                                       
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: goobles on April 06, 2006, 07:33:24 AM
Something about that brown paper bag has been bugging me.  Why did Jack's mom feel it necessary to put the shirts in the bag?  Jack's mom saw Ennis bring them down, as well as Jack's dad, who looks right at Ennis as he passes by the table, shirts in hand.  It's almost as if there's still some sort of stigma of shame attached to the shirts and J & E's relationship.  Maybe it's symbolic of she and Ennis are still trying to hide the relationship, or keeping it under wraps. 

I agree with you in that there seems to be a protective quality behind her gentle handling of the shirts into the bag.  I noticed, too, that Jack's dad (almost accusingly) looks right at Ennis with his rolled up shirts.

Other insightful posters have noticed that the paper bag in this scene parallels the paper bag that Ennis clutches in the first scene.  To quote one such poster, cms, a few pages back in this thread:
But also a story device - when you first see Ennis in the movie, he has a brown paper bag for a suitcase (presumably with all his material possessions) and at the end of the movie he has a brown paper bag with the only thing that's ever mattered in his life.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Poohbunn on April 06, 2006, 07:34:46 PM
The most important thing I got from that scene was a sense of how much Jack's mother loved him, and how Jack was telling the truth when he said "There's no pleasing my old man. No way"  Twist, Sr. was as cold as ice and downright mean too.
-- Pooh
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on April 06, 2006, 07:38:35 PM
The most important thing I got from that scene was a sense of how much Jack's mother loved him, and how Jack was telling the truth when he said "There's no pleasing my old man. No way"  Twist, Sr. was as cold as ice and downright mean too.
-- Pooh



He wants his son buried with the family.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Willhoite on April 06, 2006, 09:33:57 PM
The most important thing I got from that scene was a sense of how much Jack's mother loved him, and how Jack was telling the truth when he said "There's no pleasing my old man. No way"  Twist, Sr. was as cold as ice and downright mean too.
-- Pooh



He wants his son buried with the family.


What he, John C. Twist, Sr., wanted was Jack not to have his own way and that included refusing to have Jack's ashes scattered up on Brokeback.

Jack tried all of his life to please his father to get him to accept him as his son. He even tried to imitate his father by trying to be like him, too. But, he failed in that. Jack's taking time every year to help out his father on the ranch did not please the old man at all.

I sort of say John C. "Jack" Twist, Jr. wanted John C. Twist, Sr. to be his father in his family of choice; but, Twist Sr. did not want Jack to be his son.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on April 06, 2006, 09:39:25 PM
Quote

I sort of say John C. "Jack" Twist, Jr. wanted John C. Twist, Sr. to be his father in his family of choice; but, Twist Sr. did not want Jack to be his son.

John Twist didnt want Jack as his son?
Where does that come from?

The man wanted his son buried in the family plot.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Willhoite on April 06, 2006, 10:05:28 PM
John C. Twist, Sr. was a self-centered and selfish man. He never cared for Jack in the first place it seems according to the way that Jack complains about him all through the story.

He might not have wanted children in the first place just like Jack said that he hadn't "wanted either one" (meaning although he got a son, he didn't want a daughter either.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on April 06, 2006, 10:08:02 PM
Quote

He might not have wanted children in the first place just like Jack said that he hadn't "wanted either one" (meaning although he got a son, he didn't want a daughter either.


It was JACK that wanted 'neither one'.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: magicmountain on April 06, 2006, 10:16:59 PM
Quote

I sort of say John C. "Jack" Twist, Jr. wanted John C. Twist, Sr. to be his father in his family of choice; but, Twist Sr. did not want Jack to be his son.

John Twist didnt want Jack as his son?
Where does that come from?

The man wanted his son buried in the family plot.

Now Jack's dead it's safe to claim him as family property.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: Willhoite on April 06, 2006, 10:17:26 PM
Quote

He might not have wanted children in the first place just like Jack said that he hadn't "wanted either one" (meaning although he got a son, he didn't want a daughter either.


It was JACK that wanted 'neither one'.

I know that it was Jack who said that "neither one" but, I said "might not have wanted children" when I was referring to Jack's father.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: downloaded1 on April 06, 2006, 10:21:41 PM
 but, I said "might not have wanted children" when I was referring to Jack's father.
Quote

so theres no basis for any of your statements
other than conjecture
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: louisev on April 07, 2006, 06:28:06 AM
I think that Jack's father's insistence on "burying him in the family plot" was a refusal to acknowledge Jack's relationship with Ennis, and also a final slap at his son, because he is refusing his final request.  And I think he does it because he knows (just as Jack's mother knows) the significance of Brokeback Mountain in Jack's life.
Title: Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
Post by: goobles on April 07, 2006, 08:41:17 AM
I think that Jack's father's insistence on "burying him in the family plot" was a refusal to acknowledge Jack's relationship with Ennis, and also a final slap at his son, because he is refusing his final request.  And I think he does it because he knows (just as Jack's mother knows) the significance of Brokeback Mountain in Jack's life.

I'm with you on this,