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Author Topic: At Jack's Parents  (Read 372924 times)

Offline DeeGilles

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Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
« Reply #75 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!
I wish I knew how to quit ya.

Offline DaveL

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Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
« Reply #76 on: January 18, 2006, 10:36:17 PM »
trcarr, I forgot another important duality: life/death; world/afterworld.
"Ennis del Mar wakes before five....The shirts hanging on a nail shudder slightly in the draft..It could be bad on the highway with the horsetrailer.He has to be packed and away from the place that morning...The wind strikes the trailer like a load of dirt coming off a dump truck, eases, dies...."

Offline DeeGilles

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Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
« Reply #77 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.
I wish I knew how to quit ya.

Offline 3m

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Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
« Reply #78 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?

Offline crcj

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Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
« Reply #79 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.

Offline marktd

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Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
« Reply #80 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.

Offline alterboy

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Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
« Reply #81 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.

Offline rabbar

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Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
« Reply #82 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/

Offline ImEnnisShesJack

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Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
« Reply #83 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!
"And when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night."
~~Heath Ledger 1979-2008~~

Carol8159@yahoo.com

Offline ImEnnisShesJack

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Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
« Reply #84 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.
"And when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night."
~~Heath Ledger 1979-2008~~

Carol8159@yahoo.com

Offline In Tears

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Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
« Reply #85 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." 
« Last Edit: January 21, 2006, 03:31:24 PM by In Tears »
"Later, that dozy embrace solidified in his memory as the single moment of artless, charmed happiness in their separate and difficult lives."

Offline Scott88

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Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
« Reply #86 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.

Offline wjp58

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Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
« Reply #87 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"?
"There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe..."

Offline shonuff07

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Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
« Reply #88 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......... :'(
« Last Edit: January 21, 2006, 03:40:14 PM by shonuff07 »
" Do I look like I can afford a roping horse ? "

Offline 909dot

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Re: Scene: At Jack's Parents
« Reply #89 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
"maybe you should get outa there...move someplace different...maybe Texas."