January 17, 2006
The idea of two lonely sheepherders falling in love on top of a mountain in the middle of Nowhere, Wyoming, is completely believeable. Jack (Gyllenhaal) and Ennis (Ledger) spend one summer together in 1962, but despite their affection for each other, they don't really understand their own feelings until they meet again four years later. Jack is open to taking a chance on love, but Ennis understands that Jack is the only bit of happiness he's ever going to find in his going-nowhere life, and he hates himself for allowing himself to feel hope for the future when he knows their love is impossible. There are zero options for (I hate this cliche) their forbidden love.
Meanwhile, the parts for their wives in this movie could have been incredibly flat, but Michele Williams (Dawson's Creek) and Anne Hathaway (The Princess Diaries, Ella Enchanted, The Devil Wears Prada) play these roles with perfect precision. When I pointed out that Randy Quaid (as the sheepherding boss) has, like, three lines in the whole movie, Emily pointed out, "Nobody has any lines in this movie!" The movie's strength is the ability to convey so much information and emotion without words. (Showcase Cinemas Waltham [$5 Discount Tuesdays])