Author Topic: A Ninth Viewing Observation  (Read 128577 times)

Offline jpwagoneer1964

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #100 on: August 05, 2006, 02:34:35 pm »
.  It really is purely Ennis's decision to live separately for all those years (this has nothing to do with Jack's own, personal motivation).  I
Althought it may have he mostly Ennis's choice, he was guided not only by his fears, which likely were the cause of Jack's death, but also obligations to not only his chilldren but Jacks son as well. it a way he was trying to save Jack as well as himself.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2006, 02:50:32 pm by jpwagoneer1964 »
Thank you Heath and Jake for showing us Ennis and Jack,  teaching us how much they loved one another.

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #101 on: August 05, 2006, 03:00:12 pm »
Althought it may have he mostly Ennis's choice, he was guided not only by his fears, which likely were the cause of Jack's death, but also obligations to not only his chilldren but Jacks son as well. it a way he was trying to save jack as wellas himself.

Well, I honestly don't think Ennis was doing his kids any real favors in the way he was living.  He hardly saw them anyway and he refused to live with Alma Jr. even when she asked him if she could.  I still think he was using his kids as an excuse and that his deep-seated fears were the main cause of his decision not to live with Jack.  And, well, Jack's decisions about Bobby I think would only become Ennis's concern if he truly decided to become Jack's partner fulltime.  At which point, Jack might have more stake in expressing opinions about Ennis and his girls too.

But, it is true that Ennis believed that he was trying to protect both himself and Jack (his sacrificial lamb that needs to be guarded) from homophobic violence.  On many levels this is a sweet and loving kind of concern on the part of Ennis.  It's an interesting question to consider whether or not Jack really wanted that protection.  From Jack's perspective it seems like taking the risk would be more important than the need to feel protected from potential or hypothetical violence.  Living apart didn't save Jack anyway.  Yes, the reasons behind Ennis's decisions about how the relationship would go with Jack are not really Ennis's "fault".  Of course it's not his fault.  But, those decisions really were his (no matter what the reason) and not Jack's at all really.  I'm only bringing this up to suggest why we seem to pick on Ennis.  Maybe some of the critiques of Ennis do seem harsh, but it's a harsh story in many ways.  The story really is harsh on all the characters... but again, as the protagonist Ennis is positioned as the driving force behind a lot of the circumstances that befall a lot of the different characters.
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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #102 on: August 05, 2006, 10:41:42 pm »
Amanda, are U really Ennis...or really Annie Proulx in disguise????
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #103 on: August 05, 2006, 11:21:27 pm »
Well, I don't mind so much when people blame the movie's tragedy on Ennis' refusal to go along with Jack's plans. Sure, it's possible to argue that it was actually society's fault, not Ennis', and that they were both equally victimized by cultural homophobia. But let's face it, they were both living in the same society and yet they reacted to it in different ways. Ennis himself would no doubt agree, at the end, that he blew it.

I can even understand the posts arguing that Ennis doesn't accept his sexuality until the end, and maybe not even then, and that he doesn't realize he loves Jack until the end. I disagree with them, and I think those views undermine the movie's romantic power, which to me is one of the best things about it. But at least they seem reasonable analyses based on what we see in the movie.

What I'm talking about are the posts I've seen arguing that Ennis is incredibly selfish, that he constantly disappoints Jack at every opportunity as well as everyone else he's ever known, that he is sexist and potentially physically abusive (the reason Alma backs down in the grocery store), that in the dozy embrace regardless of how affectionate he might appear he in fact refuses to admit he is holding a man, that he is out of touch with his own feelings, that he never in any way shows his love to Jack and probably doesn't realize he feels it anyway, that he neglects and barely shows love to his daughters, that he is cruel to Alma by marrying her and to Cassie by dating her, that he expresses emotion only through violent anger. I have seen people argue that when Ennis goes in to comfort the runny-nosed girls he's actually being sexist because he's secretly fuming that Alma isn't doing it herself (while also toiling away at the laundry). I have seen people argue that Ennis is selfish because he never brings home any fish. And so on!

Sometimes he starts to seem like some kind of Ebenezer Scrooge-like character who Jack is unlucky enough to get tanged up with. Gets tiresome.

Actually, temper and hangups aside, Ennis seems to me like a flawed but well-meaning, polite, unassuming and responsible guy who loved Jack intensely and was able to show it nonverbally but didn't know what to do about it.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2006, 11:27:12 pm by latjoreme »

Offline jpwagoneer1964

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #104 on: August 05, 2006, 11:24:23 pm »
Well, I honestly don't think Ennis was doing his kids any real favors in the way he was living.  He hardly saw them anyway and he refused to live with Alma Jr. even when she asked him if she could.  I still think he was using his kids as an excuse and that his deep-seated fears were the main cause of his decision not to live with Jack.  And, well, Jack's decisions about Bobby I think would only become Ennis's concern if he truly decided to become Jack's partner fulltime.  At which point, Jack might have more stake in expressing opinions about Ennis and his girls too.
 .
Yeah the one area I would fault Ennis, even though he is the best dad in the film next to Jack, he could have tried harder making the best of things with Alma, going to the church social, generally be more supportive. She might have even stayed married to him (she did love him and did stay for 8 years after she knew about Jack).  Also he sould have never brought Cassie with on his visit with Alma jr, and made it possable so she could live with him. But movie characters all have their faults.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2006, 11:26:18 pm by jpwagoneer1964 »
Thank you Heath and Jake for showing us Ennis and Jack,  teaching us how much they loved one another.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #105 on: August 05, 2006, 11:26:45 pm »
Aww I just love that last paragraph...describes Ennis to a T. Anybody who says he is being sexist in the runny nose scene...I'll kick 'em in the teeth!
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #106 on: August 05, 2006, 11:36:04 pm »
Thanks, F-R! Ask them if they want to lose half their f'in teeth!

Well, I honestly don't think Ennis was doing his kids any real favors in the way he was living.  He hardly saw them anyway and he refused to live with Alma Jr. even when she asked him if she could.

In the post-divorce scene, it sounds like he was seeing them once a month (and in fact not even that). But by the time Alma Jr. asked to live with him, sounds like they were seeing each other once a week, which was pretty standard in them days for a non-custodial dad (that's probably about as often -- at best! -- as I saw my dad after my parents divorced in the mid-70s, and he was a pretty good dad).

BUT. I myself always thought about Ennis and his daughters, what's the big deal? It's not like if he went to live with Jack, he couldn't still see his daughters. And then one day, I realized: 1970s rural Wyoming, a man goes off to live with another man, there's actually a very good chance he COULDN'T still see his daughters ...

So although I don't think that was really Ennis' biggest reason for not accepting Jack's offer, it's not a complete non-issue, either.

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #107 on: August 06, 2006, 12:00:20 am »
Amanda, are U really Ennis...or really Annie Proulx in disguise????

LOL!  Well, honestly I'm a little bit like a girl-version of Ennis to tell you the truth.  This movie tends to bring out the optimistic side of me, which is one thing I love about it.

Katherine, you know I agree that the all those things you listed in your post are way too harsh and judgmental.  I'll help you and Front Ranger with the teeth thing over the idea that Ennis was being sexist in the runny nose scene.  I've always thought just the opposite.  Even though the kids are crying and wiping runny noses is sort of an unpleasant task, he always seems very patient here.  Maybe he's enjoying any bit of time he gets with the kids.  He doesn't seem to hesitate about going in to take care of them.  I think the "three hands" comment was Ennis trying to make a little joke or trying to make light of a sort of stressful moment. 
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Offline jpwagoneer1964

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #108 on: August 06, 2006, 12:08:45 am »
  Ennis himself would no doubt agree, at the end, that he blew it.

 
I don't know that Ennis felt he did blow it given that he felt the tire iron got Jack. He always treasured and was protective of they had, hence the out of the way trips. Sadly truth was and is that they would of had to always be aware of what was going on around them had they ranched up together, Ennis fears unfortunatelly were not unfounded. Matthew Sheppard was murdered in Larmie in 1997 one year after Brokeback was published.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2006, 12:54:28 am by jpwagoneer1964 »
Thank you Heath and Jake for showing us Ennis and Jack,  teaching us how much they loved one another.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #109 on: August 06, 2006, 12:43:24 am »
Katherine, you know I agree that the all those things you listed in your post are way too harsh and judgmental.  I'll help you and Front Ranger with the teeth thing over the idea that Ennis was being sexist in the runny nose scene. 

No, I know you don't think he was sexist, Amanda. I never think you are particularly harsh on Ennis. Iin fact, you are very egalitarian!  ;)

But I do see it a lot. There was long discussion going on a few weeks ago about whether Ennis is sexist because 1) he gave Alma a threatening look in the grocery store (more than one person insisted she backed down only because she feared a beating) and 2) he not only wasn't being the least bit progressive by rushing in to comfort his daughters in 1965 rural cowboy Wyoming, you could actually see his fury that Alma wasn't doing it herself.

To both of which I say ... um, hunh?

My feeling is that some people are so sympathetic toward Jack that it makes them resentful of Ennis, and it shows up in all kinds of ways, some of which seem pretty over the top. In the examples above, I think people are reading things into him based on what they assume about uneducated, machoish men of his place and time. Yet the evidence on the screen is that he's pretty UNsexist for his place and time and, except for a couple of hot-headed moments, he is actually quite nice.

I don't know that Enniis felt he did blow it given that he felt the tire iron got Jack.

True, JP. I guess that's arguable. I do think in the end Ennis has his regrets, though, whatever they may be.