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← Atheists Get Their "Brokeback Mountain" Moment in the New Sundance Film, "The Ledge"

Daniel Schealler's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by Daniel Schealler

I don't judge books by their covers, and I'm also not going to judge a movie by its trailer.

But I am going to judge the trailer. The only criteria for a trailer that really matters is whether or not it makes me want to see the movie.

This trailer doesn't make me want to see the movie.

Which is bad, because I have a bit of a thing for Liv Tyler. If you put Liv Tyler in a movie trailer and I still don't want to see that movie? This says something negative things about that trailer.

Normally, I wouldn't see this movie at all. Pass on the cinema and pass on the DVD.

However, the openly atheist protagonist thing is at least a little bit interesting, so I'll wait for the DVD to come out at rental stores and hope to be pleasantly surprised.

But there's going to have to be an awesome follow up trailer, or some rave reviews, before I'll go watch the film.

Now: As for the 'atheist's Brokeback Mountain' thing, have to knock that back as a silly, trivialising, and possibly a little bit insulting at stirring up false controversy.

Because when I see a movie where the protagonist doesn't mention God or religion (which is fairly frequent) I don't even think to consider whether that character might be religious. The script-writers probably intended that the character would be religious - but much of the time, it never actually comes up.

The situation is very different for GLBTs: Very nearly always, the protagonist of a movie will have a love interest of the opposite sex. The hetronormativity of cinema is something that is prominent, front and center, a crucial part of the plots and emotional appeal of most stories in general, not just movies.

That's why Brokeback Mountain was a big deal... To the point that I just don't see the comparison.

I think that all kinds of privilege function the same way - so religious and heteronomative privilege are different manifestations of the same thing. But that's not to say that we shouldn't acknowledge relevant differences between the two worlds when context demands it.

For the reasons given above, I think that treating this movie as some kind of rough equivalent to Brokeback Mountain is incorrect. Firstly, I don't think the analogy is valid, it's just incorrect. But secondly, to try and fit the two together is trivializing and dismissive of Brokeback Mountain in particular and, by association, the problems faced by the GLBT community.

I'm heterosexual so I'm not as annoyed about that as I should be (although I am certainly annoyed). But if I were a gay man, I'm pretty sure I'd be seething: "Look, atheist straight people, we get it. You like us. You think we're super. You stick up for us, and we appreciate it. We really do. But for fuck's sake - this? This movie shit? Ledge and Brokeback aren't the same thing, and it's condescending and shitty to try and pretend they are, and if you'd all been paying attention you should've realized they're not the same thing. I like that you get all high and mighty about how much you like us, it's great. But please, actually think a bit before saying stupid shit and comparing yourselves to us in all ways, okay?"

And perhaps more to the point, I think it's stirring up false controversy to get people to watch the film - and that ticks me off as well.

So TL;DR version: Crappy trailer. Unless a better trailer comes out - or some raving reviews - I'll pass. Well... normally I'd pass. But the atheist thing is at least kind of interesting, so I'll probably rent the DVD out of curiosity when it goes to rental stores. And trying to compare Ledge to Brokeback trivializes how big a deal Brokeback was, so I wish people would stop doing that.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 22:18:43 UTC | #636148