Plot: “Two men with commitment problems attempt a relationship.” -IMBD
Review: When Brokeback Mountain was released in 2005, I was not yet out. I was in college, dating a woman, and living a lie. This lie was something I feared would stay buried deep within me for the rest of my life. Watching this film, I did not really connect with the ruggedness of cowboy life, but I related to the moments of quiet truth. Just like the characters on the screen, I sneaked around, lied, and worked desperately to rise above that which tempted me.
I watched Bros as a 38-year-old man who is finally comfortable in his own skin. My days of sneaking around are long gone. I am engaged to a man who I have been openly dating for over 7 years. We are thinking of buying a house and are busy planning life’s next steps.
A subplot to this film is happening outside of the cinema. It is meant to be groundbreaking. Sure, they centered its story on two white, cis-gendered, males living privileged lives in one of America’s wealthiest cities (all facts this film is hyper-aware of from the beginning). But for the first time, movie attendees will get a sense of what it is like to be a gay man dating in the 21st century.
In my estimation, a romantic comedy (for all the faults of the genre) is the perfect vehicle for this sort of story. What amazed me about this film is how quickly it shifts from groundbreaking to generic. As it settled into the tropes of the genre (opposites attract, the awkwardness of dating, moments of truth, moments where everything falls apart, and an ending we always see coming), I slowly forgot that I was watching a love story about two men. Instead, I found myself concerned with the two flawed human beings before me. Every film has a thesis, and ultimately this film is attempting to accomplish two things. For straight audiences, it wants to normalize these stories, pull back the curtain, and reveal how much we have in common. For members of the LGBTQ+ community, it is attempting to plant a flag and make sure visibility is front and center.
When considering the aims of this film, I think it achieves its mission. It arrives at its goal with humor and heart. Along the way, it wrestles with political correctness, code-switching, hook-up culture, shifting attitudes around monogamy, and the various shades of gay.
I am proud we have arrived at a point in time where a story such as this can be told. Looking inward, I am proud of myself for my journey of self-acceptance. Based on box office returns, we still have miles to travel, but it should not deter us. Storytelling is how we win these battles.
Be good to each other,
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