This romantic tragedy about two lean, wind-burned cowpokes (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) who secretly live to poke each other probably won't play well in John Wayne country. But in its groundbreaking assault on the mythology of the American West, Ang Lee's controversial drama challenges us to reconsider what constitutes love, who defines fidelity, and how vast a closet can be in the wide-open spaces of Wyoming. Neither Lee's eloquence (by way of a much-honored short story by Pulitzer Prize-winner Annie Proulx) nor the daring of his two young stars can be easily dismissed. The most transgressive Hollywood movie of the last 30 years also features Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway as the bewildered wives, respectively, of Ledger's laconic ranch hand, Ennis Del Mar, and Gyllenhaal's failed Texas rodeo cowboy, Jack Twist. In the end, they grab our emotions as firmly as Butch and Sundance or Thelma and Louise.
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