WARNING: This post contains spoilers.
This date in film will see Ennis Del Mar’s (Heath Ledger) daughter, Alma Jr. (Kate Mara), get married in Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005).
Ennis is seen living in a downtrodden trailer, alone and heartbroken. His wife Alma (Michelle Williams) has divorced him and he rarely sees his two daughters. This is a result of his love affair with Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal). The pair met twenty years earlier as sheepherders in charge of a flock on Brokeback Mountain. Battling the elements, harsh winters and the loneliness that comes with the job, Ennis and Jack grow intimate. The seasons change, and with summer’s end, they part ways to live their separate lives but make a pact to revisit the place where their relationship began.
They each pretend to live ordinary, ‘normal’ lives. Ennis marries Alma and Jack weds renowned rodeo star Lureen Newsome (Anne Hathaway), daughter of a wealthy farmer. They start families but are unable to forget their feelings for one another. One day Ennis sends a postcard to Jack, organising one of their frequent ‘fishing trips’ (a cover story). However, it is returned with ‘deceased’ written across its front. Ennis contacts Lureen who confirms that Jack was accidentally killed by a tyre iron while changing a flat. Her cold explanation of the events and Ennis’s visualisation of Jack being beaten to death by a homophobic mob (as he had previously described happened to a neighbour during his childhood) implies that she is hiding the embarrassment the reason behind Jack’s death has caused her family.
Ennis’s world is shattered and he becomes cut off. Alma Jr.’s visit and happy news of her engagement both visibly reinvigorates him and serves as a tragic reminder of the life he will never be able to have with Jack. Ennis waves goodbye to his daughter and returns to his trailer to find she has left her jacket behind. He picks it up, tenderly folds it and opens his wardrobe to place it inside. Hung inside the door are two shirts and a postcard of Brokeback Mountain. In an earlier scene, while visiting Jack’s parents to pay his condolences, Ennis takes them from Jack’s bedroom. He had kept them as a reminder of their times on the mountain. Back in the trailer Ennis strokes the shirts and, crying, whispers, “Jack, I swear…”as a final gesture of his love and commitment.