It was a gay night at the movies as the Human Rights Campaign and guests descended upon the Loews Cineplex in Georgetown for an advance preview of the much-anticipated Brokeback Mountain.
Based on the short story by Annie Proulx and directed by Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain is the love story of two Wyoming cowboys, starring Hollywood heartthrobs Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.
The mood in the theater was decidedly giddy as the crowd of mostly men (and a few women) settled into their seats with their popcorn, sodas and Milk Duds. The first shots of the striking actors produced some giggles, and the first love scene was greeted with appreciative (and nervous) laughter.
But the audience quickly lost themselves in the enveloping and powerful romance, and as the final credits rolled, barely anyone spoke.
''Heartbreaking,'' gushed one reviewer. ''Powerful and hopeful,'' said his companion. ''A stirring meditation on love and loss, of truth and denial,'' said another. The instant reviews from the admittedly friendly audience were overwhelmingly positive.
The performances of the male leads were especially praised. ''Heath is so getting the Oscar,'' said one Academy Award prognosticator (Ledger plays the tortured Ennis Del Mar). ''And Jake can play my boyfriend anytime,'' he quipped.
Touted as this season's must-see gay film, Brokeback Mountain surely won over this HRC crowd. Though it portrayed a place and time unfamiliar to most in the audience, Brokeback Mountain certainly won them over, hearts and all.