The credit for this movie lies in all involved. Director Ang Lee holds the camera down and lets the scenes play out for themselves until necessary, while Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana give a sense of restriction and imprisonment to the script to make the tension and passion both real. The actors themselves, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal should be given credit for translating all that to the screen. Lastly, praise should largely be given to Annie Proulx’s short story with its combination of the American cowboy with a twist on the sexual preference of the usual male cowboy characters seen in Western stories.
If it seems to be an average story to you and more for something for your girlfriend, take her with you. You might need to cry on her shoulder when you are done--it’s that kind of movie.