It’s hard to have a film where your hero is a homophobic, piece of white trash that, at times, is his own worst enemy. But that is exactly the case in Dallas Buyers Club, the new biographical film based on the life of Ron Woodroof. Woodroof was an electrician who loved the rodeo, partying and apparently unprotected sex with women that caused him to contract HIV. Woodruff is given a death sentence, but refuses to die and gives hope to other people with his condition, even if it is for his own financial gain in the beginning. A skinny man at death’s door is not what you think of as the role of a lifetime especially for the once Sexiest Man Alive, Matthew McConaughey. But McConaughey gives the performance of his career in Dallas Buyers Club as the man carrying a death sentence who decides to fight the FDA.
McConaughey’s Woodroof is a total homophobe that is cursed with a disease that forces him to interact with people he can’t stand. Dallas Buyers Club shows a harsh depiction of living with AIDS in 1980s Texas. Let’s just say that Texas hospitality wasn’t so easily shared if you had those three letters attached to your medical records. It’s hard to get behind Woodruff initially as a crusader because the guy is just so self-destructive and cruel at times. That all begins to change when he forms an alliance with a another AIDS patient played by Jared Leto. As great as McConaughey’s performance is in Dallas Buyers Club, it wouldn’t have worked if it wasn’t for Jared Leto stealing the show as Ron’s unlikely business partner Rayon.
Leto’s Rayon is a sweet and kind cross dresser that befriends the bigot who’s looking to peddle his non FDA approved drugs that help treat HIV and the AIDS virus. The Ron and Rayon alliance makes the movie as the odd couple help the HIV and AIDS patients of their membership only club that uses alternative treatment outside FDA restrictions. Leto’s Rayon is the heart of the movie and his friendship with Ron turns the hateful Woodruff into a man who cares about the people he once ridiculed. Dallas Buyers Club is a unique, true story of a man who refused to live by the assumption: it’s not about what works, it’s about what the FDA wants. McConaughey and Leto both give Oscar worthy performances and should hear their names called for nominations during award season.
Overall, I give Dallas Buyers Club 3.5 out of 4 stars.
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