‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Review

By Ben Cramer

Dallas Buyers Club, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, stars Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof, a Texan with a passion for rodeos, women, and drugs. On a fateful day in 1985, an accident at work forces him to go the hospital, where doctors (one of them played by Jennifer Garner) diagnose Ron with HIV and tell him he has 30 days to live. He finds himself ostracized by his family and friends because of this information and because every person in his hometown area is a homophobe–including himself.

    Once he realizes a drug being tested on him is actually deteriorating his health, he travels to Mexico and smuggles unapproved pharmaceutical drugs back to Texas that improve his symptoms.

Ron looks to set up a business where he can provide these effective, unapproved pharmaceuticals to other AIDS victims. Many of the AIDS patients are homosexuals and Ron is hesitant to help the people he once despised. He soon enlists the help of Rayon, a transgendered woman played by Jared Leto. Rayon becomes Ron’s people-person business partner while Ron rakes in the cold hard cash.

It doesn’t take long for the FDA to come and confiscate the unapproved drugs and take Ron to court. The situation is further complicated because he knows the dangers involved with the drugs that the FDA is forcing AIDS patients to take and he is willing to die defending his cause. During that time, Ron strikes up a friendship with Rayon and Jennifer Garner’s character. This remarkable movie tells the true story of an underdog “sticking it to the man.”

Before Focus Features finally got Vallée and McConaughey on board, this movie was in development hell. With McConaughey and Leto both losing a substantial amount of weight for their respective roles, it isn’t surprising that they won Golden Globes and are in the running for an Oscar.

If it were up to me, I wouldn’t have a problem picking Leto for Best Supporting Actor. He did an amazing job playing a sympathetic transgendered woman and his lines were some of the funniest in the movie. McConaughey on the other hand is in strong competition for Best Actor. However if the Golden Globes are any indication to the Academy Awards (and they almost always are), then it looks like Matthew McConaughey has himself another golden statue waiting for him this March. I just hope his acceptance speech will include the oh- so-famous, “All right, all right, all right.”