Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great acting by a cast in challenging roles


Movie Info

Movie Name:  Dallas Buyers Club

Studio:  Truth Entertainment

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  September 7, 2013 (Toronto International Film Festival)/November 1, 2013 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R


I have what?!?!

After an electrical shock sends him to the hospital, Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) learns a horrible truth…he has HIV or what he’d call “the homo disease”.  Quickly abandoned by his friends and family, Ron learns he has only about thirty days to live.  Desperate to be part of a study involving the drug AZT, Ron learns that the drug has benefits but at a severe cost…the life of the patient.  Ron uncovers a combination of drugs that can curb the effects of HIV and AIDS if taken correctly and makes himself a target of FDA.  Teamed with a crossdresser named Rayon (Jared Leto), Ron is out to profit and bring his fix to the masses through the Dallas Buyers Club.


Let’s start moving some pills Rayon!

Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, Dallas Buyers Club tells the real life story of Ron Woodroof who in 1986 was diagnosed with HIV and his struggles to get unregulated medicine to treat it.  The film was critically acclaimed and won for Academy Awards for Best Actor (McConaughey), Best Supporting Actor (Leto), and Best Makeup and Hairstyling with nominations for Best Picture, Best Editing, and Best Original Screenplay.

Having grown up during the AIDS panic, this movie brings back memories of that time.  There were so many rumors about AIDS, how you caught it, and a lot of fear about those who had it.  Ryan White (who grew up a few towns away) found himself fighting to go to school…so the fear aspect of the story is understandable.


Want to save some lives?

The story of the movie is kind of predictable due to the situation, but that doesn’t make it dull.  It is pretty obvious where this story is going to start and end.  The path of the characters is compelling and how a red-neck racist bull rider essentially became a champion for the underdog and homosexuals is where the meat of the story is.  It is a demonstration how people can change and how there can be a “new normal” when something radical changes in a person’s life.

The movie also raises a lot of questions about the medical institution.  Yes, you want to make sure that you are getting medicines that won’t have adverse effects, but if you are dying, can you take anything that you might prolong your life (and in turn help explore other cures)?  It is a valid question about how much society allows people to have control over their own lives…something that still can draw parallels today.


McConaughey almost unrecognizable…

The acting is exceptional in the film.  McConaughey is one of those actors I don’t want to like, but I can’t seem to help like him.  He’s done some really horrible mainstream stuff that plays on his looks, but if he pushes and challenges himself, he really can perform.  Teamed with him is Jennifer Garner who also has the same problem.  I like Garner less, but once again, she’s great in the role as the wary doctor.  Jared Leto continues to surprise as Rayon and really turns him into a memorable character (with great chemistry with McConaughey).


Rayon knows how to party!

Visually the movie also has that night throwback feel.  McConaughey’s rough and tumble lifestyle gives the film a grittiness.  The movie isn’t a pretty ’80s of yuppies and Reaganomics, but the dirty side of the time.  It is a fun rich world to visit.

Dallas Buyers Club is a movie propelled by its acting but also backed-up by a compelling story that does make you think.  The movie looks good and is one of the stronger films of the years.  It is too bad that movies like this can’t get bigger releases, and I hope McConaughey continues to go for the more challenging roles instead of the popular ones.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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