Matthew McConaughey is barely recognizable as Ron Woodroof, an electrician/womanizer who ends up finding out he’s contracted HIV/AIDS and has 30 days left to live. After searching deeper for information on a relatively unknown disease (at the time), he finds out that there is existing medication that is not yet approved in the U.S.A. that could help him survive longer.
However, after running into red tape when trying to obtain medication, he decides to smuggle massive amounts of pharmaceutical products and starts selling them to other HIV/AIDS infected patients, creating the “Dallas Buyers Club”.
First of all, what a film. Jean-Marc Vallée’s “C.R.A.Z.Y.” was quite something to watch, but “Dallas Buyers Club” is a tremendous achievement. Vallée’s directing is stellar, the script is top notch, and features a palette of characters that makes this story truly engaging and human.
Homophobia, illness, lust, being incapable of receiving proper treatment, smuggling, death, friendship, the limitations of the legal system, these are all themes that would lead one to think that this film is a depressing drama. It is not. And that’s where the success of “Dallas Buyers Club” lies. All these themes would make the perfect recipe for a melodrama, wrap it up in a small package with a big star (McConaughey), and put the “Based on a true Story” stamp. But it’s so much, much more.
“Dallas Buyers Club” avoids all the traps of melodrama by being whole-heartedly hilarious at times, with just the proper dose of raw emotion, and performances that will be remembered for ages. Half-way through the film, my friends and I looked at each other, in a bit of disbelief, unanimously agreeing that McConaughey deserves an Oscar for this. Jared Leto is also wonderful as Rayon, an AIDS-infected transvestite patient that will become a great friend and business partner, and that will trigger Woodroof’s change of vision towards homosexuality. And it is not drastic. It comes in all kinds of subtleties and heart-warming moments. Hats off to Jennifer Garner as well, she is flawless.
Without ever offering a heavy-hearted tone, this is a story of perseverance and positivity with an interesting setting that sheds some light on an often forgotten page of history. Engaging social drama, well-written comedy, and wonderful cinematic experience altogether.
8 out of 10 stars