This true story takes viewers back to the life of electrician and rodeo cowboy, Ron Woodroof, in 1985. Woodroof, thinking he’s got life by the horns, suddenly tests HIV-positive and is diagnosed with AIDS. This drama–and my ‘Movie of the Year’ for 2013–shakes audiences with its realistic portrayal of disbelief, shame and hatred towards those infected by AIDS. The ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ illustrates a time when education and information about the AIDS disease, and the antivirals needed to fight it, was tenuous at best. Perhaps no one was less knowledgable or prepared for this global fight than Ron Woodroof–at least initially.
The ‘Dallas Buyers Club‘ is nominated for 6 Academy Awards and is led by two exceptionally strong performances, both deserving of an Oscar statuette; the 50-pounds lighter and shockingly frail looking Matthew McConaughey, as Ron Woodroof, for best ‘Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role‘ and Jared Leto (1997‘s ‘Prefontaine‘), for best ‘Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role’.
The beauty of the ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ is how each character’s perspective on AIDS transforms over the course of the film. McConaughey morphs from a vile, homophobic, disbeliever to one of the strongest advocates in the AIDS fight for others and a cure. Between all the talk of AZT, Procaine PVP and dextran sulfate, he educates himself and becomes an expert on AIDS, allowing him to challenge the status quo and Federal red-tape. Likewise, Leto’s strong-willed, transgender role makes amends with family, briefly putting aside animosity for the betterment of others. Doctors, who initially confronted Woodroof’s self-medicating style begin to realize the merits in his drug cocktail. Even some friends of Woodroof, who had shunned him earlier, open their hearts and minds to AIDS victims and their circumstances.
This is a movie not to be missed. The ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ brings out Ron Woodroof’s compassion, determination, and humor. Bull riding has been called “the most dangerous eight seconds in sports”; however, it pales in comparison to a diagnosis of HIV AIDS in 1985. The film depicts the initial prognosis that saddles one cowboy with bigotry, disbelief and resentment–but it also gives us so much more. ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ meticulously takes moviegoers on the journey of despair, hope and survival. Most importantly, it starkly shows a culture’s changing perception towards those with the disease. That education and understanding, along with McConaughey’s performance of a lifetime, comes shining through this film like a true Lone Star.
‘Dallas Buyers Club’ is Rated R for pervasive language, some strong sexual content, nudity and drug use. Running time is 1 hour and 57 minutes.
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