Dallas Buyers Club

Already laden with awards from the Golden Globes, this audacious film has collected six nominations for Academy Awards. After viewing this moving story, I can certainly see why. Director Jean-Marc Vallée ("Young Victoria") pulled off nothing short of a miracle when funding suddenly dried up and he filmed this in 25 days. He fed his cast on over-loaded credit cards.

Through the use of dates (when initially diagnosed in 1985, our hero is given 30 days to live), we know that this actually happened; it is a brilliant script by two newcomers, Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, who used Ron Woodroof's life to inform their script (he's "Woodruff" in the film). Last year I saw the excellent documentary "How to Fight a Plague" and feel that the time lines and the learning curve about AIDS are realistic and factual.

Some of this terrific cast are:
  • Matthew McConaughey ("The Wolf of Wall Street") is Ron Woodruff, a macho rodeo cowboy and hustler. When told his diagnosis he lets the doctor know in no uncertain terms, what he thinks of THAT: "Only faggots get AIDS!" Mr. M. lost 45 pounds to add realism to his role. (2014 Oscar for Best Actor)
  • Jared Leto ("Mr. Nobody") is Rayon, a transgender wannabe who partners with our hero to form the Buyers Club, a gimmick that (temporarily) circumvents Texas law. He lost 40 pounds as well as waxed his body for this role. (2014 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor)
  • Jennifer Garner ("Butter") plays Eve, a doctor who sees the value of reducing the toxic doses of AZT, despite her medical colleagues and Big Pharma. See how that works for her!
  • Denis O'Hare ("J. Edgar") is Dr. Sevard, whose face we soon come to see as evil because he represents the implacability of the ADA and Big Pharma.
  • Steve Zahn ("Diary of a Wimpy Kid") is our hero's brother Tucker, a Dallas cop and an all-around good guy.
  • Griffin Dunne ("Broken City") is Dr. Vass, an American doctor exiled to Mexico because of his unorthodox approach to HIV and AIDS. This proves to be a game changer.
Ron Woodruff is a rake hell, so expect "F" bombs by the score, sexual situations (he didn't get AIDS sitting home watching TV), drug use and realistic depiction of dying victims. No wonder it is rated "R" and is awarded with wins and nominations! There isn't a weak performance; a tip of the Stetson to French-Canadian Monsieur Vallée!
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