run time: 117 mins
considered: Biography, Drama, History
starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Gardner, Steve Zahn, Michael O’Neill
movie summary: In 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is himself diagnosed with the disease. (www.imdb.com)
my thoughts: Dallas Buyers Club is the true story about Ron Woodroof and his struggle to overcome AIDS. This film will provide audiences with the harsh realities facing someone who gets infected with AIDS. Most people had misconceptions of the effects of the disease, while once someone got diagnosed there wasn’t many treatment options available.
In 1985 Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) starts to get sick having black outs and coughing up blood. He’s led a hard life abusing drugs, alcohol, and women. One day he gets electrocuted at work which lands him in the hospital. The doctors run a blood test and inform him that he is HIV positive. He becomes enraged and believes only homosexuals could get that disease. The doctors warn he has 30 days to live so Ron continues to life his life the way he always has with drugs and booze.
His condition gets worse but he is not a candidate for a new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drug called AZT. Ron gets a tip about a doctor in Mexico that can provide medicine not available in the US. He crosses the border to meet the doctor who cleans him up and gives him a huge supply of vitamins.
Back in Texas he tracks down a fellow AIDS patient Rayno (Jared Leto) and begins selling his vitamins. Together the guys create the Dallas Buyers Club, where for $400 a month any patient can receive illegal vitamins and other medicine that will suppress the symptoms. The club grows everyday which forces Ron to travel back and forth across the border to get more supplies dressed as a Priest.
Dr. Eve Saks (Jennifer Gardner) is busy trying trial prescriptions for AZT while waiting for it to get approved by the FDA. Her patients are starting to get worse compared to patients who have been taking illegal drugs from Woodroof. She begins to question the AZT drug and the research behind it.
FDA Agent Richard Barkley (Michael O’Neill) is in hot pursuit of Ron and his illegal drugs with the purpose of shutting him down and confiscating everything. Ron gathers up a strong legal team and spends the next couple of years suing the government for mistreatment and taking away his rights to use any medicine he feels will help him, approved or not.
Ron Woodroof was given 30 days to live but managed to live for the next 7 years helping others with HIV coup with their disease. He fought hard to live, he stood behind what he believed in, and sued the government for mistreating fellow sick patients. Despite losing all his real friends, Ron went on to touch more people’s lives than ordinary people do in their whole life.
The Dallas Buyers Club was an interesting watch because of the amazing performance of McConaughey and Leto. Both transferred their bodies and personalities to bring their characters to life. Gardner plays the sweet caring character, like she does in every other movie, but these two guys took on roles outside of their usual forte. The story is very simple, yet complicated at the same time. It is easy to follow but some scenes are really hard to watch with the substance abuse and hospital treatments. You root for Ron and Rayno to win, but you know they are both terminally ill and are dying.
This movie has scored high ratings and deserves some recognition for performances but won’t be a hit with everyone. Be prepared for tough scenes and a predictable outcome.
my star rating: 6 out 10