Maddy’s Movies Review: McConaughey at his best in “Dallas Buyers Club”

Maddy Mesa

UPWEB_MM_DallasBuyersClub

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Help comes from the most unlikely source in “Dallas Buyers Club.”

Cowboy and electrician Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) is a partier, gambler and racist homophobe living life on the edge in Dallas, Texas in 1985. He gets all the ladies, has multiple (and graphic) three ways, and shares drugs like there’s no tomorrow. Which for Woodroof is soon to be possible.

After an accident at work sends him to the hospital, Woodroof is informed that he is HIV positive and has an estimated 30 days to live.

McConaughey is unrecognizably good as an infected man desperately looking for any way to live. However, overdosing on AZT with alcohol and cocaine is probably not the best way to go about treating yourself.

This movie is pretty informative. It shows the first time AZT was approved for human testing, but only as a trial run amid the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.

“Dallas Buyers Club” is also an emotionally heavy story. Woodroof is dying without a home, a job or friends because, according to him, only “faggots” get AIDS. With nowhere but down to go, Woodroof heads to a sketchy hospital in Mexico where he receives treatment and a revelation.

Thanks to “Dr.” Vass (a groovy Griffin Dunne), Woodroof  realizes he can make money selling natural and less harmful drugs to fight the symptoms of HIV and AIDS.

“Welcome to the Dallas Buyers Club.”

Instead of selling drugs straight to people, Woodroof sells memberships. $400 a month gives you all the drugs you need.

It’s strange to see this character develop from a man so against gays he didn’t even want to be touched by one, to a man who now goes to great lengths smuggling drugs into the U.S. to help those same people he once hated.

You could say Woodroof is just in it for the money, but there’s something inside him that changes. It’s very subtle, but it happens.

In his past serious roles McConaughey has always looked handsome, but with this movie he takes his acting to a whole new level, losing 38 pounds for his role.

The results are unbelievable as he becomes sickly-thin and almost hard to look at. His acting oozes with despair and frustration in some scenes, while still keeping some Woodroof’s cockiness.

Jared Leto as Woodroof’s HIV-positive transvestite partner Rayon is simply amazing. Sassy and confident, Rayon puts up with Woodroof’s bigoted ways, while slowly changing Woodroof’s views on the gay community and life.

Leto’s emotional scenes are heart wrenching as Rayon cries after coughing up blood, “I don’t want to die!”

And Jennifer Garner really holds her own as Dr. Eve Saks. She’s not just some mousy female doctor in the background of the story, but someone at the forefront of a movement trying to help her sick patients.

It’s not an easy topic to talk about. Even today, there is still a pandemic of HIV and AIDS affecting millions of people. But “Dallas Buyers Club” is an important story to tell. It shows the discrimination victims face, the lies and manipulations of the big name drug companies, and the hope and strength of good people trying to help.

I give “Dallas Buyers Club” three out of four rodeos. I cannot stress how amazing the acting is in this movie. I give an Oscar nod to McConaughey for best actor and Leto for best supporting actor. Woodroof says, “Enjoy your life. You only have one.” It’s a powerful message that shimmers inside you as you leave the theater.