Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
  • Time: 117 min
  • Genre: Biography | Drama | History
  • Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
  • Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto


Matthew McConaughey stars as real-life Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof, whose free-wheeling life was overturned in 1985 when he was diagnosed as HIV-positive and given 30 days to live. These were the early days of the AIDS epidemic, and the U.S. was divided over how to combat the virus. Ron, now shunned and ostracized by many of his old friends, and bereft of government-approved effective medicines, decided to take matters in his own hands, tracking down alternative treatments from all over the world by means both legal and illegal. Bypassing the establishment, the entrepreneurial Woodroof joined forces with an unlikely band of renegades and outcasts – who he once would have shunned – and established a hugely successful “buyers’ club.” Their shared struggle for dignity and acceptance is a uniquely American story of the transformative power of resilience.


  • Dallas Buyers Club is a low budget biographical movie, portraying the life of Ron Woodroof, a Dallas electrician who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986 and who soon after that started the ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ – a club made exclusively for people diagnosed with AIDS who paid a fixed membership fee and in return got as much experimental drugs (that were also unapproved by the Food and Drug Administration) as they needed. At some point in the development of the movie, first Brad Pitt and afterwards Ryan Gosling, were attached to play Ron Woodroof, but the role finally went to Matthew McConaughey – which turned out to be a magnificent casting choice, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

    The movie opens with Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) engaged in activities he likes best – having sex with women, doing drugs and watching bull riding. However, his life soon takes an unexpected turn when he has an accident on his job, ends up in a hospital and is there informed by Dr. Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner) and Dr. Sevard (Denis O’Hare) that he has AIDS and will die in 30 days. He doesn’t believe them at first, but when he starts feeling more and more sick, he decides he will do anything to survive, including starting the aforementioned Buyers Club.

    Despite being a movie based on a real life story that deals with difficult topics, like living with AIDS, fighting the ‘system’ (FDA) and fighting for survival, Dallas Buyers Club is a surprisingly funny movie. The movie works both as a depiction of a real life drama and a black comedy – much of the humor comes from Ron’s interaction with his transgender friend Rayon (Jared Leto) – and I enjoyed both of these aspects equally. Matthew McConaughey is an experienced actor in both this genres and he was the perfect choice for the role of Ron Woodroof. His performance was absolutely amazing and I think it’s safe to say he will be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. And speaking of Academy Awards – Jared Leto is amazing as Rayon and I wouldn’t be shocked if he got more recognition, in form of a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. I’m not much of a Jared Leto fan, but I must admit he was incredible in the movie.

    Of course, not everyone in the movie was as good as McCounaughey and Leto. And with that, I mainly mean Jennifer Garner, who was just bleak and underwhelming as Dr. Eve Saks, and personally I wouldn’t have minded if her character had been completely cut out of the movie. Actually, both her character and Jared Leto’s character Rayon were made up exclusively for the movie (which is rather obvious since they fall into stereotypical Hollywood character cliches) but while Rayon’s character and his relationship with Ron works and is somewhat plausible, the character of Eve was the movie’s third wheel. However, McCounaughey and Leto have more than enough charisma to make Dallas Buyers Club a very pleasant and funny experience.

    Rating: 8/10

  • (Rating: 4,5 / 5) Although “loosely” material, “Dallas Buyers Club” is based on a real event that involves a man rethinking about homosexuality, AIDS, and a nasty legal battle with the execrable FDA

    It is certainly a very good film though not a masterpiece: the main point of attraction is Matthew McConaughey, who in addition to his performance had to suffer a kind of physical transformation to resemble an AIDS patient. Here, there is nothing exaggerated gestures as his cameo in “The Wolf Of Wall Street”, but his foul-mouthed and homophobic but very measured character is the most powerful among the film. Nothing like Opera into Tom Hanks in “Philadelphia”. This actor is a real fighter, worth

    Actually, it is also the direction that avoids any sentimentality. When working on a terminal disease, because oppressive connotations of the word “terminal ” or “death”, people and the directors can not help but be very pompous and depressive with the stories. It is true that “Dallas Buyers Club” is not very happy and not ends with a happy ending, but the dramatic subtlety here is admirable. It’s even a smart film, worrying at least one evolution to common sense: eg McConaughey is junkie and addicted to sex, gradually begins to take care and eat healthy foods and practice healthy living (when another film character could have resigned to continue destroying with his debauchery, or depression); simply because in his spirit, he does not want to die

    Perhaps the problem of this movie are two things: the first is that, being a true story (although altered), there are not many artistic spins (perhaps when the protagonist enters a room with butterflies, it is the highlight creative flight) but the material is down-to-earth, and nuanced with the other narrative elements (performances, directorial style, etc…). The second and more importantly, it is a film that depends on the star, in this case Matthew McConaughey: the script makes his argument based on the actor, provides one secondary figure (Jared Leto) for not to tire the public, and the others details are building briefly, through a couple of dialogues and situations (the doctor and her ethics, the battle against the FDA, etc…). Fortunately, dialogues and scenes are smart enough to make these details are well drawn and with a sense of depth: one understands the divalency of Jennifer Garner with the AZT, or hateful attitudes of the institution of the FDA. But still, these sub-stories are nominally views, eg the film is hardly deeper with the legal battle against medical institutions even though the main reason why the protagonist fight

    “Dallas Buyers Club” is perhaps not a masterpiece, but it is quite admirable. Does not forget to remind the audience that it is a film about a terminally ill, but the material presented here is not reverential. Maybe “Dallas Buyers Club” does not teach a new way, does not talk about AIDS with a new point of view; but with these standards, ends up being much better than expected, with a slight hope and with the signing of an exceptional actor

  • “Dallas Buyers Club” might start as a cynical and hard film to watch, but it does earn one’s respect, admiration, and most importantly… love. The story features strong personalities, which make for great characters, who were very well developed. From beginning to end, I was totally engaged with the story and was made to feel sympathy, admiration and even contempt for various characters which is one sign of a great film. Matthew McConaughey is simply great in this challenging role. His physical transformation was a point that was very much praised, but his emotional take on the character was a big assist to the success of the performance. I have not even mentioned the supporting performance by Jared Leto, which was believable and brilliant. The ending was completely fitting of the film and was a great way to link the start to finish as well as to sum up the main character perfectly. Overall, this was a very good movie with wonderful acting performances!

  • There are some films you watch for entertainment, and others you watch for a deeper meaning. Dallas Buyers Club is definitely one of the latter. Its themes range from survival to corruption to cooperation. The story, while a little raucous, shows how humans have an instinct to survive at all costs. It also shows how money trumps all, especially in the United States and how people who would normally think badly of each other can be driven together by corruption and survival to do what is right and do it selflessly.

    The acting is also very impressive among the leads. Matthew McConaughey gives the best performance of his career as Ron Woodroof. His tenacity and boldness carry the film almost single-handedly. Jared Leto alleviates some of the burden, as does Jennifer Garner. Both do stellar jobs in their supporting roles. The rest of the cast adds very little to the film; however, they do not detract either, shifting the focus onto the leads.

    The overall look of the film strives for realism. The cinematography is a little too shaky at times; however, it mostly adds to the film, breaking down a barrier between the actors on-screen and the audience. Overall, Dallas Buyers Club is not for the faint of heart. However, it is an emotionally rewarding film that will please almost all of its viewers.

  • Dallas Buyers Club is based on true events, Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), who’s life of sex, alcohol and drugs is turned upside down when he is diagnosed with HIV. He works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need by inventing the ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ with the assistance of a transgender and fellow sufferer Rayon (Jared Leto). There’s a reason this has six nominations for the Oscars, it is a very powerful film with a hard hitting subject matter. AIDS is a very difficult subject to work on and especially one that’s based on real events, however Vallée does a spectacular job and it.


    For the parts of Ron Woodroof and Rayon both McConaughey and Leto lost tremendous amounts of weight for their roles. McConaughey lost an incredible three and a half stone for his role, and weighed a mere 135-pounds (9.6 stone). He stuck to a diet of two egg whites, chicken, a small pudding and…

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  • “I swear it, Ray, God sure was dressin’ the wrong doll when he blessed you with a set of balls.”

    I admit. Everyone will probably repeat this infinitely times. The acting of Matthew McConaughey is irrefutable top level. I’ll do it just one more time … the acting of Matthew McConaughey is top level ! After I saw him in “The Lincoln Lawyer ” where he plays a lawyer who works from out of his Lincoln, there was a sign of sheer acting talent in the movie “Mud”. “Mud” isn’t an average movie. You like it or you hate it. But it it does show that he isn’t an ordinary actor. The metamorphosis in “Dallas Buyers Club” is even more spectacular. Physically it must have been quite a sacrifice in order to lose that much weight. The image of him lying in the hospital next to Rayon and his hospital pajamas reveal a skinny leg, is shocking at the time. How he plays that hotheaded Woodroof sometimes, is really a joy to watch. With that Texas accent he talks like a cheeky rascal and a few moments later it sounds flattering and seductive. He likes to taste the pleasures of life : Sex , Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll. I must admit I hardly recognized him at the beginning with that big mustache, those big glasses, the stetson on his head and that skinny body. The moment they told him in the hospital he had AIDS was memorable. The way he reacts is a perfect display of how a heterosexual person would react that never used hard drugs (using a needle). He denies it completely and rejects the assumption to have AIDS. Instead, he returns to his camper and organizes with his drinking buddies a wild orgy with lots of booze, cocaine and willing rodeo ladies.

    Jared Leto plays the role of Rayon brilliantly. A transvestite who tries to bound with Ron, but gets taunted by the latter in a humiliating way. The moment Rons friends turn their backs at him (also a strong fragment) and they avoid him like he’s a leper, is the point he starts tolerating Rayon, although he keeps making teasing remarks. Leto was convincing as an addicted but attractive transvestite.

    During the whole movie there is an interaction between dramatic and humorous moments. There is the monopolizing role of the FDA in terms of legalized medication. They focus more on the profit margins and seem to forget about the effective healing effects of certain medications. You can enjoy the humor both in conversations as in certain situations that arise. The bond of friendship that develops gradually between Ron and Rayon is the main storyline.

    Frankly, it was hugely entertaining until the club was founded. From there it was a little less interesting and actually more of a boring presentation of Ron who travels the world looking for suppliers and new drug cocktails. And again a fight against the FDA while Ron gradually degenerates (although this isn’t actually shown explicitly). A strong,humorous and touching start that significantly begins to captivate to the end. Personally I think the role of Eve by Jennifer Garner even was a minimal contribution to the whole. The doctor in Mexico was, compared to her, a more interesting character role.

    In “Philadelphia” the movie got weaker by dragging in the cliche court scenes. In this movie it’s the constant fight against a government agency such as the FDA which begins to irritate. But despite that, it’s a hell of a movie, with two excellent performances done by two excellent actors.


  • As an actor, Matthew McConaughey has given some unforgettable performances. He seems to be in every movie these days. He plugs away with romantic comedies (Fool’s Gold), recycled action films (Sahara), and forgettable sports endeavors (We Are Marshall). After he hit one out of the park with 2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer, I knew he was on to something. Next to that screen turn and his unrecognizable yet memorable stint in Dazed and Confused, his mark as an AIDS inflicted cowboy in Dallas Buyers Club, remains his most stripped down, most uncoiled, most brilliant performance to date. As the initially unlikable Texan Rod Woodruff, McConaughey sheds all of his McConaugheyness and makes you forget that it’s actually him, but rather a roughed up character going from womanizing sex addict, to self made man, to budding entrepreneur, to full on messiah.

    Now “Buyers Club” isn’t something I would throw into the Academy’s Best Picture pile (of which it is nominated) but it’s still a solid film. The performances are the key points here and this is strictly a character study. Along with McConaughey trading scenes with Jared Leto (playing a transvestite), you literally have blatant, thespian fireworks. Dallas Buyers Club is a deeply disturbing, momentously staked out drama that travels at a very fast clip. With the exception of an unclear yet contradictory ending, I’d say it’s almost perfect.

    Directed by Canadian born Jean Marc Vallee and featuring its star/co-star shedding what seems to be a huge amount of weight to prepare for their roles, Dallas Buyers Club chronicles the life of wild man Rod Woodroof (McConaughey). The year is 1985 and we see this man living on the edge, not thinking about tomorrow, and mocking the day when he has to associate with a same sex lifestyle (there is a discussion about the late actor Rock Hudson that enhances the proceedings). When Ron lands in the hospital by way of an on the job accident (electric shock), he discovers that he is HIV positive and has 30 days left to live. In denial initially and defensive, he parties like there is no tomorrow only to realize that his health is failing and that he doesn’t have much time. After succumbing to befriending a nearby AIDS patient (irresponsibly drug-addicted, homosexual Rayan played by Jared Leto who gives probably one of the greatest performances in the history of film), the two of them form an unlikely friendship and build an empire based on selling illegal prescription drugs to other dying patients designed to boost their immune systems. When certain authority figures get involved (namely the food and drug administration and a conservative doctor), and their operation becomes daunting, these two renegades carry on to help the decaying breed to prolong their lives a little bit longer.

    With a series of individually coarse scenes, Dallas Buyers Club (based on a long overdue realization of a true story) fails to possess a righteous sense of time and place (with the exception of some recognizable 1980’s hair styles) but it does hit hard. Its fast paced yet sporadic narrative, explains to us that the director wanted to tell a grand true story without catering to how accurate the mundane setting is. He doesn’t shoot things in an elaborate way and he doesn’t concentrate on outside atmospherics. However, what’s on screen washes over you with a visible dirtiness, and a portrayal of a forbidden lifestyle that grabs you from inside.

    All in all, this is a powerful film that unfortunately ends abruptly while contradicting the effects of the drug Azt (which I thought was the answer to this horrible disease). Nevertheless, it stills draws you in though with its powerful acting stints coupled with the nervous yet confident desperation of its main character. “Buyers Club” is relevant. And you might look away at times only to “buy” into its lasting, exhaustively bold impression.

    Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars

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