Dallas in 1985 is the setting for the six time Oscar nominated movie "Dallas Buyers Club". It is the story of Ron Woodroof played by Matthew McConaughey and Rayon, played by Jared Leto, who both deliver powerful performances as AIDS patients trying to survive in a time when the disease was only beginning to gain nation attention. Jean-Marc Vallée directs this critically and already award winning movie and thrust himself into the Hollywood It list, with this well designed and executed movie.
Both actors brought home the Golden Globe for best actor (McConaughey) and best supporting actor (Leto) and are currently Oscar nominees for the same categories. "Dallas Buyers Club" is a movie that will bring audiences into the world of fighters and those who don't give up when all odds are stacked against them.
When HIV and AIDS was first being discussed in the early 80s there was wide spread ignorance and lack of education concerning the ways of contracting the disease. This movie does an excellent job at examining the mentality and mindset of the culture at the time. AIDS was a "gay" disease, yet like Ron (McConaughey) discovers the other causes such a intravenous drugs and engaging in unprotected sex. The latter being how he remembers contracting it.
This movie explores how the society, medical professions and a culture dealt with this new reality. Ron loses himself, his way of life and people he called friends after being diagnosed with HIV. McConaughey delivers a moving performance as a man struggling to live his life and in the course of it, help those around him struggling to do the same. His performance in this movie is on the same level that of Academy Award winning actor Tom Hanks, who won the statue for his portrayal of an AIDS patient in the movie "Philadelphia". Although both movies tackle different issues concerning AIDS patients, both stars deliver gripping, powerful and award worthy performances. Ron is a man determined to beat the odds and after AZT becomes FDA approved, he like many other patients at the time wanted in on the trial.
While in the hospital, Ron meets Rayon (Leto) a fellow AIDS patient who is in the new trial. Like most new medical trials, it's simply about testing and not about the treatment per say. These patients wanted a treatment or cure but nothing was available yet and AZT at the time wasn't what it has come to be today.
Ron goes on a quest to find a new way of treating his disease and after experimental success with other none approved drugs, Ron and Ray team up to help others trying to live and survive the disease. Their operation becomes known as the Dallas Buyers Club, which sells at a monthly fee access to the none approved drugs.
Leto and Jennifer Garner, who plays the caring, bleeding heart Dr. Eve Saks, both offer strong supporting roles. Whether living with or simply treating the disease, we see being on either side isn't easy. A clear answer concerning treatment is not as black and white either. At the end of the movie, it does say that with dose adjustments AZT has proven to be a successful treatment for the disease despite there not being a cure still to this day.
A social commentary on AIDS treatment and the story of a man's struggle to survive. Although I have yet to see all the other nominees in the Best Picture category, if I had a vote, so far, this movie would be my choice. Even if you have never suffered from nor have you known anyone who has suffered from AIDS, you can still understand and relate to the human drive to live. All the actors deliver gripping performances that will stay with the audience long after leaving the theater. This movie leaves a lasting impression on the audience, speaks to real, raw human emotions and reflects on human behavior, which is only part of the reason it has received such critical acclaim. I look forward to seeing how many statues this movie brings home on Oscar night. Don't miss the show in a little over a month, March 2nd on ABC.