For someone like me, November is one of the most wonderful times of the year. It mean Thanksgiving, family, lolz, and the official beginning of Oscar Season.
Dallas Buyers Club (2013) stars Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, and Jennifer Garner. McConaughey plays electrician, Ron Woodroof, in 1985 Dallas who is diagnosed with HIV and eventually AIDS. He goes on a mission to help other AIDS victims get proper treatment regardless of FDA approvals and government regulations. Jared Leto plays Rayon, a homosexual transvestite who partners up with McConaughey for their cause; and Jennifer Garner plays a doctor who frequently sees and cares for both characters.
The best part about Oscar Season is you get the films that are completely character driven and story oriented. Not that I have anything against your summer blockbuster with explosions, hot girls, fast cars, etc. It’s just there can be so much more to that when it comes to movies. Dallas Buyers Club is a prime example of this.
Everyone in this film gives incredible performances. I acknowledge the fact that McConaughey lost an absurd amount of weight for this role, and you certainly see it in his face. He looks horrid, for lack of a better term. Also what struck me about his character is that he is indeed a homophobic who consistently insults the gay community and denies tooth and nail that just because he has AIDS that he is not gay, as if there was something wrong with being gay. Even when he is dealing out drugs to gays, he shows no affection towards them. The only thing he has in common with these people in his eyes is their disease; other than that he wants nothing to do with them. His passion though to help these people is what makes his character so driven. He goes across the border to Mexico to smuggle these drugs, he flies to Japan and other countries to negotiate, and he does it all to survive and prove a point that the FDA is wrong for trying to shut him down. What’s truly sad is that this is happening today, almost thirty years later. There are drugs and medication on the other side of the world that the FDA will not allow in this country and it is causing a great disadvantage to not only AIDS victims, but victims of other diseases as well. However that’s a blog post for a different day.
Jared Leto as Rayon was the ying to McConaughey’s yang. He was the counterbalance for Ron and the movie’s themes. If there was one exception to Woodroof’s morals it was Rayon. However even then, he would openly insult him for his orientation and fashion sense. To say Jared Leto owns this role is an understatement. To say he was one of the top two reasons this movie thrived is an even bigger understatement. His transformation into this character is actually unbelievable. Had you not told me Jared Leto was in this movie, I would not have known until the credits rolled and I saw his name and shouted, “I KNEW that was him!” The 30 Seconds to Mars singer has come a long way since his heroine days as Harry Goldfarb in Requiem for a Dream (2000). I have no doubt in my mind that Leto will get nominated for supporting actor and as of now I hope he wins.
Jennifer Garner did well in this movie, finding difficulty to draw the line between patient and friend; but I can’t help but feel she may have brought the movie down a tad. It’s not that she wasn’t convincing. She’s a very ranged actress, it’s just I was so encompassed by what was happening between Ron and Rayon that I feel she was there so the audience could take a breather and collect their thoughts. It’s not like she was bland to the level of Russel Crowe circa Les Misérables (2012). It’s just if you HAD to vote someone off the island, it’d be her.
I enjoyed the choices the director, Jean-Marc Vallée made when it came to just how the movie was shot. A few quick cuts here and their that helped reveal different fundamentals to the characters. The shots were quick and not to lingering, and it helped move the story forward.
Dallas Buyers Club is actually a heart wrenching movie about beating the odds and doing whatever it takes to help others in need despite how you may feel about their race or sexual orientation. It’s a cut and dry story that will not necessarily keep you on the edge of your seat, but will keep you in it to see where these characters end up by the end.
Overall Rating: 8/10 – Great
Strong story brought to life by great acting (Especially Jared Leto). Jennifer Garner wasn’t terrible, she was just overshadowed by McConaughey and Leto. It has some fun moments and a lot of sad moments; but it’s worth seeing and a great start for me to Oscar Season.