If you have ever watched the Oscars, then you know that there are usually a few nominated films that might have escaped your notice. Maybe they weren’t playing in a theater near you. Maybe they seemed kind of boring. Don’t let Dallas Buyers Club be one of those films.
Dallas Buyers Club tells the story of Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), a Texan electrician and wild child who discovers that he has HIV in 1985. His doctors tell him he has thirty days to live. Determined to prove his physicians wrong and convinced that the only FDA-approved HIV medication is toxic, Woodroof dedicates himself to finding alternative medications and sets up a “buyers club” in which other HIV positive patients can get the drugs he has smuggled into the United States as long as they are willing to the price.
Let me warn you: you need to be in a good place emotionally before you go see this film. In the first thirty days of Woodroof’s journey, there isn’t much hope. The actors’ bodies are stripped down to the bare minimum; McConaughey and Jared Leto are nearly skeletal. The shots lack color. The film leaves no doubts regarding how bleak an HIV diagnosis was back then. However, it also shows how the diagnosis made unlikely friendships possible. A bright spot in the film is the friendship between Woodroof, a former homophobe, and Rayon, a transgender woman, who has also been diagnosed with HIV. Despite their initial dislike for one another, they begin to take care of and support each other. The film’s true takeaway lies not in the bleakness, but in the moments that suggest there will always be someone there for us, even when we feel incredibly alone and are ready to completely give up. Dallas Buyers Club is a film that will grab you and won’t let you go until the final words fade from the screen. Don’t miss it.