Monday, April 7, 2014

"Dallas Buyers Club"



I love movies. I love the ones that make you think, make you feel, and leave you a little bit different from the person you were when you sat down to watch it. I was expecting all this when I saw Dallas Buyers Club; I knew that the story about Ron Woodroof, a man who finds out he is HIV positive in 1985 and works around the system to get medicines that work for himself and other people who are suffering, would be a heavy one, and I heard from the award season buzz that the performances by Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto would be inspiring, and I was not at all disappointed.

Good characters make the whole film, and that’s exactly what stuck with me long after I watched it. Woodroof’s story begins with his life as an electrician in Dallas, indulging in drugs, gambling and women. Woodroof continues thinking he has nothing to lose; that is, until he does lose something: his health. He comes dangerously close to death and is given only thirty days to live. But with Woodroof's fighting spirit, he spends his time doing research. He rejects the only drug available to AIDS patients, "AZT" when he finds out the side effects are nearly as bad as the disease. Instead, he smuggles alternative treatments from Mexico into the U.S. When Woodroof realizes he can make a business out of it, the "Dallas Buyers Club" is born.

Woodroof’s arc as a character is really spectacular. He’s a larger than life character, so reckless and determined you might mistake him as purely brash. In opposition, viewers see his fears, vulnerability, and the way he truly comes to care for his business partner, Rayon, a transsexual AIDS sufferer who acts as a liaison between Woodroof and his prospective clients, who he does not treat kindly in the beginning. There was some controversy over Leto’s portrayal of Rayon, since some believed he wasn’t able to fully understand the struggle of his character. Luckily, Leto is a very good actor, and I thought he played Rayon beautifully, with a tragic stoicism that becomes very poignant later on.

                              

The story of a man who flips the bird to a failing system to help himself and others is a compelling one, but it’s the characters of Dallas Buyers Club that are most memorable, and if only for that this is a film I highly recommend.

-Elizabeth Coluccio

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