It’s no wonder that Mathew McConaughey took home Best Actor at the Oscars for his raw performance in Jean- Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club, if you’ve seen the film before. Thirty Seconds to Mars front man Jared Leto saw a great opportunity in a role that landed him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. I finally came along to seeing this movie with great pleasure at a local non-profit cinema in Nashville called the Belcourt Theater.
This biographical drama follows electrician/rodeo rider Ron Woodruff, a rugged and foul homophobic man who’s dirty behaviors led him to test HIV positive and come face to face with his reality. As Ron’s devil-may-care attitude comes to a halt, he realizes the depth of his circumstance with the doctor telling him he only has thirty days left to live. He battles desperation, and looks for top of the line treatments of any kind, even if they are illegal/unapproved. And so his ideas skyrocket. He finds not only a business partner, but a friend in fellow HIV battler Rayon, portrayed by Jared Leto, a transsexual who’s heart is in the right place.
I was never moved much by the roles McConaughey has taken in the past, given that they were mostly rom-coms that never interested me anyway. This one however is strikingly different and much more charismatic. I have to point out how McConaughey took this role in the manner he did. Like many actors before, you see someone go to great lengths to look the part. McConaughey and Leto supposedly each lost forty pounds to portray the faces of HIV in this eye-opening movie. With a film like this one, it’s safe to say that that Oscar win wasn’t because of the actor’s withering physical shape, but for the performance of a lifetime that flourished with it. The realism in the film is astonishing. I was wrapped into all 117 minutes of it, and came out of that theater saying, “Wow, now that’s inspiring.” The emotional aspect of the film was really touching. These characters are fighting for the truth, their rights, and they made a mark doing it.
I went into this film thinking it was gonna have it’s dense moments and empty dialogues, but I’m surprised with how much every scene meant to the story. Everything sort of came together: the drugs, the breakdowns, and even its silly moments all made the film whole. Not going to lie, I cried a bit during some parts, because sometimes you get those scenes that are so heart-breaking after all you’ve seen. I’d recommend Dallas Buyers Club, definitely. Don’t think it’d be a weird movie to see judging by what you’ve heard or even by the storyline, because you’re wrong. This film is timeless and it will teach you a thing or two about dignity and the dare to live.