I had heard high praised for Dallas Buyers Club before it was released to the public and remained a little skeptical. Small bit of information before I begin my review; my uncle died of AIDS nearly eight years ago and saw his final days. The gruesome, depressing depletion of a human being dying of a deadly disease. This made me apprehensive about seeing a film that I knew would strike home, but I don’t regret a single second of the film.
Dallas Buyers Club opened up and introduced a very narrow minded Ron Woodruff. It was shocking to see a very thin and almost unrecognizable Matthew McConaughey. Seeing it in previews and photos was nothing compared to seeing him in action. His descent into the reality of facing HIV/AIDS was raw and powerful. His co-workers and so-called friends segregated because of the fear of the disease with little being known about it at the time. Research on the disease and treatment were still ongoing with testings of heavy doses of AZT.
The judgment upon Woodruff was impressed because by reputation AIDS/HIV was only spread among homosexuals and drug addicts. He goes into the world of drugs briefly to escape the reality of his disease. Woodruff submerges himself into the research of alternate methods for AZT when he is denied when wanting to join in the test subjects for AZT. He discovers the HIV/AIDS virus is also transmitted through unprotected sex and is the root of his disease.
Along the way he meets the eccentric and genuinely sweet transgender Rayon. At this point Woodruff is extremely homophobic. Rayon is portrayed by Jared Leto, starved to the bone for the role, and nearly unrecognizable. Rayon is not innocent by any means – drug addicted and dying of AIDS/HIV. Despite it all, Rayon is the shining beacon of light. The humour and the heart of it all. If Rayon had been portrayed by anyone else, it would have been injustice. She makes Woodruff look past his homophobia and make him look at things in a new light.
The most heartbreaking scene was between Rayon and her father. Then the speech in front of the mirror. It all struck me harder due to my own experiences and seeing someone personally dying of AIDS. The breakdown of everyone after Rayon’s downfall was powerful. It struck harder than I’d expected. She changes Woodruff in unexpected ways.
In short, this is a beautifully made film that makes one think. It makes you think about what you choose to bring into your own body and the effects it has on you. It makes you want to review the history of AIDS/HIV and the strives it has made.
It is eyeopening and brilliant. It really made me think. In fact, I am seeing it again within the next week.
I give this film five stars out of five.
This film is currently in limited showings. I happened to be lucky enough to view it in Dallas, Texas of all places.
Rated R for language, adult content, drug use and nudity.