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Dallas Buyers Club - Film Review

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by Jenny Pickett (subscribe)
I enjoy making the most of life's experiences, exploring what Adelaide has to offer and sharing my experiences and discoveries with others via WeekendNotes!
Published February 16th 2014
Ron Woodroof, AIDS, Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Oscars, 86th Academy Awards, Jennifer Garner, Dallas Buyers Club
A solid cast brings 'Dallas Buyers Club' to life (pictured left to right: Jennifer Garner as Dr Eve Saks, Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof & Jared Leto as Rayon) Image courtesy & copyright of

This week saw the Australian cinematic release of Dallas Buyers Club which was masterfully written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and with a solid cast (featuring Matthew McConaughey who's currently gracing the screens in a number of other major releases including The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle).

Dallas Buyers Club is based on the real life experiences of Ron Woodroof who lost his battle with AIDS on 12 September 1992 (but not without a fight of a different kind).

Newly diagnosed with AIDS after having plentiful unprotected sex and told he had just 30 days to live, Ron Woodroof literally turned his prognosis and life around with no thanks to the controversially FDA approved AZT. The miracle drugs that prolong Ron's life are soon sourced from over the border, in Mexico, from a knowledgeable Dr Vass (Griffin Dunne) who sets Ron on the path to recovery, opening up the channels for a massive distribution network back in Dallas, Texas.

In his interview with Jake Hamilton, Matthew McConaughey aptly describes Ron's character and achievements in his final years of life; "He's kinda wandering – looking for some purpose in life… what inversely happened is getting HIV is what gave him purpose – something to fight for 24/7..."

Ron Woodroof, Dallas Buyers Club, AIDS, Dallas, Texas, FDA, Mexico, 86th Academy Awards, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, cinema, movie release, Matthew McConaughey
Ron Woodroof turned his life around for the better – one of his more famous quotes 'I am my own physician' proved the faith he had in himself and provided to others in their fight with AIDS. (Image courtesy & copyright of

Even though Matthew could never meet the real Ron, he was able to access a wealth of material to create his portrayal of Ron, including access to Ron's massive diary, which included detailed records of his financials, dreams, thoughts and frustrations. Matthew also spent time with Ron's family, watching home movie footage and gaining an in depth knowledge of the founder of the Dallas Buyers Club.

[ADVERT]Jared Leto (lead singer of 30 Seconds to Mars) is a stand-out. I'd heard of the name but never seen the face – what an introduction! One look at those intense eyes and there's no doubting under all that feminine transgender charm is hunky Jared.

In his interview (with Jake Hamilton) Jared articulately explains that as Rayon, "I did everything I could to contribute – do the best job that I could to represent this community (transgender people) and I really wanted to create a dignified human being and not a cliché... I went through a transformation inside and out… intent on playing a real human being..." Jared's performance is testimony to his comments.

One of my favourite lines from the movie comes during one of the many frequent FDA raids on Ron's establishment; when Ron is challenged with the legality of his business he calmly states,"I ain't selling drugs, I'm selling memberships."

At times it is easy to feel compassion for the rabble-rousing Ron, especially watching him turn to mush, giving flowers (of a different kind) to his respected and adored physician Dr Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner).

With six nominations (including 'Best Film', 'Actor in a Leading Role' and 'Actor in a Supporting Role') in the upcoming 86th Academy Awards (2 March 2014) – I'm confident Dallas Buyers Club will be a winner in every sense.
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Why? An inspiring true story with award winning acting
Where: Screening in selected Australian cinemas from 13/02/2014
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