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Watching "Dallas Buyers Club"
Published on December 10, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I review the new film "Dallas Buyers Club."

Here's an excerpt:

"The new film 'Dallas Buyers Club' isn’t the best film of the year, and I doubt most critics would give rank it among their favorite films of the year. And when I walked out of the theater, I would have been inclined to agree with them. 'Well, that was pretty good,' I said, damning it with faint praise. But a day later, I’m still thinking about the 'Dallas Buyers Club.' I still feel attached to its characters. If DBC isn’t one of the best films of the year, well, it’s certainly one of the most affecting.

'Dallas Buyers Club' is anchored by two amazing performances. Matthew McConaughey is Ron Woodruff, a hard-partying electrician/rodeo rider diagnosed with AIDS and told he has just 30 days to live. Jared Leto plays Rayon, a transgender woman who becomes his unlikely business partner.

After a middling career filled with unforgettable parts, McConaughey is in the midst of a career renaissance, and Ron Woodruff is one of his most memorable roles. Jared Leto has always been a good actor (I loved him in 2000’s 'Requiem for a Dream'), but he hasn’t always had a chance to prove it. I’m hoping he wins an Oscar for his work as Rayon, and is rewarded with a McConaughey-like career resurgence. I’m not just praising Leto for making a risky career choice. His Rayon is full-fledged individual, sweet, funny, sad and tough. Together, he and McConaughey make for one of the more compelling cinematic odd couples of 2013.

Based on a true story, 'Dallas Buyers Club' is set in the early days of the AIDS crisis, when the disease was mainly restricted to gay men and intravenous drug users. Woodruff is a homophobe and a bigot; when he’s first diagnosed with AIDS, his reaction is one of disbelief and denial. But he doesn’t want to die, and begins researching the disease and treatment options, which are minimal; AZT, which he’s told is the most promising drug, is only available to patients enrolled in a trial. Woodruff seeks help from a doctor in Mexico, where he learns of other, promising drugs that haven’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. It isn’t long before he’s importing these drugs back over the border and providing them to AIDS patients, making an enemy of the FDA and the medical establishment.

Click here to read the whole thing.

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