Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Do you remember the fear, homophobia, and death that AIDS brought to the United States in the mid-eighties? If you don’t then there is no better way of driving home the harsh reality of the disease in it’s infancy than a movie like Dallas Buyer’s Club. Jared Leto. Matthew McConaughey, and Jennifer Garner mix it up to issue forth a performance that will have you laughing one second and crying the next. There are realistic movies and then there are movies about the sad side of the human experience and this ranks as the latter. It is a must-see for just about anyone and while it chronicles the life of a real man who lived, died, and fought back against AIDS, it is a great film to bring about awareness in an age where we have forgotten.
Dallas Buyers Club had an interesting dynamic with it’s characters that made the movie great in my opinion. We all know the drastic weight-loss and transformation that both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto underwent to play their roles—and drastic is an understatement—but what made each of their roles brilliant was how it came together. McConaughey plays Rob Woodroof, a Texas good ‘ol boy who loves bull fighting, gambling, and sleeping with women. Woodroof’s skeletal frame, cowboy toughness, and racist mouth would be otherwise hate-worthy if not for his character’s amazing charm and charisma. You can’t help but feel for him as the movie progresses and his condition worsens even when he is saying and doing the worst things.
Leto plays the hell out of a trans-man named Rayon who is the living definition of the sad clown. The thing that gets you about Rayon however is that Leto’s acting is so absolutely perfect that you will either be crying by the end of the movie, or feeling extremely sorry for his situation. Of all the “acts” within Dallas Buyers Club, Leto for me was the king.
To balance off the dark, scary reality of AIDS and the visual sickness in the lead character we are given a beautiful, and healthy Jennifer Garner as Eve. I am not sure if it was done this way on purpose but everyone in Dallas Buyers Club is ugly and dirty—even her fellow doctors—so Eve stuck out with her near flawless skin, and cheerful demeanor. Acting-wise it probably could have been any pretty face in the role to be quite honest but I think that the choice to make her stand out made a lot of sense for the story.
Where the acting and the portrayals puts Dallas Buyers Club in another league, the lengthy pacing became noticeable when a lot of focus was placed on minutiae. The relationship between the main characters was developed beautifully but it became overkill towards the middle of the two hours of film. This wasn’t enough to put me off of giving it high scores however as the emotion it brings about in us as viewers, the respect paid to Rob Woodroof—despite showing many of the negative aspects of his life, and the performances just make it a fully loaded experience.