Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew McConaughey has had something of a career boost in the last couple of years, ditching the bad rom-coms and reminding us that he can act. This journey seems to be hitting its peak with Dallas Buyers Club, possibly set to give McConaughey his first Oscar.

The film is set in Dallas 1985, when Ron Woodroof (McConaughey) is told he is HIV positive and has 30 days to live. Not prepared to just give up and die Woodroof does whatever he can to prolong his life which leads him to a Mexican hospital that provided non FDA approved drugs that seem to be working. He realizes he can make some money importing and selling these drugs to other patients bringing him into direct conflict with the FDA.

McConaughey and Jennifer Garner have managed to redeemed themselves for their previous film together Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, and Dallas Buyers Club is a much better film than that dud. But it also feels a rather average film at times. Its not one that I feel I would need to see again anytime soon, nor did it ever hit me emotionally like fellow Oscar nominee 12 Years a Slave did. The film just rumbles along as you expect, being predictable in the way it tells you this story. It’s odd that an amazing true story brings about an average film.

However what is outstanding are the performances. McConaughey has rightly been praised for his role. When we are first introduced to Woodroof he is not immediately a character you warm to with his homophobia and hostile nature, and though he goes through some changes after his diagnosis he doesn’t necessarily come over as likeable even if he becomes more sympathetic. His reasons for bringing the drugs to Dallas is to make money, saving lives is more of an afterthought. It’s refreshing that Woodroof isn’t made to be some sort of saint even though he does good things. At first what you notice about McConaughey’s is his massive weight loss, however you soon get drawn into his performance as Woodroof and can’t help but admire his determination not to fade away like the doctors expect of him.  

Just like McConaughey, Jared Leto gives a great performance as Reyon, a transgendered HIV positive patient who becomes Woodroof’s business partner. Knowing that Reyon wasn’t a real person but one created for the film does perhaps lessen the impact of her plight some what, however there’s no denying that Leto gives a mesmerizing performance, and you hope he doesn’t have another seven year break before his next acting role. Although she hasn’t had as much attention as her male co-stars Garner also gives a sterling performance as the sympathetic doctor to Reyan and Woodroof.

It’s easy to see why it’s the performances rather than the filmmaking that has been gathering attention this award season. Go see it for the amazing performances but don’t be surprise if the story doesn’t grab you in the way it should.

Rating 3/5 –could be an Oscar on the way for the fabulous McConoughey in this otherwise average movie

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Dallas Buyers Club

  1. Definitely agree that the performances are better than the film but I still thoroughly enjoyed this one. Nice review!

  2. Leto and McConaughey make this film so much more worth checking out. Not that the movie itself is at all bad, it’s just clear that the director wanted this movie to solely depend on the actor’s, and not much else. Good review Lauren.

  3. Fully agreed. The film isn’t as great as its performances from McConaughey & Leto. Good review as always, Lauren 🙂

    And speaking of McConaughey, do you watch True Detective? 😛

    • Thanks very much.

      No I haven’t seen True Detective yet but I really want to. I’ll probably get it when it comes out on DVD so I can watch it all in one go. I’ve heard so many good things about it I’ll just have to watch out for spoilers.

      • Wish I had that much patience 😛

        2013 has kind of resurrected McConaughey completely. And he’s only reveling in 2014, starting with True Detective… Not to forget his upcoming role in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, later this year.

      • I cannot wait for Interstellar. Nolan + McConaughey is hopefully going to be amazing.

  4. Hi Lauren great review yo. I seem to be one of the few people that didn’t think it was that average, but like you said it was probably due to the insanely good performances from McConaughey and Leto, they were captivating and brilliant. Besides the great performances, I think I was really interested in teh subject matter about STDs and people’s opinions on it, it reminded me of Philadelphia.

    • It was odd becuase I enjoyed the performances and all the issues surrounding the FDA’s attempt to quiet Woodroof were interesting but I wasn’t overwhelmed wiht emotion like I was for Philadelphia.

  5. Great review! I loved how both Matthew & Jared got into the roles so drastically! There is certainly Oscar written all over this one, but we shall see.

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