Who is in it?
Mathew “one day I’m an oiled up stripper in Florida, next I’m a homophobic Texan” McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto
What is it about?
Ron Woodruff is diagnosed with HIV in the 80s when treatments were few and far between and experimental. He begins a self-serving crusade to prolong his life by any means necessary and as he learns more about his disease and sees a chance at finding a better treatment he meets bureaucracy and opposition. He begins to draw scrutiny on the drugs companies bad practices as well as offering hope to fellow sufferers.
Why did I want to watch it?
To give a new answer – this is the kind of Indie film I find intriguing, based on a true story, the little man fighting a big corporation rather than submitting quietly to his fate. Old answer – because I try and watch as many Oscar nominated films as possible, like a crazy obsessed fiend.
Did I like it?
Yes. It was nicely done, not too overblown with the dramatic aspects of the plot, non-judgmental about how the characters came to be HIV sufferers and felt very real. In particular the way Ron reacts to his condition and the reactions of his friends is portrayed incredibly movingly.
Can we talk about Jennifer Garner for a little while? She isn’t getting any of the plaudits but her sedate, serious performance was utterly charming. Jared Leto is also fascinating as Ray, completely self possessed but utterly vulnerable.
Should you watch it?
It’s a touching character portrait, I would definitely recommend it on dvd if you don’t get a chance to catch it at the cinema.
Does it pass the Bechdel Test?
I say yes. There are some interesting comments on the site: http://bechdeltest.com/view/4660/dallas_buyers_club/
My view is that Ray is a woman, as this is the gender she self identifies with. There is a line at one point which suggests she is a pre op transexual, but since she has clearly begun the transgender process she passes the test on all 3 criteria.
Other films it reminds me of:
Philadelphia meets Brokeback Mountain meets Magic Mike!
Watch this instead/as well/before/after:
Mathew McConnaghey’s SAG and golden Globes acceptance speeches. They are hilariously random.