McConaughey’s Deep Dallas Performance

Dallas Buyers Club displays the actor’s hidden talent and leaves audience touched

Based on the true story of Ron Woodroof’s efforts to distribute medication to treat AIDS in the 1980s, the latest Matthew McConaughey film “Dallas Buyers Club” plays out with the vivacity that the story calls for.

Mcconaughey plays Woodroof, an electrician living in a small town in Texas. He lives a lazy, drug-filled life, earning extra money by betting at the rodeo and otherwise trying to woo women back to his trailer. After an accident puts him in the hospital, he finds out he has AIDS and only 30 days to live.

Homophobic, Woodroof refuses to believe the diagnosis at first. But after some research, he realizes the gravity of the situation and seeks medical care. He comes across AZT, the only medication approved by the FDA. After the medication almost kills him, he travels to Mexico to pick up a safer medication that treats the disease, but it is not allowed in the United States. Out of his frustration, Woodroof forms the Dallas Buyers Club, where he gathers AIDS medication from around the world and distributes it to AIDS patients in the Dallas area.

Woodroof’s diagnosis marks a turning point in his life, allowing him to progress past his carefree existence riddled with easily replaceable and largely meaningless belongings and friendships. His AIDS diagnosis might be what’s killing his body, but it very well may have saved his soul.

A touching mark of his transformation comes in his approach to the gay community, as his interactions with other people suffering from the disease help him to become more open-minded. He even becomes business partners with a man named Rayon (Jared Leto), who dresses in drag.

The true story behind the movie gives the plot an impactful punch. With an appropriate setting, cinematographers had a chance to really shine in this film. McConaughey, however, truly makes the whole movie come together. An already fit person, he even dropped more than 40 pounds for the role to make a believable AIDS-stricken man. He goes above and beyond for this role, greatly exceeding any expectations generated by his previous light-hearted performances in “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” and “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days.”

McConaughey’s performance was complemented by smooth writing and skilled cinematography, ensuring the film moved with graceful depth, rather than standing as a static historic drama.

“Dallas Buyers Club” is as an informative, intriguing take on the AIDS epidemic in the ‘80s, the homophobia surrounding it and the steps taken to find treatment. But it also embodies what a good movie should be — interesting and applicable to the point where I left the theater feeling touched and changed.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Published December 5, 2013 in Arts and Entertainment, tableau

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