directed by Jean-Marc Vallée
I have written before about the spectacular McRenaissance of one Mr Matthew McConaughey, emerging from the romcom ruins with a breathtaking string of performances that will forever cement his place among the ranks of Hollywood greats (I always knew this was the case, Mr McC, but I’m still thrilled). It all started with The Lincoln Lawyer, then Bernie, then Killer Joe, then The Paperboy, Mud- you can scroll his IMDb page for the rest of his contemporary wonders, and rest assured he is bringing nothing short of his finest work to the biopic Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, a hard living electrician who learns he has contracted the HIV virus. In his 1985 Texas world of bull riders and macho scumbags, Woodroof’s diagnosis is both a death sentence and a scarlet letter alienating him from his social circles, dooming him to embittered loneliness. But Woodroof is a fighter, a hustler who won’t even let the long odds of a 30 day life expectancy prevent him from making his own luck. An encounter with another face of the HIV epidemic, Rayon (played by a brilliant and breezy Jared Leto), combined with his own wherewithal gives Woodroof both the direction and the motivation to fight back. Sure, Woodroof is mostly out to make money and stave off his own death for as long as possible, flipping the FDA and Big Medicine the bird along the way, but what unfurls is a matter of fact and poignantly gripping story. No one can do the quietly fierce, delicate yet strong high wire act like Jennifer Garner, who is amazing as Eve, one of Woodroof’s few friends outside of his “activist” circle. Dallas Buyers Club is a glimpse into an epochal moment in our country through the keyhole of one man’s refusal to lie down, and Jean-Marc Vallée’s superb film is a sure fire classic.