Dallas Buyers Club follows the plight of Ron Woodroof, an electrician and rodeo cowboy, who is diagnosed with AIDS in 1985 and told he only has 30 days to live. After going through a bout of denial about the diagnosis, he soon finds himself ostracized and evicted from his home. At a hospital, he is told that there is a test on a new treatment for AIDS, a medicine called AZT. After bribing a hospital worker, he acquires some of this medicine, but finds his health getting more rapidly worse immediately after.
Ron travels to Mexico to get his hands on some more AZT, but a doctor at that hospital tells him that the medicine is really poisonous, and suggests instead a combo of other medicines, ddC and peptide T, a protein. These aren’t approved for sale in the US, but they’re also not illegal to possess, and after he finds his health rebounding, he realizes that he could make a bundle on smuggling these drugs into those in need.
A burgeoning friendship with an HIV-positive trans woman named Rayon (Jared Leto) leads to more business, and the two soon start up the “Dallas Buyers Club”, which circumvents the law by having a monthly membership fee, and includes the meds as a bonus. The rest of the film charts the duo’s run-ins with the law and their struggle to keep each other alive, as Ron learns to have a bit more compassion to those from alternate lifestyles.
“The film manages to educate without ever feeling didactic, and to entertain in the face of what would, to any other character, seem like a grim life sentence.”
“This is a bold, drastic and utterly persuasive inhabiting of a doomed fighter by a performer who has graduated from the shirtless rom-com Romeo of the last decade to indie-film actor du jour.”
“The realness of the film comes in the form of the forgotten panic, frustration, and desperation that arose out of the regulations passed by the FDA gate-keepers of the eighties to keep experimental drugs from the market while people were dying of the disease in record numbers.”
— Claire-Renee Kohner, Gay Essential
Did You Know?
The story of Dallas Buyers Club is inspired by the real-life story of Rod Woodroof, although the characters of Rayon and Dr. Eve are fictional. Amazingly, the film also won an Oscar for best makeup and hair, despite having only a $250 budget for makeup. In the run-up to and the aftermath of the film’s release, the most talked-about aspect was the dramatic weight loss of both of the lead actors; McConaughey lost 47 pounds, and Leto lost 30 for the role. Review our Gay Themed Films Here
Read our Film Review Dallas Buyers Club