In 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is himself diagnosed with the disease.
Smuggled spoilers ahead.
In 1985, when people still didn’t know much about AIDS and AST was being introduced in the market, Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) finds out that he has contracted the disease. He begs Dr. Eve (Jennifer Garner) about some experimental drug called AST, which she refuses to give to him as the drug is still in tests. Through some connections, he ends up in Mexico, getting drugs still not approved by the American government from Dr. Vass (Griffin Dunne). Finding out how many drugs Dr. Vass has, he start to smuggle them into US, founds a “club” called “The Dallas Buyers Club” with trangender Rayon (Jared Leto), which specializes in smuggling non-approved drugs to those willing to pay US$ 400 per month.
And that’s basically it, I guess. There isn’t much more “story” that could be considered the main plot.
Thing is, this movie had a lot of talks about (including the nominations for the Oscars — some which it won) and that’s basically the story: one guy finds he has AIDS, can’t get the only medicine known at the time, doctors put him down ’cause it is still in tests, guy buys drugs illegally, guy gets kicked by smuggler and is send to Mexico, guy finds new therapy that actually works and discovers the government is slow in approving said drugs, guy goes back to the US to sell said drugs, guy creates club to sell unapproved — but functional — drugs to those who pay, government shuts down guy business, guy fights government, guy gets law approved for unapproved drugs for people without hope.
One thing I can’t get around is why McConaughey won an Oscar for his acting. I mean, it’s not impressive, he’s basically just doing the same character he always does, with a stronger Texan accent this time. Actually, I think his interpretation of Woodroof actually damages the person (at least, if you go into pure “Hollywoodian characters” and try to make a bad-guy-becomes-good-guy): He doesn’t seem to accept gays after being a strong homophobic in the start of the movie, he simply has to work with one because hey, it’s money; his denial of selling drugs to someone with less than the $400 required by his own club and later selling his car to buy more drugs simply doesn’t add up. Of course, maybe the real Woodroof did all those and the real Woodroof was a bad-guy-becomes-good-guy, but the fact is that acting… doesn’t add up. Either he was always a dick — which McConaughey acting doesn’t make him be in the end — or he actually changed — which, again, McConaughey acting doesn’t make him be in the end.
Leto and Garner, on the other hand, were exceptional in the movie. Leto is unrecognizable either by his posture and by his voice in the movie. Garner also does an absolute good job in the role of the doctor who is seeing hospitals doing things for money instead of actually helping people, feeling trapped in the mist of red tape.
I’m a sucker for “based on real stories” movies, so I’ll give it 8 out of 10 approved drugs in the end.