Oscar Movie Review: Dallas Buyers Club

Hi, everybody! If you’re not too busy buying last minute gifts for your significant other(s), I have a movie review to check out!

Hoping that I picked a nice, easy to swallow, possibly romantic Oscar movie to review for Valentine’s Day, like Her or Frozen?


Dallas Buyers Club

 Directed by: Jean-Marc Valee

Produced by: Robbie Brenner, Nathan Ross, Rachel Rothman

Written by: Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack

Genre: Biographical Drama

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto

Other actors: Steve Zahn, Griffin Dunne, Dennis O’Hare, Dallas Roberts, Michael O’Neill

Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey), Best Supporting Actor (Jared Leto), Best Original Screenplay, Best Makeup and Hair-styling, Best Film Editing

Plot: Dateline: Dallas, 1985. Ron Woodroof (McConaughey) is living the high life. Or, you know, as much of a high life that a poor, cocaine-abusing redneck working as a rodeo cowboy and an electrician could possibly live. However, despite living on the ass end of the poverty scale, he lives a pretty carefree lifestyle,  complete with banging lots of different women, macho posturing and good’ole 80’s homophobia. That’s why he takes it so hard when he discovers that he has been diagnosed with AIDS and is given a month to live (In those days, it was a common misconception that gay people were the only ones at risk for HIV and/or AIDS).

When he can’t get his hands on some AZT (An antiviral that was supposed to prolong the lives of AIDS patients), he smuggles some in with help from a hospital worker. However, the AZT doesn’t work (And his cocaine habit isn’t helping) and he’s checked into the hospital, where he meets both Dr. Eve Saks (Garner), who is sympathetic to his plight and Rayon (Leto), an HIV positive  transgender woman, towards whom he is irrationally hostile.

Frustrated with the care he is receiving, Ron drives across the border to Mexico to see a sketchy doctor (One of Mexico’s leading tourist attractions), who gives him a crap-load of drugs that actually work, but who have not approval from the Food and Drug Administration to be used in the United States. Back in the States with his drugs, Mr. Woodroof reluctantly teams up with Rayon to form the “Dallas Buyers Club”, where AIDS patients pay 400$ a month and, in exchange, receive all the medication they need.

While the story is based off of real events, the screenplay is completely original, and it and the plot are airtight. The movie was so engrossing that its (relatively) short 116 minute run-time felt long, not because I was in agony, but because I was so intent on seeing how everything was gonna go down.

Also, how is it that director (And my fellow Canadian) Jean-Marc Vallee wasn’t nominated for Best Director? The care taken in each of these shots is damn near perfect.

The script was downright amazing. It was funny when it needed to be, dramatic when it needed to be, and heartbreaking when it needed to be, although that may be more a result of…

The Incredible Acting: Wow. Just. Wow.

My first experience watching Matthew McConaughey on film was his supporting role in Tropic Thunder. After the 106 minutes  of hilarity that that movie brought, I found myself thinking back to his performance (For some reason) and thinking: “Sure, he was pretty funny…but can he play a dying, sickly, inhumanely skinny AIDS patient?”

You’re welcome, planet Earth.

As for his support (Leto and Garner), they both did fantastic jobs as well, especially Leto (Who you may recognize under all that makeup as being the lead singer of 30 Seconds to Mars) as the tragic figure that is Rayon. Garner was excellent as well, and  definitely should have been at least seriously considered for an Oscar nod.

What Oscar Nominations Does It Deserve?:

  • Best Film Editing: Sure, the editing of the…um…shots and the pacing was…great? I’m not that sure what editing is, you guys.
  • Best Makeup and Hair-styling: Yes, if only for the work they did with Jared Leto.

  • Best Original Screenplay: Yep.
  • Best Supporting Actor (Jared Leto): Hell yeah!
  • Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey): Man, we’ve come a long way from Dazed and Confused, haven’t we? Yeah, he deserves it.

Overall Opinion:

It’s not often that I can safely call a film perfect, and, if I looked hard enough, I could probably find something to quibble about, but I don’t feel like it, so congratulations to everybody involved with this film (Especially McConaughey and Leto), because I’m gonna go ahead and give it my highest possible recommendation. 

Overall Rating: 10/10

(On an unrelated note, if I ever have to type the word “McConaughey’ again, it’ll be way too fucking soon.)