Dallas Buyers Club
2013
****½
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Denis O’Hare, Steve Zahn, Michael O’Neill, Dallas Roberts, Griffin Dunne, Kevin Rankin

In 1985, Ron Woodroof is diagnosed with HIV and given 30 days to live. It’s the early days for AIDS, and he is shocked to discover that he does not have access to all available medication. To circumvent the FDA rules, he sets up a club and begins to import more effective drugs to himself and his fellow patients. Matthew McConaughey continues his comeback from romcom hell with another brilliant performance. His Woodroof is a redneck macho who gradually tranforms from an antagonistic homophobe to an open-minded pragmatist. Jared Leto, as his transsexual business partner Rayon, turns a potential caricature into a heartbreaking figure. Both actors deservedly won Academy Awards. The story is based on real-life events (Garner’s and Leto’s characters are composites of actual people), and in the wrong hands it could have ended up as a syrupy feelgood film. However, Jean-Marc Vallée’s drama is nicely edgy, consistently gripping, and often really funny.