Click|keyword[Matthew+McConaughey]" >Matthew McConaughey lost 40 pounds to play AIDS victim, entrepreneur, and ad hoc activist Click|keyword[Ron+Woodruff]" >Ron Woodruff in Dallas Buyers Club
was a real person, an electrician from Dallas who was diagnosed with HIV
in 1985 - he'd contracted the virus from a forgotten heterosexual encounter - and given 30 days to live.
Dallas Buyers Club
, directed by Click|keyword[Jean-Marc+Vallee]" >Jean-Marc Vallée, shows how Woodruff
fought the illness: Unable to partake in a clinical trial of the then-experimental AZT, he
began obtaining the drug through back channels.
began importing other drugs from Mexico and elsewhere, selling them at a profit to those in need, and also using them to keep himself alive.
had seen AIDS as "the gay disease.
But the more he
learned about the virus and its possible treatments - and the harder he
worked to wriggle around Click|keyword[Food+and+Drug+Administration]" >FDA regulations - the more he
came to care about his
, a man with a job to do, enlists help from a number of acquaintances, usually by first taking advantage of them.
They include his
physician, Eve Saks (Click|keyword[Jennifer+Garner]" >Jennifer Garner), who's dismayed when she
is breaking the rules but who later shifts to his
side, and a fellow AIDS patient named Rayon (Click|keyword[Jared+Leto]" >Jared Leto), a transsexual who, in a marvelous scene, manages to both charm and challenge the (at first) aggressively homophobic Woodruff.
beats the crap out of him in a card game played on his
hospital bed; he
refers to her
as "Click|keyword[Marlboro+Man]" >Miss Man," an endearment wrapped around a jibe.
Sometimes the picture works as a procedural: It's fun, in a vicarious way, to watch Woodruff
outwit the authorities, at one point disguised as a comically convincing priest.
Woodruff's methodology is heavily dependent on his
scrawny-cowboy swagger, his
manner of dealing both with the people who stand in his
way and with those he
counts among his
is a great foil for her
, and though the two do more fighting than platonic cooing, the bond between them is clear.
, in the days before he
got sick, was a hard-drinking, girl-chasing bull rider.
But with Rayon, he's
always a gent - his
consideration for her
is almost courtly.
We can see McConaughey concentrating on this task as intently as Woodruff
would have: Who could risk a broken bone, or even a bruise?
manages to stay on the back of that crazy-mad, snorting bull.
To this mighty horned beast, he's
probably as light as a gnat, and just as annoying.