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Film Review – Dallas Buyers Club

Director: Jean-Marc Vallee
Screenplay: Craig Borten
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto
Genre: Biographical Drama
Ratings:*****

Dallas Buyers Club stars Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroff, diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1985 and given 30 days to live.
His family and friends discriminate against him, he gets fired from his job and is eventually evicted from his home. His doctor, Dr Eve Saks, played by Jennifer Garner, advises to take anti-retroviral drugs called AZT, the only drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for testing on humans. But unfortunately, as soon as he begins taking AZT, his health starts deteriorating, which is exacerbated by his cocaine use.
Woodroff hears that there are drugs in Mexico that that might help him, but they are not approved by the FDA. The drugs he gets from Mexico improve his health, and he decides to sell them in the USA. With Rayon, played by Jared Leto, a drug addict and HIV-positive transsexual woman, he opens the Dallas Buyers Club and sell the drugs to HIV-positive people, facing a lot of opposition from the FDA.

After watching Dallas Buyers Club, now I know why McConaughey and Leto won best Actor and supporting Actor at the Academy Award respectively. I do not know who best performed their role, because they are both very good; it shows to me that they actually take this issue seriously and that they are trying to make people aware and to stop discriminating against HIV-positive people. They have both mentioned in their acceptance speeches how the struggle to make people aware of the disease still continues. A special mention to the make-up and hairstyling crew that worked on this film: they did an excellent job on both McConaughey and Leto. They transformed Leto so much that I did not even recognise that it was him playing a transsexual woman. When I watched the movie, I had no idea what it was about, but the moment I saw McConaughey, I immediately knew that he portrayed an ill person probably having HIV/AIDS. Imagine, I figured that out just by looking at the actor, that it how good the make-up and hairstyling was, big thumbs-up to them.
This film is sad but heart-warming simultaneously. It shows us how the homosexual community was ostracised in the Eighties, and how it was thought that HIV/AIDS could only be contracted by homos and drug addicts. It also gave me an insight into how the American government treated its HIV-positive citizens. How can they treat their own people like that, refusing to give them proper medication? How can we, as Africans, expect them to sympathise with us or help us?\ People still have the audacity to write comments like “I am going to Africa. I hope I don’t get AIDS,” which just shows how this disease still has a stigma attached to it, and how it is mostly associated with Africa. This insightful film contains very good acting which makes it more believable, seeing that it is based on a true story. Woodroff died in 1992, seven years later than his doctors had predicted. Dallas Buyers Club is the first film since Mystic River to win both the Best Actor and Supporting Actor categories at the Academy Awards. If you have watched Mystic River and cried a lot during it, make sure you have a box of tissues next to you when you watch Dallas Buyers Club! The movie is available at your nearest DVD rental shop or downloadable on the Internet.

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