Dallas Buyers Club - 10 stars out of 10
“Dallas Buyers Club” is one of those movies that is just special. It explores a part of our history that people don’t like to talk about, and it does so in such a realistic way that it is as if history is unfolding before our very eyes. This is the most telling tale of AIDS since “Philadelphia,” and from an entirely new perspective. The realism comes directly from Matthew McConaughey who gives the greatest performance of his life. I often dislike McConaughey (see “Failure to Launch” and “Fool’s Gold”… actually, don’t see either of those) but he has been proving himself as a “real” actor lately with big boy roles in movies like “The Lincoln Lawyer.” But this time, he has exceeded far beyond what I believed to be his capabilities. In fact, if not for Chiwetel Ejiofor’s earth-shattering performance in “12 Years A Slave,” McConaughey would be my choice for the Oscar for Best Actor. These words seem blasphemous but he is literally that good, putting himself into the realm of Tom Hanks in “Philadelphia” and Jamie Foxx in “Ray.” While the film rests on his shoulders, there is a lot more than makes this film great. The screenplay and production design transport us back to the mid-80’s while blending the history of Ron Woodruff’s buyers club with composite roles to represent the stories and experiences of AIDs victims who are still living today. Jared Leto is a shoe-in for Best Supporting Actor in the most convincing transgender role that I have ever seen. Both McConaughey and Leto dropped a ton of weight for their roles (47 lbs and 30 lbs respectively) and their dedication to these roles plays out to perfection on the screen. The film is nominated for Best Make-Up but I don’t understand why, since the sickly looks of these two men were accomplished with reality instead of movie magic. Perhaps the most amazing fact about this movie is that it was filmed over the course of a mere 25 days, relying on raw acting skill to tell the story. “Dallas Buyers Club” is a special movie that, in less competitive years, could easily win the Oscar for Best Picture. Even though it will not win, this film will find its way onto many critics’ Top 50 lists of all time, and deservedly so.