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Gritty drama tackles sensitive subjects

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By Owen Bradbury Aranda

The thought of an infectious epidemic spreading across the United States seems unthinkable, but in the 1980s the AIDS epidemic made this horrific possibility a reality.
“Dallas Buyers Club” tells the true story of Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), a cowboy from Dallas who finds himself nearly broke, HIV positive and with only 30 days to live.
Faced with discrimination from those around him who were once his friends, Woodroof skips town in search of help to extend his life expectancy.
He works his way around the United States healthcare system and obtains un-FDA approved drugs from Mexico to treat him and other AIDS patients in need. Because selling unapproved drugs in the U.S. is illegal under federal law, Woodroof starts the Dallas Buyers Club, where the memberships are bought, but the drugs are free.
In a sense it is a story of redemption. A man who has spent his entire promiscuous life hating those who are different finds himself helping those very people in order to give his life some meaning.
The film openly confronts the issue of homophobia, particularly targeting the subject in rural America. This perspective is particularly compelling and interesting, because it challenges the misconceptions surrounding homosexuals and transsexuals during the AIDS epidemic.
Although the film does not concern gay rights, it still makes a statement. It also questions the ethics of the healthcare industry and the way certain drugs are promoted over others.
Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner bring the film to life with their amazing acting abilities and superior dramatic power. The film is excellent, but what makes it truly special is the acting.
Leto’s portrayal of Rayon, a transsexual, is nothing short of astounding. He completely immerses himself in the role and becomes the character. From the inflections in his voice to his uncannily feminine body language, Leto captures all the delicate subtleties of a transgender individual.
McConaughey and Leto’s performances are easily some of the best in recent years. Both actors embody their characters to such a point that as a viewer one forgets the two of them are acting at all.
The movie’s two Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor were incredibly well deserved. Both performances essentially blew the competition out of the water.
The film also took away the Academy Award for best Makeup and Hairstyling for the astounding way it transformed Leto’s angular male features into a strikingly feminine face.
Due to its nudity, crude language and overall sexually orientated nature, this movie is not suited for all viewers and is definitely tailored towards mature audiences.
Although somewhat long, the film is very compelling and entertaining. If for no other reason, it is worth watching simply because of the superb acting performances.
“Dallas Buyers Club” is a gritty, engaging and touching film about how a predicament can sometimes unite people and bring out the best in all individuals.