Indie Film Guide

10 Reasons to See 'Dallas Buyers Club'

By: Harrison Pierce on November 20, 2013 at 2:26PM Comments (4)

After playing in limited release this past month, the critically acclaimed drama Dallas Buyers Club expands to theaters nationwide this weekend. Here are 10 reasons to check out this powerful true-life tale about an AIDS patient who took matters of medication and health into his own hands while helping others suffering from the disease. It stars Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner.

Award-Worthy Acting. Last month, the Hollywood Film Festival awarded McConaughey its Actor of the Year prize and Leto its Breakthrough Actor of the Year award for their performances in the film. Now, various Oscar pundits, including Fandango’s own Dave Karger, are predicting Academy Award nominations for both actors. (image: UPI)

Based on a True Story. This riveting film is based on the real-life story of Ron Woodroof (McConaughey), a straight, homophobic Texas electrician stricken with AIDS in 1985. Refusing to accept his diagnosis as a death sentence, Woodroof was able to prolong his life and those of other dying men by smuggling alternative and illegal drugs into the US with help from an unlikely business partner: a transgender woman named Rayon (Leto). (image: Randy Eli Grothe/The Dallas Morning News)

Critically Acclaimed. Currently certified 95% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, Dallas Buyers Club is the 29th best-reviewed film of the year from around the world. Of the numerous critics who have lauded the film, Rex Reed of The New York Observer calls it, "The best of what independent film on a limited budget can achieve -- powerful, enlightening and not to be missed."

De-Glammed Jennifer Garner. Best known for her glamorous, sexy turns in TV’s Alias and action flicks like Daredevil, Jennifer Garner strips herself of her usual makeup and latex gear to give an emotionally bare performance as the plain-faced, scrub-wearing Dr. Eve Saks, a young Dallas doctor who treats Ron and Rayon.

Dramatic Weight Loss. Both McConaughey and Leto went to extreme lengths to fully inhabit their roles. Leto reportedly lost 30 pounds to play Rayon, while McConaughey shed a total of 40 in order to believably portray the sickly Woodroof. The shock of the actors’ gaunt appearances only adds to the power of their performances. (Leto image: terrysdiary.com, via TMZ/JustJared)

Inspiration. The film’s poster features a photo of McConaughey with his hands in the air, a smile on his face, and the tagline "Dare to Live" hovering above his head. After watching the movie, you just might be inspired to live like Ron: bravely and with verve.

Jean-Marc Vallée. The Canadian director previously helmed the award-winning films Café de Flore and C.R.A.Z.Y. and brings a fresh, foreign perspective to this uniquely American tale. The San Sebastián International Film Festival recently awarded him Best Director for his work on the film.

The McConaughey Renaissance. We are in the middle of what film bloggers, critics and reporters are calling a "McConaughey Renaissance." After being stuck in a rom-com rut, McConaughey is at the top of his acting game with acclaimed roles in Magic Mike (pictured below), Mud, and now this.

Stellar Supporting Cast. In addition to the powerhouse triumvirate of McConaughey, Leto and Garner, Dallas Buyers Club features an excellent ensemble of supporting players, including Griffin Dunne (After Hours), Denis O’Hare (Milk), Kevin Rankin (“Breaking Bad”), Dallas Roberts ("The Good Wife") and Steve Zahn (Rescue Dawn).

20 Years in the Making. The Los Angeles Times recently ran an article entitled “The Dallas Buyers Club, the AIDS film no one wanted to make,” which recounts the epic, 20-year struggle of screenwriter Craig Borten to get this movie made. Back in 1992, Borten drove down to Dallas to meet with Woodroof and, after talking with him for three days, decided to write a feature script based on the life of an unlikely hero of the AIDS epidemic.   


What excites you about seeing Dallas Buyers Club or, if you’ve already seen it, what are your reasons for recommending it? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Comments (4)Leave a Comment

  • Dec 24th 2013 1:14PM

    rooneyandmuldoon  said...

    I have never been especially fond of McConaughey, but this movie has made me a believer. Hope he gets more chances to show his talent and vigor as a serious actor.


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  • Nov 28th 2013 5:05PM

    nrsabo  said...

    Just saw this amazing movie and have to agree with all the pundits that Oscar nominations (and hopefully wins) are on the horizon for McConaughey and Leto. The performances were mesmerizing, not only because of the insane weight losses they underwent, but because they both inhabited their roles so completely and fearlessly. Jared Leto is an incredibly beautiful man to begin with, so, made up as a woman/man, his beauty became almost transcendent. His performance even bests his jaw-dropping performance in Requiem for a Dream. Watching Matthew transform from a rather disgusting womanizing homophobe into a compassionate, caring human being was the viewers' payoff for suffering along with the inherent heartbreak of this true story.


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  • Nov 25th 2013 5:53PM

    LADYD712  said...

    I saw Dallas Buyer Club at the Boston premiere . One of the best films I have ever seen. Jared Leto as Rayon is so incredible that you totally believe Rayon is real, not a character in a movie. Such a compassionate, loving and special person your heart breaks for her because of how she suffers. Not only does she bring out a kinder side to Matthew's Ron she brings out the compassion & understanding in all of us, we feel better off for having known her. Matthew's performance is the best of his career. Unlikeable at start but as his character starts to accept and help those he ridiculed you root for him. Craig Borten/Mellisa Wallick have written an amazing script and Jean Marc-Vallee directs this amazing cast in the best movie of the year


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  • Nov 20th 2013 8:46PM

    CP0305  said...

    I can't wait to see this film. The cast is exceptional and I am especially excited to see The resurrection of Leto's acting career.


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