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.