Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Aiding and Abetting Survival Great Performances in a Quest for Life- Saving Drugs Elevate 'Dallas Buyers Club'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Aiding and Abetting Survival Great Performances in a Quest for Life- Saving Drugs Elevate 'Dallas Buyers Club'

Article excerpt

Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) gets a diagnosis and a death sentence in a single hospital visit.

In 1985 Texas, the electrician and rodeo cowboy is informed he is infected with the AIDS virus. "We estimate you have 30 days left to put your affairs in order," a doctor predicts in "Dallas Buyers Club."

Rock Hudson had just announced he had AIDS, and the disease was associated with homosexuals and IV drug users. Woodroof declares he doesn't even know any gay men -- although he uses more profane and vulgar language than that.

After a denial laced with drink, drugs and women, he goes to the library to do some research on AIDS and returns to the hospital to buy the drug he read about: AZT. But Dr. Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner) says that's not possible. It's part of a yearlong study in which participants will either get the medication or a placebo.

"You give dying people sugar pills?" he asks, incredulously, and concludes, "Screw the FDA. I'm gonna be DOA" if he follows the rules.

Ron finds himself in a no-man's land -- no legal drugs, no easy rapport with his old macho friends and none with an AIDS support group. When a stranger tries to hug him, he snaps, "Back the [expletive] off, Tinkerbell."

His salvation comes in Mexico, which also fires his entrepreneurial spirit when he realizes he can load up on unapproved medicines and supplements and smuggle them back into the United States to treat his own illness and, it turns out, others'. With eventual help from transsexual and fellow patient Rayon (Jared Leto) he reaches out into the gay community and starts the buyers club that gives the movie inspired by true events its name.

"Dallas Buyers Club," directed by Jean-Marc Vallee and written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, is anchored by two tremendous performances, with Ms. Garner also providing very able support. Much has been made of the alarming weight loss by Mr. …

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