Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Dallas Buyers Club

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Constant very strong language
Nudity/Sex:Very explicit sexual references and situations, nudity, porn, a lot of casual sex
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, smoking, drug use
Violence/Scariness:Themes of crticial illness, sad deaths, some fighting
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date:November 8, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 28, 2014

Dallas-buyers-clubMatthew McConaughey lost nearly 40 pounds to play Ron Woodroof, a good-time party animal and homophobic Texas cowboy who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986 and given a month to live.  This was in the early days, before safe and effective drugs to treat HIV and AIDS were available. “We’re surprised you’re even alive,” says the doctor (Denis O’Hare). A kinder-hearted doctor (a beatific Jennifer Garner) suggests a support group to talk about his “feelings and concerns.”  This is not what he is looking for.  “I’m dying and you’re telling me to get a hug from a bunch of f***?”  He is the kind of guy who might pray for help, but would talk to God in a strip bar.

Woodroof, who had never shown any special interest in looking past the momentary thrills of rodeo riding, drinking, drugs, and sex, suddenly found he had courage, determination, and a fierce life force.  He found that his ornery and rebellious personality perfectly suited him for taking on the medical establishment and the law. At the time, it was illegal to sell non-prescribed drugs but it was not illegal to give them away.  And Texas happens to be across the border from Mexico, where the drugs he wanted were available.  So he began to smuggle medication from Mexico and give it to members of the “buyers club” he set up.  They paid a monthly “membership fee” and then the drugs were “free.”

McConaughey, pared down to nothing but grit and sinew, gives the most recent in a series of performances of sensitivity and scope that show how wrong Hollywood was to relegate him to forgettable romantic comedies.  And the immensely gifted Jared Leto, always seemingly on the brink of a breakthrough since his days on “My So-Called Life,” is heartbreaking as Rayon, a trans woman who begins first a business relationship, then a friendship with Ron and finally becomes his family.  There’s no winking at the audience, not a hint of “look how brave I am to be dressing in women’s clothes.”  Leto, who lost a lot of weight and removed all of his body hair, did more than transform himself for the role.  He stayed in character throughout the shoot.  It is a reflection of his achievement in transforming himself into a character who was also transforming that one of the film’s most jarring images is when Rayon has to dress in a man’s business suit.  It is understated but devastatingly clear that for Rayon, men’s attire is cross-dressing.  We see how lost Rayon is, how far from herself, and how great a sacrifice she is willing to make to help the members of the Dallas Buyer’s Club.  Rayon is no saint, but Leto gives her dignity and grace and he shows us why Woodroof and Jennifer Garner’s beatific doctor would be so devoted to her.

For Woodroof, the scene that shows how far he has come is when Rayon is insulted by one of the men from his rodeo days.  As frail as he is, Woodroof can still put the guy in a headlock to insist on an apology, knowing that this means he can never go back to his old friends.  But it is just a recognition of what he has already known.  His diagnosis has moved him to another country, and one in which he found the shared retrovirus is a stronger bond than any he had ever made before.

The film wisely makes it clear that the symptoms of a fatal disease do not include a complete personality transformation; indeed, it is the qualities that got Woodroof into trouble that are the keys to his success in finding a way around the rules.  More important, with nothing left to lose, Woodroof finds for the first time that he has something to give.

Parents should know that this movie includes constant very strong language, explicit sexual references and situations with nudity, drinking, smoking, and drug use, themes of fatal illness and sad deaths, and some fighting and tense confrontations.

Family discussion: How does the diagnosis make Woodroof feel differently about his life?  What makes him change his mind about Rayon?

If you like this, try: the documentary, “How to Survive a Plague

 



Previous Posts

Three Views on the Challenges Women Face in the Film Industry
It is wonderful that directors like Ava DuVernay, Angelina Jolie, and Gina Prince-Bythewood gave us superb films in 2014.  But it is an indicator of the challenges still faced by women filmmakers that none of them was nominated for a major directing award. The Alliance of Women Film Journalists

posted 3:38:46pm Jan. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Snickers Wins the Super Bowl!
The real competition at the Super Bowl is for the commercials, right? This Snickers ad is a hoot. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rqbomTIWCZ8?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:02am Jan. 31, 2015 | read full post »

How Did Ca Plane Pour Moi End Up in So Many Movies?
How did a 1977 song in French by the Belgian singer Plastic Bertrand become a go-to for 21st century American movie soundtracks, from big studio films to quirky indies? "Ça Plane Pour Moi" has appeared in Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" and last week's "We'll Never Have Paris," from

posted 3:40:03pm Jan. 30, 2015 | read full post »

The Kitten Bowl 2015: You Can Win A Set of Kitten Cards
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/5sO4NoaF89Y?rel=0" frameborder="0"] The most-anticipated sporting event of the weekend -- in some circles anyway, is this year's Kitten Bowl, Su-Purr Sunday, February 1 (12/11c) only on Hallmark Channel! [caption id="attachment_3263

posted 12:00:45pm Jan. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Una Gran Noticia! Disney's First Latina Princess
The Disney princesses have their first Latina member! Princess Elena of Avalor will make her debut in the Disney Channel series "Sofia the First" before starring in her own series on the Disney channel.

posted 9:19:37am Jan. 30, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.