Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Real Story: Dallas Buyer’s Club and Ron Woodroof

posted by Nell Minow

“The Dallas Buyer’s Club” (expanding to wide release this week) stars Matthew McConaughey in the real-life story of Ron Woodroof.  He was a Texas man diagnosed with AIDS in 1986, when there was no safe and effective treatment, and given just one month to live.  He fought not just the disease but the system.  And in the course of his work to find treatment for himself and for other people with AIDS in his community over the next six years, he changed from a hard-living, harder-partying, pleasure-loving bigot to a brave, generous, passionate man of vision and compassion.  He smuggled drugs from Mexico into Texas and exploited a loophole to distribute them.  It was illegal to sell drugs, even legal drugs if they were not prescribed, but at the time it was not illegal to give them away.  Woodroof charged people with AIDS to join a “club” — and then the drugs were free.

The movie was written by Craig Borten, who had the opportunity to interview Woodroof for 20 hours before he died in 1992.  As usually happens in feature film versions of real stories, there were some additions and changes.  Woodroof is depicted as a rodeo competitor in the film, which is not true.  Aisha Harris reports in Slate that “Woodroof was only a rodeo enthusiast, not a rider; these details, as Borten explained to me, were used as a metaphor for his character’s struggle and ability to survive far longer than his doctors said he would—a ‘lassoing of the bull.’”  Two of the film’s most important characters, the sympathetic doctor played by Jennifer Garner and the transgender Rayon played by Jared Leto, each represent several different people who helped Woodroof.

What is true is the most improbable parts of the movie.  A homophobic man who lived entirely for selfish, reckless pleasure became a passionately dedicated activist who challenged the medical and legal system to help people he would previously have feared or hated.

Harris notes that Woodroof’s family, a sister and daughter, were not included in the film.  In an interview with The Daily Mail, his sister said that the photographs of the emaciated McConaughey as Woodroof are painful for her to see.  “The pictures of Matthew are breathtaking though. They look so like what Ronnie looked like when he was sick and how the disease progressed. Matthew is definitely looking like he’s gone down that path. His eyes, that is the main thing, the way he is doing his eyes.  I’m not looking at his body as much as his face and his face certainly taken on the look of someone with AIDS. Matthew is so in character it is unreal.”

YouTube Preview Image

 



Previous Posts

COMING THIS MONTH: September 2014 Movies
Happy September!  There isn't much new in theaters this Friday, but next week things start to pick up. Here's the best of what's coming in theaters this month: September 12: "Dolphin Tale 2"  This sequel to the endearing fact-based "Dolphin Tale" brings back stars Harry Connick, Jr., Morgan Fr

posted 8:00:52am Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Labor Day 2014: Movies About Unions
Today we pay tribute to workers, especially those who worked for better conditions for everyone. Sally Field won an Oscar for this real-life story about a courageous woman who helped mill workers form a union. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45CX8W9peTs[/youtube] Doris Day plays

posted 7:00:42am Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Summer Summer-y: The Summer Movies of 2014
A few concluding thoughts on the summer movies of 2014: A good summer for food movies: "The Chef," "The 100-Foot Journey," and "The Trip to Italy" had some big-time actors but the real stars were the luscious meals. Special mention of the delicious French comedy "Le Chef," starring Jean Reno, as

posted 3:46:47pm Aug. 31, 2014 | read full post »

The Last Leonard Maltin Movie Guide
Leonard Maltin was only 17 years old when he was offered the chance to create his guide to movies on television. For many years, I kept the latest copy on my desk and anyone who came into my office could pick a page number at random. If I had not seen any of the movies on that page, I had to buy t

posted 8:00:33am Aug. 31, 2014 | read full post »

"Let's Be Cops" Could Have Been Not Terrible
"Let's Be Cops" is a dumb movie that wants to be like "Lethal Weapon" or "The Other Guys," a comedy action film about buddies with badges. It's moderate box office returns are possibly in part because the unrest in Ferguson and news stories about police brutality made the timing bad for a cop comed

posted 11:35:46am Aug. 30, 2014 | 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.