March 11, 2014 Film ReviewsUpdates


Sometimes the gravest news can be the greatest blessing. It is when you are informed, beyond your anticipation or comprehension, that you only have thirty days to live, that you gain a different perspective on life and rediscover the urgency of living.


Responsibility, courage, empathy, determination, an openness to difference, an attunement to the future, a commitment to others and a call to action. They can be cultivated by the confrontation with mortality and the unlikely gift of accelerated death.


As electrician, rodeo cowboy and hustler Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey in a blinding and career-defining performance) discovers in Dallas Buyers Club (2013), every crisis carries the promise of hope, the silver lining of opportunity, and the chance for unprecedented alliances.


Director Jean-Marc Vallée’s gritty, harrowing and potently affecting biopic is a portrait of the transformative power and intersubjective dynamic of terminal illness. We watch as Woodroof’s personal struggle with AIDS and his plight to source effective treatment develops into a concerted effort to provide medication for others diagnosed with the immunologically destructive, psychologically testing and socially ostracising disease.


In the paranoid and homophobic climate of 1980s America (more specifically, the macho rodeo culture of Dallas, Texas), it is Woodroof’s enterprising partnership and galvanising friendship with fellow AIDS patient Rayon (a remarkable turn by an almost unrecognisable Jared Leto) that drives the momentum of the film and attests to the characters’ spirit of defiance, solicitude and tenacity.



– Dr. Varga Hosseini