Dallas Buyer’s Club (2013)
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Dallas Buyer’s Club is a fascinating movie on several fronts. As a vehicle to showcase Matthew McConaughey’s acting ability, it is first rate. As a character study of Ron Woodruff, it is also first rate, and as an exploration multiple unique sub-cultures in a very unique time period in American history it is also quite good. And that’s really only scratching the surface here. When we open the movie Ron Woodruff is a fast living Texas good old boy having unprotected sex with a random chick he met backstage at a rodeo. We see him at one point reading a news paper announcing that Rock Hudson had died of AIDs, and making fun of the late actor, calling him“queer” and other epitaphs. Fast forward to a few months later when he finds out he has the disease himself, and he has to face life facing not only this lethal illness but also the ostracism of everyone he had ever once considered his friend who now just seem him as “that dirty cocksucker”.
On top of all this his doctors give him maybe six months tops to live. Under lesser circumstances many would have probably committed suicide, but this moment proved to bring out in Woodruff a sort of calling. He obsessively researches the disease, and explores alternative treatments, many of which the FDA bans for the simple reason that they cannot as of yet make a profit of them. And thus begins the Dallas Buyer’s Club, a place where other sick people can come to get the medicine that just might keep them alive. The legality was questionable, but the vision and drive was heroic. On this journey Woodruff learns by necessity to broaden his horizons in the final years (he outlives his doctor’s prediction by making it more than seven years as opposed to six months) of his life much more than he had ever thought to do before, making relationships with people that he would not have given the time of day to before. Woodruff was not a hero, in many ways he was a rather awful human being, but in the end he allowed his humanity to truly shine for the benefit of many others who, if not for him, would have been totally voiceless.
Daily Inquiry: Was the real life Woodruff a “hero” or just an opportunist?