"Dallas Buyers Club" after 2 years and 3 other movies "The Lincoln Lawyer" (2011), "Magic Mike" and "Mud" (2013) elevates Matthew McConaughey from a drugged, drunk, naked at midnight bongo player to an A list actor who no longer has to prove himself. Though the field is very competitive this year in the best actor category he certainly deserves an Oscar nomination and, possibly, a win.
McConaughney plays Ron Woodruff, the true story of a womanizing, dope taking electrician cowboy who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1985 and given 30 days to live. After a few rough days he accepts the diagnosis but does not accept the 30 day sentence. He takes AZT through underground channels as it is not approved by the FDA and is only available in a patient experiment. He quickly finds out how toxic it is, killing most people who are taking it, and does research finding other drugs, though illegal in the USA, are available in Mexico. Being a hustler he starts a club which costs $400 to join and gives people the drugs for free.
As most people thought at that time, his friends, and the men he worked with, thought of AIDS as a 'gay disease' and quickly finds himself in fights and being ostracized. Collapsing one day he is rushed to the hospital where he shares a room with Rayon (Jared Leto) a transsexual with AIDS and enough sass to beat, and take his money, in a game of cards with Ron. When the latter starts his club and needs customers he and Rayon become partners developing a constant bickering repartee that also brings great empathy to both. There is no looking away from Jared Leto's performance, especially a scene when he visits his father, who brings across the sass he uses as a defense and the hurt he finds as a transsexual. At this point there is no reason he shouldn't get an Oscar nomination and if he wins it will be deserved just as McConaughey will have earned his.
The films shows all the problems that people with AIDS faced, not only the discrimination but with the FDA and medical profession working against them. Ron travels all over the world to get the needed drugs and he is faced with all sorts of problems from the government and the Boards of hospitals. He eventually goes to court in San Francisco to fight for his right to take drugs that aren't approved in the USA for, mainly, financial reasons.
Ron gets involved with a doctor, Eve Saks, played by Jennifer Garner who does a great job but really isn't necessary to/for the movie. Denis O'Hare as her boss Dr. Sevard, Griffin Dunne as an American doctor working in Mexico along with all the supporting actors give excellent support.
The director, Jean-Marc Vallee, and the screenwriters Craig Borton and Melissa Wallack, in telling the story of two polar opposite men, don't hesitate in telling, and showing, how the world of AIDS was in the 1980s.
Both Matthew McConaughhey and Jared Leto give full portraits of two completely different people who come together to help each other to live and wind up respecting each others role in life.
"Dallas Players Club" is a must see film not only for the two main performances but for the history of the beginning of an illness that was discriminated against by the government, medical profession and the public and is still killing people today!