“Sometimes, I get excited about a movie just because I’m dying to see the performances. Such was the case with Dallas Buyers Club, as people in the know have not stopped talking about Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. Well, part of it is because of McConaughey’s severe weight loss for the role, but also because it’s a damn fine piece of acting. But as good as he was, it wasn’t nearly as good as his costar.
I’ve been a fan of Jared Leto for ages. Actually, following Leto on social media, he’d started posting pix of himself as Rayon back during filming without any real explanation. I didn’t think about it too much at the time (thought it was just him being “”artsy””) but once there was much more talk about the film, it all made sense. Requiem for a Dream is easily my favorite performance of his, but with a resume that also includes Fight Club and American Psycho, it’s no wonder he’s way at the top of my list. I started listening to his band Thirty Seconds to Mars and fell in love with that too. I’ve even managed to catch them in concert a couple times. After the first show, which was at the rather large-ish House of Blues, the band invited people to stay for a meet and greet. An open meet and greet unheard of for a sold out venue that size. There were some limits in place to keep the crowd moving, but as my tshirt passed from band member to band member for signatures, I ran to Leto’s edge of the table and quickly blurted “”I love your movies too””. He mouthed a “”thank you”” as I was ushered along to let the next person go, but part of me was ready to die happy. I was touting Dallas Buyers Club to a co-worker the other day who asked if Leto ever ages. “”He still looks like Jordan Catalano”” I dreamily replied.
Yeah so I might be a bit of a fangirl for the boy I think is the most gorgeous on earth (yes, even prettier than top crush, Derek Hough). But please, believe me when I say that my supporting him for best supporting actor this year has nothing to do with that (well mostly). From the first moment Rayon appeared on screen, I was under his spell. So engaging and warm and inviting and savvy, and just absolutely someone I wanted to hang out with. No question, he was the true heart of the movie. I loved the dynamic between his Rayon and McConaughey’s Ron. Ron started out rather homophobic, but Rayon just ignored it and continued to treat Ron with love and respect. Once the two did become friends, they kept a similar dynamic, but with a more playful undertone. He had some truly heartbreaking scenes, that I really thought would actually bring me to tears (a rare feat for a movie to accomplish). I was almost quick to dismiss them as obvious emotional scenes, just thrown in there to get sympathy, but then I had a revelation. If I didn’t already care so much about the character, those scenes would have been meaningless. Instead, I was trying to hold myself together.
If Leto was the heart, McConaughey was the anchor. I’ve always enjoyed watching his charm and charisma on screen, and this was no different. But beyond that, we did see a huge transformation in his character, as he dealt with his diagnosis and frustrations. Oh yeah, plot. Back in the 80s, Ron Woodroof is suddenly given an AIDS diagnosis and 30 days to live. Not wanting to accept that, he researches and procures every experimental treatment he can find, and begins distributing them. He forms a business partnership with transvesite Rayon, and they start a buyers club which sells memberships where the treatment is then available as a way of skirting the law. Anyways, Ron in the first five minutes of the movie is completely different from Ron in the last five minutes, and McConaughey carried that arc beautifully.
I was so moved by the film, I had to share it immediately. Walking out of the theater, I texted a friend with a “”spontaneous movie recommendation of the day”” instructing him to see it. I just found the story so poignant, and I’ve had similar experiences with other works dealing with the same era. I’m still breathless when I think about The Normal Heart, a play which deals with the AIDS crisis from a different angle. Or the modern classic Angels in America. Dallas Buyers Club is just another person’s story during that trying time, and I’m glad that Ron Woodruff’s fight is now being told.
Dallas Buyers Club – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/