Review: Dallas Buyers Club (2013)



“Mr Woodroof, I’m afraid that you’re nothing more than a common drug dealer, so if you’ll excuse us…”
– Richard Barkley

In 1985 Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) is diagnosed with AIDS after getting shocked at his job. As an electrician and rodeo cowboy he refuses to believe the madness that he has thirty days to live. He is not homosexual and thus cannot be carrying such a heinous disease. Marching out he goes to do more research, and eventually connects the dots and recalls a prostitute he had unprotected sex with years ago. He is going to have to find a way to make things work. As though it is not bad enough that he has the news he has, it soon goes around and he is rejected by society, family and friends. It reaches as far as his job, where he is ultimately fired. The injustice burns him, and soon he also has nowhere to stay. More research leads Woodroof to the information on zidovudine (AZT), which is supposed to prolong the life of AIDS patients. He demands that Dr Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner) gives him some, and even offers to pay. She tells him it does not work like that. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only just approved it for human testing, and half the patients are getting the real thing and the other half are getting placebos, nobody knows.

dallas buyers club partying

“Sometimes, I feel I’m fighting for a life that I just ain’t got the time to live. I want it all to mean something.” – Ron Woodroof

Refusing to accept that answer, he brokers a deal with a hospital staff member to trade cash for stolen AZT. Upon taking the AZT, Woodroof’s health worsens. This is not helped due to the fact of his cocaine use, and ultimately he ends up in the hospital again. His doctor, Dr Sevard (Denis O’Hare), demands to know where he is getting the illegal AZT. Woodroof refuses to share the information. While inside the hospital, he meets Rayon (Jared Leto), a transvestite and drug addict. He does not like Rayon, and treats her badly. Ultimately Woodroof goes out to Mexico to get more AZT and is instead treated by Dr Vass (Griffin Dunne), who tells him AZT is poisonous and prescribes ddC and peptide T, not approved in the US. Woodroof decides to use this to make money in the States and help other HIV-positive patients. He takes massive amounts back to the States with him and eventually gets Rayon on board with him to sell the drugs. Dr Saks is starting to notice negative effects from the AZT, and is told to let it go, it will not be discontinued. Woodroof is still alive, much longer than the doctors gave him credit for, so what Dr Vass gave him must be good.

dallas buyers club selling what you got

“None of those drugs have been approved by the FDA.” – Dr Eve Saks

Deciding ultimately that there is a more legit way to sell the drugs, Woodroof establishes the “Dallas Buyers Club”, where members pay $400-00 a month for their medication, as much as they need. The Club becomes so extremely. Rayon and Woodroof have come to an understanding, and Woodroof begins to respect her and understand her, and they develop a rather good friendship. After Woodroof lands up in hospital from a heart attack, Dr Sevard realises that all his AZT patients have moved over to the Dallas Buyers Club, and he is furious. Soon the FDA, too, gets involved with hassling Woodroof about his business and how he goes about it. Dr Saks and Woodroof establish a friendship when she sees that what he is doing is not a bad thing, and agrees that AZT is a problem. The more Woodroof works his Club, the more he learns about his disease as well as what is going on with it. The Club is starting to suffer at the hands of the FDA, and ultimately starts going bankrupt. Woodroof decides he will not let the FDA win.

dallas buyers club starting work with rayon

“The man with the most honey, attracts the most bees.” – Rayon

Will Woodroof and Saks be able to prove that AZT is dangerous? How long does Woodroof have before he finally succumbs to AIDS? How is he going to stand up against the FDA, which is harassing?

“What? Hook me up to the morphine drip, let me fade on out? Nah. Sorry, lady, but I prefer to die with my boots on.” – Ron Woodroof

A 7.5/10 for Dallas Buyers Club. I know that is not what most were expecting, but there it is. I did enjoy the movie, it was very dramatic and well put together. Matthew McConaughey did a very good job portraying Ron Woodroof. I thoroughly enjoyed Jared Leto as Rayon. I heard so many good things about his role, and I must say that he did exceptionally well, and was the one character that I liked from the off. McConaughey did well in taking Woodroof from a totally unlikable tool to someone we rooted for, he made huge changes in his life. I am not sure how accurate the story that we watched is in comparison to the real deal, and I have also not read into it too much, but I must say that it kept me interested the whole way through. While not an awfully long movie (coming in at just under two hours), it felt really long, but not like I was wasting my time. I honestly feel that the characters carried this story far more than the story or plot development itself, which was extremely secondary in my opinion. I liked the way social issues were addressed in this movie, as well as how people can change and see things differently when something changes in their lives, it is excellent. There were bits that made me laugh and there were other scenes that made me angry. I liked the friendship that developed between Woodroof and Dr Saks, that was pretty cool, though I loved the friendship between Woodroof and Rayon. This was a solid film though and worth checking out.

31 thoughts on “Review: Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

  1. The performances are great and practically what keeps this movie afloat. Everything else is fine, it’s just that McConaughey and Leto are what make it so extraordinary to watch. Good review Zoe.


  2. Sooo true! The movie is thoroughly enjoyable, it’s just not canon material! It’s entertaining, yet not as impeccable and timeless as its fanboys say, at least for me anyway. I also didn’t think Leto was that terrific, I mean, McConaughey blew him away. Regardless, awesome post, Zoe :).


  3. Dearest JB,

    I probably won’t ever watch this one, this doesn’t interest me at all, boobs or not. Great work, as always.

    Warmest Love,



  4. Still haven’t seen this one but I have a hunch I probably would feel the same way in that I’d appreciate it but not in love w/ it. I’m so behind on watching a bunch of stuff right now, kind of sidelined by me crushing on Toby Stephens! Btw, he’s filming Black Sails in Cape Town now, I’m so jealous that you live there Zoe! 😉


  5. Nice review, Zoe! Yeah the whole “the performances carry the film” thing seems to be the general consensus for this one, but I thought it was just all-around fantastic. Glad you enjoyed it!


  6. Nice review. Agree with you here although I liked it a bit more than you did. Agree the characters were better than the film itself but the story was still pretty intriguing. Yep, a solid film. : )


    • Yeah looks like most people liked it more than I did. Well, at least in agreement there, but not something I will be watching again in a hurry or adding to my collection!


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