by Jaime Grijalba.
I didn’t expect to like this movie, and I was surprised at how much I ended up liking it. But, for some reason I seem to be completely impelled to write an essay or a review on it. It’s difficult, it’s a subject that I really have no experience on, and it’s a thing that it’s such of the past right now (AIDS isn’t as debilitating or a mortal sickness as it was back in the day), but it also present a subject that could be interesting to tackle, but at the same time I prefer to see this movie as one that only tries to tell a story about something that happened a long time ago, instead of a social message that tries to permeate some kind of agenda, because I’m like that and I like to do things that way in my mind whenever I want to do them that way.
So, what I’m going to do is to put here a bunch of reviews of the movie that I found on Letterboxd, one of them is mine, some of them are from people I know, some of them are from critics I appreciate, so let’s go in this adventure of opinion.
“Confirmed: No better actor out there than McConaughey, whose weight loss reads here less as frail (though yes, he’s on death’s door) than wiry and scrappy and spoiling for a fight. And I liked the film as long as it was about that fight; at its best, it’s like a feature analog to How To Survive A Plague, telling a story about the active role someone HIV/AIDS takes in his own recovery, in defiance of the carelessness and insidious bureaucracy of pharmaceutical companies and regulatory agencies. Then it goes Hollywood in the closing stretch, with more of an emphasis on victimhood and self-congratulation.”
“The homophobic remarks from the protagonist grow tiresome with time, but at the same moment it is a journey a discovery of what should be done about the problem that he and many other people have. It’s a journey about humility about how it isn’t really about him but for the people that he helps when you instaurate something like the Dallas Buyers Club, and that’s a route that many wouldn’t take, specially when it comes to your own and the people who follow you. That is the final powerful message, people go beyond the grave to help you and give you news. come see the new one.”
“Side effects: Woodruff’s straightness actually pushes the movie the movie into more overtly queer—or at least fluid—territory than if the character were gay, since the central romance (of sorts) in the film is the relationship between Woodruff and Rayon. They become a de facto couple (see: the grocery store scene), despite differing sexual orientations and preconceptions of gender. (It’s significant that Woodruff always refers to—and relates to—Rayon as a man.)”
“sort of ERIN BROCKOVICH with knottier stakes.”
“Matthew fuckin’ McConaughey as Ron fuckin’ Woodroof a cowboy-bigot-homophobic-party-animal who becomes a pioneer in the treatment of AIDS after his own diagnosis. Wasted-Hollywood-pussy. A sad-face clown. Shocking the shit out of yourself. Shocking-fuckin’-news. Nothing can kill Ron Woodroof in 30-fuckin’-days. A trailer-park-orgy. Elektra’s cardboard acting. Alienation by your so-called-friends. Back the fuck off Tinkerbell. Scoring a lifeline in a strip club. Handsome in a Texas-hick-white-trash kind of way. Rayon doesn’t bite. Preferring to die with your boots on. A little-white-lie to the FDA. An unlikely business partner. The bar you never thought you would visit. Starting up a new club. Global travels. A big-as-fuck cellphone. The fuckin’ IRS. A dinner date with the good doctor. Feeling human again. A total-fuckin’-bullshit law. Losing your best friend. A helluva coincidence. Information your ass needs to know. Refusing to quit. A pretty picture on the wall. Fuckin’ courtroom bullshit. A standing ovation for a job well done. A badass 8-second-ride. Matthew fuckin’ McConaughey fuckin’ kills it. Give him the fuckin’ Oscar. Fuck you AIDS!”
“The duo that is Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto is enough to warrant the five star rating. McConaughey looks awful physically, but man, does he give his all for this performance, and it shows. As for Leto, if he doesn’t win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in February, I might go crazy. In all, a powerhouse film with some show-stopping performances and a surprising amount of heart and laughs. Highly recommended.”
“Matthew McConaughey – ouch. Just looking at his gaunt face was painful enough but paired with the story too it made for a devastating film. With surprisingly little screen time Jared Leto was equally incredible. Yes the film doesn’t hit the heights it’s actors do but it’s sufficiently well made not to ruin what is an incredibly acted experience.”
“Really great performances from Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, McConaughey really nails it in a realistic quite restrained manner and the weight loss aspect is really only a small part of it. The performances are really strong but not over the top and there are no real “oscar winning scene” moments which I respected. As a film its fairly strong due to the fact it is told and filmed in a very matter of fact way, its honest and frank and steers clear of sentimentality and doesn’t try and shy away from Ron Woodroff’s real personality, because as it happens he was a bit of a prick. The film also doesn’t turn him into a saint, which is good. Criticisms I’d have would probably do with the fact that as a narrative film there’s not much here, Woodroff is a homophobic, vile guy whose life revolves around hookers, drugs and rodeos. He gets aids and then tries to get drugs to treat himself and then others, and that’s basically it. Not a bad thing but by the middle it feels like a selection of scenes happening and then it ends. The performances are truly greater than the film, McConaughey is just on a roll and he is really a powerful actor and Leto impresses as Rayon, a transgender fellow aids sufferer. My problem is this, well two problems, Jennifer Garner who I don’t rate that highly as an actor and she just seems a little out of her depth compared to McConaughey and Leto and her scenes are a bit formulaic feeling. In the end I just wish the film was quite as memorable as the performances in it, but the power of those performances makes the film very very watchable.”
“Bad for a variety of reasons which have nothing to do with issues of representation, but: This isn’t just the straightest movie about AIDS ever made, but the straightest movie about AIDS possible. I dunno: It may be that the only way Hollywood can handle queer narratives is to make them about straight saviors.”
That final review is from Calum Marsh, an incredible guy, I appreciate his views a lot, even if I don’t agree with them from time to time.