Dynamite Performances. Shoe-in Oscar noms for Best Actor, Matthew McConaughey, and Best Supporting Actor, Jared Leto (Mr. Nobody – 2009). Quèbec director, Jean-Marc Vallée (C.R.A.Z.Y. – 2005) provided a well balanced story (heavy subject mixed in whipped lightness of endearment) that was definitely sans frontiére: Straight red-neck cowboy became advocate for HIV/AIDS treatment; gay transvestite junky became friend with the straightest hot-head and foul-mouth Texan; suited FDA agent out to disapprove rights to live; white-coat doctors blinded in their double-blinded tests; big Pharma pushed drugs…HIV/AIDS is NOT a Gay-Only disease!
McConaughey‘s effort was undeniably noble with his weight loss to portray Ron Woodroof, cause there was no other ways to show wasting, one of the symptoms of the most devastating disease-AIDS that must have wiped clean at least 20% of the gay population in the 80’s and 90’s. Fortunately, there are many encouraging news these days about possible vaccine to prevent such a horrid disease that knows no boundaries. It’s about time!
I was so engaged in the first act, mostly with McConaughey‘s skeletal frail bones and muscle and his foul-mouth constant torpedoed double F-bombs (F#@k and Faggots), that I completely forgot the reason I came to see was Leto‘s role as Rayon, the transvestite. He submitted his own audition to the director, apparently. He nailed it! The transformation was flawless, cause Rayon was alive in every scene; there were no unnecessary campiness, over-exaggerated pitches, nor unwanted gratuitous sexual acts. The unlikely union, and the budding friendship of this odd, very odd couple, would enthralled you till the very end when Rayon succumbed and perished. Jennifer Garner was respectable as Dr. Eve Saks, the pale-in-comparison four-eyed doctor who had dissonance between true science and dying patients, and gradually formed an altruistic relationship with Ron.
This film perhaps gives us back the reason why movies ought to be made: tell a story that has mind, heart and soul.
P.S. No point of regurgitating the storyline. Google “Ron Woodroof” as I did to find out more about the Dallas Buyers Club that he set up for those seeking alternative treatment of HIV/AIDS, but still at a hefty price then. I had no clues of what he did until yesterday! Ignorance is not bliss; learning is.