Awards Won: Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey), Best Supporting Actor (Jared Leto), Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Dallas Buyers Club signaled the height of the McConnaisance, and definitely proved that Matthew McConaughey had officially made a comeback. If only it was for a better movie. McConaughey is very good in it (he’s good in most things), but he’s the only good thing in a very boring, bordering on Lifetime-quality film. The film tells the story of Ron Woodruff, an AIDS patient diagnosed in the ‘80s in a time with very little HIV/AIDS education who went on to smuggle drugs to those who needed them. The film manages to hit several cliches usually present in stories about LGBTQ people, as well as several biopic cliches.
Questionable straightwashing of Ron Woodruff aside (he was reportedly queer himself), the movie tells the tired story of a homophobic man who learns to overcome his homophobia after becoming friends with queer people. Jared Leto’s Oscar-winning performance (setting aside the offensive practice of cis actors playing trans actors) is also garishly bad, succumbing to the very worst Hollywood stereotypes of trans characters as fragile, beauty-obsessed, tragic martyrs used to wring easy emotion out of the viewer. All of that aside, there are no dramatic beats here that aren’t present in other, better “underdog vs. the establishment” stories like Erin Brokovich or Philadelphia.