Wednesday, February 19 at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm

Celebrated Canadian filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée (C.R.A.Z.Y., The Young Victoria, Café de Flore) makes another bold leap forward with Dallas Buyers Club. Based on the remarkable true story of unlikely AIDS activist Ron Woodroof, this rousing film is already receiving accolades for its masterful performances and powerful script, and is certain to be a frontrunner during awards season.

In 1986, the AIDS crisis was still a misunderstood horror, confounding the doctors who sought a cure, alarming the public, and sparking a tidal wave of anti-gay fear-mongering. So when Texas good ol’ boy Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey; Mud, Magic Mike) is informed that he has contracted HIV, this boozing, foul-mouthed, womanizing, macho-man heterosexual’s response was instinctive: “Bullshit.”

Told that he has only thirty days to live, Woodroof pleads with a doctor (Jennifer Garner; Butter, Juno) for the then experimental drug AZT. Refusing to submit to a time wasting clinical trial, Woodroof—never one to play by the rules—opts for a more direct solution: he steals the drug, taking his first dose with a beer chaser and a snort of cocaine. When the dosage makes him sick, he seeks out alternative remedies, smuggling unapproved treatments over the border from Mexico. Along the way, he strikes up an alliance with Rayon, a troubled drag queen played with stunning conviction by Jared Leto (Mr. Nobody, Panic Room). The pair soon team up to procure treatments for the growing numbers of HIV and AIDS patients unwilling to wait for a hidebound medical establishment to save them.

A classic story of American enterprise with a timely twist, Dallas Buyers Club is a tough portrait of an accidental activist: a homophobe who learns to work with, admire, and even love the gay men that illness brings into his life. McConaughey delivers an unprecedented performance as Woodroof: while his shocking weight loss is the first thing you’ll notice, it’s his cocky spirit and wild, Texan humour that you’ll remember.

[Dallas Buyers Club] is a smartly entertaining tale, delivered with respect for its subject matter, but also wisely knows you can be fun and funny even in the arena of an AIDS drama. For Vallée, it’s another step for the Canadian filmmaker towards a Hollywood that seems to be beckoning, and this could be his calling card, while for McConaughey it’s another achievement in his quickly diversifying body of work. —Kevin Jagernauth, indiewire.com

  • Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
  • Writers: Craig Borten (screenplay), Melisa Wallack (screenplay)
  • Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto

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