In the mid eighties, a man who contracts HIV takes on the FDA when he creates a buyers club for medications that truly help sufferers.
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto
Director: Jean-Marc Valee
I’ve wanted to see this film for a long time, but I was hesitant to watch something sad. This is a film about AIDS and the way that the FDA was more interested in protecting their interests than making sure that people got medications that worked. And yet… I’m glad that I watched this film. It was not a downer at all; it was pugnacious, honest, heart breaking and loving, and felt honest.
Matthew McConaughey lost loads of weight for the role, and gives an excellent performance. (It’s so great to see him doing these more complex and meatier roles now) Ron Woodroof is sometimes dirty, foolish and bigoted, but he’s also tough, a hustler, indomitable and flirtatious. He has an excellent head for business and won’t let anything stand in his way. His attitude makes the film more of an inspiration than a story of tragedy, though the role of the FDA is terrifying, (watch the film, rather than me debating the issue here).
One of the other performances that was so talked about was Jared Leto as Rayon, a vulnerable drug addicted Trans man. This character could so easily have been over the top, but he’s played in a gentle, honest way. He’s beautiful, lovable and tragic.
This is one of the better films that I’ve seen lately, and I was moved in ways that I’m not often by films. It felt real, raw, honest, sad, but also made you feel hopeful. Which is a hard ask for a film about a disease that has no cure.
See If If: It’s the Erin Brockovich of AIDS movies, so see it if you like your movies sad but up-lifting.