Dallas Buyers Club is director Jean-Marc Vallée’s gritty, but often enlightening film about a caustic, homophobic, rodeo-frequenting electrician in Texas named Ron Woodruff (Matthew McConaughey) who is diagnosed with AIDS in the mid ’80s and organizes a membership-based club in which he distributes FDA-unapproved drug cocktails to other AIDS patients. In his dogged struggle to survive, Woodruff finds an unlikely business partner in a savvy HIV-positive transsexual (Jared Leto) and a sympathetic ally in a doctor (Jennifer Garner) who resents her hospital’s administration and the bureaucracy that prevents them from prescribing the then-new AZT pill. It’s a didactic AIDS movie that could actually teach you something. I was shocked too.
Dallas Buyers Club opens November 1, but we sat down with the movie’s stars McConaughey, Leto, and Garner to discuss researching the early days of AIDS treatment, awards season, and how Leto made his transsexual character seem so marvelously authentic.