Things I Love Movies: Dallas Buyers Club

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this is one of the best films of this decade. And not only because I'm hopelessly in love with Jared Leto, who gives a breathtaking performance as a HIV-positive transsexual.The only other Oscar nominee I've seen so far is American Hustle, which, while pretty good, doesn't even come close to the levels of amazingness touched by Dallas Buyers. If you haven't seen this movie, do yourself a favour and DO SO NOW.

Masterfully directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, this film stars Matthew McConaughey as a homophobic, loud-talking, heavy-drinking, chain-smoking Texas cowboy who discovers he has HIV (acquired probably from his continuous drug abuse). We then follow him on his quest to illegally import and sell life-saving drugs that are not allowed in the US by the FDA. On his journey, Ron meets transsexual AIDS patient Rayon (Jared), who becomes his accomplice in his newly launched business. He also has several semi-romantic run-ins with doctor Eve (Jennifer Garner - I didn't really get this character. Jennifer basically always has the same sad puppy face and doesn't really bring much to the film, except for some presumed romantic tension between her and Matthew. Her acting isn't bad, but she's so bland that Matthew and Jared completely squash her in every scene they're in).

Perfection and gorgeousness and endless adoration.

While this film raises a number of issues and most of all awareness of AIDS and HIV, its strongest point is the supreme acting. Who could have thought Matthew "How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days" McConaughey had this much raw talent? Losing 23kg for the role is just a tiny little speck of his achievements with this role - he tells a story in every single scene. The Best Actor Oscar would be wasted on anyone else (sorry, Leo and Christian, I still love you). That harrowing scene when he breaks down and cries in his car? Oscar-worthy on its own.

But I am somewhat biased, and so my favourite scenes in the film were the ones that included Jared, or Rayon, as I didn't really think of her as Jared's character: I just saw this beautiful, fragile personality with such a colourful story. I know it's hard to find me credible since I love this man so much, but I can honestly say this is one of the most amazing acting I have ever seen in my life. I fell in love with Rayon with every moment. The scene when Rayon visits her father broke me completely. So much beauty.

Matthew and Jared both lost huge amounts of weight for their roles - I see it as dedication to the art, so when someone says in the media that "oh, these actors lost some weight, big deal, female actresses do it all the time", it makes me angry. The actresses do it to be perceived as "pretty", whereas Jared and Matthew shed the pounds to tell a striking story. None of their characters is a particularly good-looking man (although Jared looks better as a woman than I do). But their performances are amazing - something I can't always say about all those carrot-chewing, ever-dieting actresses. I think it's important to keep in mind, when talking about actors in general and this film in particular, that there is a vast sea of difference between sacrificing for your art and going on the Zone diet for the sake of looking "ooh, stunning!" in your red carpet dress. Mind you, I'm not blaming the actresses: it just makes me think of how society always puts pressure on women to perfect the art of being just a pretty face at any cost, while often the men get to do the gritty story-telling and sink their teeth into the interesting stuff. 

On an Oscar note, I also watched American Hustle recently. I enjoyed it, but kept thinking how overrated it is. Why is this movie nominated for - and winning! - so many awards? What's so great about it? While I liked Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence, I was mostly annoyed by Amy Adams' irritating character (is it just me or is this the kind of woman who wouldn't hesitate to use sex to get ahead?) and terrible shot at an "English" accent. The story was okay - but didn't move me. I didn't laugh or cry. Nothing about this movie touched me. Everything about Dallas Buyers did.

This weekend I'm planning on seeing The Wolf of Wall Street - time for a few laughs after all the serious stuff. However, I doubt anything will come close to the most amazing film of the year. Watch it now.

1 comment:

  1. This incredible film charts one man's determination to stay alive against astounding odds and, most tantalisingly, supporting the very people that he despised.


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