Dallas Buyers Club

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner. Bio/drama. Written by Craig Borten, Melisa Wallachk. Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee.

FILM SYNOPSIS: In 1985, electrician and sometimes rodeo bull rider Ron Woodroof, a hard-living heterosexual, becomes infected with the HIV virus. After his initial angry denial, he does all the research he can in order to stay alive. Aided by a gay cross-dresser and a conflicted female doctor, Woodroof takes on the medical establishment in order to find a way AIDs victims can live longer with their disease.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I guess there are subjects that do need to be brutally graphic in tone and content in order to relay the seriousness of social issues to today’s filmgoer. And since this is the era wherein we must show tolerance toward those who embrace lifestyles was considered deviant, the filmgoer will be assaulted by content and perspective. As I sat watching a homosexual transvestite inject himself with heroine, I wondered where we would draw the lines of acceptance. Once there is no stigma left for gays and lesbians to hurdle, what lifestyle will Hollywood then feel led to adopt? You realize there are people who think it’s okay to have sex with children, or animals or corpses. Sorry to include that line as the mere thought of such behavior is still repellent to most of us. But for how long? When will Hollywood demand we no longer label them, as well?

If you’re going to see Dallas Buyers Club, beware you are going to get a heaping dose of sexual activity, beginning with the pre-opening credits scene where we see the lead having sex with two women. Then there’s the not so subtle attitude of the filmmaker who constantly bashes what he considers homophobic leanings. The writers and director have chosen a character that almost everyone can sneer at; a no-class “redneck” who appreciates his own excesses while slandering those of other persuasions.

The filmmaker seems to be asking, “Are there any of you who still feel homosexuality is wrong?” This in turn raises the question, “When will the gay rights police come knocking at our doors?”

By inference, the film makes clear that everyone is intolerant of something. Some can’t digest the sexual activity of homosexuals and lesbians, while others are downright opposed to those to embrace the Bible’s declaration against such activity. But if you can get past the filmmaker’s decidedly accepting nature of all things hedonistic, there is a message that everyone can and should take to heart – we need to have compassion for one another.

The true target for writers Craig Borten and Melisa Wallachk, and director Jean-Marc Vallee, is the outing of the business world and government’s control of the medical community. What’s more, the film makes clear that pharmaceutical developers and medical science are businesses, or at least run by those who demand profit over cure.

Though the gay lifestyle is beyond my comprehension, whenever I hear someone attack anyone because of their differences, the biblical scene that depicts people ready to stone a woman for her adultery comes to mind. Jesus compassion and insight (He who is sinless, throw the first stone) demands that we show compassion while we seek forgiveness for our own misdeeds.

Dallas Buyer’s Club is brutal in its content, and demands that we accept its graphic sexuality and profane language, but it is well-constructed, the pacing and energy never lagging, and the three leads each give career defining performances. This is a film that won’t be ignored come awards season.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Focus Features

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Crude sexual conversations.

Obscene Language: It became clear early on that obscene and profane language would be heard throughout, so I didn’t bother to count.

Profanity: God’s name is followed by a curse countless times.

Violence: A man defends himself when others label him gay because he has AIDs.

Sex: There are several scenes depicting sexual situations of all kinds, some rather graphic.

Nudity: Brief male and female nudity.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Drug use and alcohol abuse are seen several times.

Other: None

Running Time: 117 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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