The Dallas Buyers Club is based on the true story of Ron Woodroof, a Texas electrician who, after being diagnosed with AIDS, began smuggling alternative and illegal drugs into the USA to extend his life as well as the lives of other patients.
The film tells an important story of a disease and the frustrating bureaucracy that conceivably translated to the death of scores of patients.
Matthew McConaughey (having his best year ever) plays Woodroof with astonishing range. Jared Leto is cast as Rayon, a transsexual AIDS patient, instrumental in creating the network of buyers for Woodroof. Both McConaughey and Leto dropped between 30 to 40 pounds to appear believably ravaged by illness. Losing or gaining weight can have a dramatic impact on 'getting into character', and this is especially so in the case of Ron and Rayon.
There's plenty of chatter about McConaughey's fierce and convincing performance, always followed by comments on his shocking weight loss. But Jared Leto's transformative turn as Rayon has a quiet power that steals some of that thunder. In one scene, Rayon, who typically wears flowery dresses and bright lipstick,visits her conservative father. It's clear her father never supported or approved of Rayon's true nature, and out of respect Rayon wears a man's suit for her visit. Those few moments where Jared Leto looks so uncomfortable in the suit, so unhinged to be sans make-up, so tortured to pretend to be male if only for a short visit, they reveal how deeply the actor inhabited his role.
Jared Leto as Rayon
Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof