This week at the movies, Peter Travers highlights Hollywood's latest "based on a true story" Oscar grab, Dallas Buyers Club. Set in the 1980s, the film stars Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof, a homophobic electrician with a penchant for boozing and philandering. But after sleeping with a drug user, he contracts HIV. Ostracized by his friends and given 30 days to live, his life falls to pieces.
Dallas Buyers Club is a veritable Matthew McConaughey showcase, another fantastic performance from a guy who just a few years was stuck in, as Travers puts it, "rom-com, Kate Hudson hell." "He's just re-invented himself," says our film critic. "If he's up there with all the biggies for Best Actor, I'm up there cheering for him – as I do for Dallas Buyers Club." McConaughey lost nearly 40 pounds for the role, but Travers insists it doesn't distract from the performance, which he calls "no bull – there's no cinnamon in this."
Woodroof ends up meeting a fellow AIDS patient, Rayon, a transgendered female played by Jared Leto, who Travers says is in the running for Best Supporting Actor. Though hardly kind to her at first, Woodroof and Rayon end up joining forces to smuggle and sell an alternative to the HIV drug AZT, which hasn't been working for either of them. "This is a move that gets you because it's not all glum – you feel the buoyancy of their challenge," Travers raves. "They're rebels, they're shaking the tree."