Dallas Buyers Club

I think most people are now aware of the health issues related to obesity and these should be enough to encourage anyone to lose weight if they need to. Add to that the desire to look good and there is all the motivation anyone needs. However, it is entirely possible to take things too far, to be too thin or to lose weight too rapidly and the results are neither healthy nor attractive.  I was reminded of this when I watched the movie Dallas Buyers Club. Matthew McConaughey lost a huge amount of weight to play the lead role and ended up looking simply awful!

Looking Like Death

Of course in the case of this role the whole point was to look awful as he was playing Ron Woodroof, a man who died of AIDS. The film made a great impression on me for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the enduring image of McConaughey looking ravaged and emaciated. I marvelled that he had summoned the will power to lose so much weight and that he had retained enough energy to work on set every day.

Wardrobe Issues

I saw Macconaughey interviewed about Dallas Buyers Club recently. He made light of his weight loss campaign (pardon the pun) and joked about his wardrobe in the film. Clearly his clothes were hanging off his diminutive frame and he quipped that this was a good thing because the jeans were supplied by Wrangler and Wrangler jeans were not normally a good fit for his posterior. Having lost the weight and most of his bum with it, the Wranglers fit!

An Inspiring Story

Aside from the brilliant acting of McConaughey and Jared Leto, the film was most notable for the truly inspiring storey of Woodroof, a man who wouldn’t take no for an answer. He was given just 30 days to live having been diagnosed with AIDS. On discovering that there were no drugs available in the USA to treat his condition he researched the subject. He found that experimental treatments were available in Mexico but that the drugs that they were using were not approved by the US authorities.

Lasting Impression

Woodruff drove to Mexico, sought treatment for himself and then took large amounts of the drugs back to the US where he formed a buyers club for AIDS victims to enable them to use the drugs. He defied the authorities and fought a vigorous campaign to defend his actions and to ensure that the members of his buyers club could continue to use the drugs. An ordinary and perhaps not always likeable man discovered his inner hero.

Woodroof had been given 30 days to live but survived for 7 years. He helped hundreds of people to live longer through sheer determination and bloody mindedness. Few films have made such a lasting impression on me and perhaps only Elephant Man had quite such an impact for its combination of brilliant acting, physical transformation and touching story line. The magnificent John Hurt did not get an Oscar for his portrayal of that most unfortunate of men, and he should have done. Ironically the Best Actor Oscar that year went to Robert De Nero for Raging Bull. De Nero had gained a huge amount of weight to play the Role! McConaughey did get the Oscar and rightly so. It would seem that a radical change of weight helps when it comes to Academy Awards.


Article by Sally Stacey