How to Survive a Plague

Dallas Buyers Club is the newest award-show buzz-maker to hit movie theaters. The film stars Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodruff, a real-life Texas good ol’ boy who in 1985 was diagnosed with AIDS and given a month to live. Woodruff was nothing if not resourceful, and he dove full-time into the underground market for drugs not approved by the FDA. He ended up living another seven years, during which time he ran the eponymous Dallas Buyers Club, which disseminated these quasi-legal treatments to other AIDS sufferers in the area. The film is both a standard Hollywood biopic and a standard Hollywood AIDS movie. It wraps a person’s life into an easily-unwrapped package (“He learned how to live! And overcame his prejudices!”) and at the same time uses people suffering from AIDS as an easy avenue for tragedy. McConaughey is stratospherically great in the movie, continuing his recent career uptick, but he’s the only thing remarkable about it.

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