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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Friday May 22, 2020 


The story of Texas electrician Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) and his battle with the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies after being diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1986, and his search for alternative treatments that helped established a way in which fellow HIV-positive people could join a ‘club’ to access his supplies.

Or how a reprobate womaniser, boozer, snorter and hustler made a difference to hundreds if not millions of lives …and how an actor called Matthew McConaughey resurrected the remarkable spirit of Ron Woodroof, in a performance that swallows the actor – body and all.

It’s a tough film, based on a true story, set in the mid 80s, when AIDS had just hit the headlines and was pronounced as ‘the gay disease’. The protagonist is a homophobic cowboy whose promiscuous lifestyle leaves him with HIV and a death sentence. His choices and decisions to fight the establishment, the drug companies and the law make him an unlikely hero, in his quest to quash the FDA’s (Food and Drug Administration) rule involving unapproved treatments.

For one thing, the screenplay is devoid of Hollywood schmaltz and Hollywood fakery; it is visceral and poignant and never fails to be truthful, raw and intelligently sensitive. It is one helluva film, more than a biography, more than a docudrama: it’s story of a unique man, a Texan rodeo aficionado and all round homophobic tough guy gets AIDS, and eventually bonds with a cross dressing homosexual. – Rayon. Rayon is a magnificent, rich, heartbreaking performance by Jared Leto that will haunt us for a long time. Possibly as long as it has taken the screenplay to become a film: 20 years.

This is a sponsored post but opinions are my own. Andrew L. Urban

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Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof

Jared Leto as Rayon

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