Matthew McConaughey (transformed physically) disappears into his role of real-life ’80s AIDS crusader, Ron Woodruff. This film was made with a very small budget, and directed by a French-Canadian, Jean-Marc Vallee (The Young Victoria). I never heard of this story until my friends and I went to see it (just before the holidays)!
Ain’t nuthin’ out there can kill Ron Woodruff in 30 days!
Ron is an electrician by trade, but (part-time) bull riding is his real love. Drinking and hooking up with random women (many of whom follow the rodeo) is also part of his dangerous lifestyle. When Ron gets injured at a jobsite, he’s taken to the local hospital. The attending doctor (matter-of-factly) tells him that he has HIV and only 30 days to live. Yes, it’s a very serious/heavy film!
Ron is initially very angry and in denial that he would have a disease that only gay men have. Upon quick reflection, he comes to the realization that the diagnosis is probably true. (He’s no dummy!) Ron starts reading up on HIV/AIDS, which (at that time) seems to be most effectively treated by AZT, which was only in clinical trials.
Ron can’t get into the clinical trials, he learns from a sympathetic doctor, Eve (Jennifer Garner), a woman he mistakes for a nurse. So, he goes searching for meds on his own. Ron goes to a doctor in Mexico. He even flies to Japan to meet with a bigwig in the drug industry. In time, Ron forms an alliance with Rayon (Jared Leto), a transvestite who is on and off the wagon (struggling with heroine addiction). Rayon is in the clinical trial, and also shares a childhood connection with Eve. In one of the film’s most revealing scenes, Rayon puts on a suit to settle monetary concerns with a banker (also his father).
This film is educational, not merely entertainment. It was a big labor of love for all involved, including Brad Pittt and Ryan Gosling. Check it out before the Oscars!