The response last month to Dallas Buyer’s Club (Focus Features, 11.1) among Toronto Film Festival journos was that it’s a very good film containing two award-calibre performances — Matthew McConaughey‘s as Ron Woodruff, the real-life Texan who became a renegade supplier of unapproved AIDS-fighting medications after being diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1986, and Jared Leto‘s as Rayon, Woodruff’s drag-queen ally who helps him with distribution among the gay community. But I changed my mind after seeing it again last at the Academy. Because it sank in deeper and I teared up a bit. Jean-Marc Vallee‘s disciplined direction and Craig Borten and Melissa Wallack‘s tightly woven but natural-flowing screenplay deliver a compelling humanist current. I came away thinking that this has to be in the Best Picture arena. I was too whipped to absorb it fully in Toronto. Seeing it fresh and rested last night turned things around.

(l. to. r.) Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Mathew McConaughey on stage before last night’s Dallas Buyer’s Club screening at the Academy.

Jennifer Garner delivers her career-best performance as a Dallas-area doctor — good enough to warrant talk of a Best Supporting Actress nomination (although no one is going to beat 12 Years A Slave‘s Lupita Nyong’o). I also fell in love with Griffin Dunne‘s performance as a Mexico-based, shagy-haired physician who turns Wooodruff on to several non-toxic, life-restoring medications. Kudos also to costars Steve Zahn, Dallas Roberts, Michael O’Neill and Denis O’Hare.

Here’s the original 8.9.92 Dallas Morning News article about Woodruff by Bill Minutaglio.

Originally posted during the Toronto Film Festival — here’s the link.