With all of those cancer related dramas around, you sort of start to wonder, why there aren't some more HIV/AIDS related movies around as well. Is it because it's still a sort of taboo subject, that most people don't know that much about? Probably so, so in that regard it's a true good thing and positive thing that this movie is around, that's more than just a drama about a dying man.
This easily could have turned into a melodramatic movie, without a real point to it. But it's good to see that this movie is way more than just that and it's actually tackling some hard subjects and breaking some taboos. There are still lots of prejudices against AIDS patients and of course especially back in the '80's, which this movie is set in. It's handling all of its subjects in a very effective and non-forced way. It's not trying to be an educational movie but rather one that's just simply telling a character driven story and therefor works out as a very effective and engaging one.
The movie isn't just about prejudices but also clearly one about struggles. Not just about the struggle to survive but also about the struggles against the health-care system, that at the time wasn't exactly tailored for AIDS patients and people were pretty much left to die, without given the proper medicines to extend- and improve their quality of life. It's one of the many layers of the story that this movie touches upon, without ever turning the movie into a too crowded one, that's without a good focus. It's about a whole lot more than just it's main character but yet the movie manages to stick to it's main character for most part, which is making the movie 'pleasant' and well balanced and focused to follow.
To be fair, McConaughey always have been a great actor but he hasn't always been in the best movies or played the right roles for him. The emphasis too often got put on his looks and not his performances (also his own fault really, taking his shirt of in almost every darn movie). Only just recently people start to rediscover and appreciate his acting talents, now that he has started doing some smaller movies as well, such as this one. He even went to the extreme to loose 38 pounds for his role, which makes you respect him and his performance in this movie even more. He doesn't look healthy, which is of course perfect for the part he's playing. But other than that, the performance itself by him is also one of world-class quality but I have to admit that I was even more impressed with Jared Leto's performance, who also lost almost just as many pounds for his role.
Leto plays an homosexual transsexual and I swear, by his looks and the way he talks and walks around, you would think that he has been doing this whole his life. He's just that convincing, confident and perfect in his role. He truly becomes the character and in a way it's a sort of a shame that McConaughey is getting most of the attention.
It's a great character movie with some even more impressive performances and a solid story, with some good layers to it and engaging angles.