AZT was the only FDA approved drug in the 80s and those who were infected with AIDS had no choice but to fatally abide by FDA rules.
Not Ron Woodroof. An electrician/Rodeo cowboy. He tries to fight his life out by first fighting for his own rights to decide what medication he should or shouldn’t take. He takes FDA by its horns (and succeeds partially) and to the disbelief of the doctors who gave him only 30 days to live after detecting his T-cell count to be only 9, Ron manages to outlive their prediction to live for 8 more years.
This is Matthew McConaughey’s movie all the way. He will definitely be a nominee at the Oscars. But this is also Jared Leto’s movie all the way. What a great transformation on Leto’s part to play that gay role and as far McConaughey, did he lose 40 or 60 lbs to play this part? What a crazy lifestyle change to play this role!
In many ways this is a quintessential American movie – A normal guy fighting against the system. To me though, what made watching the movie a pleasant experience was the fact it touched upon two important topics – Homophobia and Pharmaceutical bullying.
I have always believed that the pharma industry in the country is essentially a very sophisticated avatar of old fashioned drug cartel mob. They don’t let anyone else sell drugs in their territory and if someone else does, they get lynched. That’s exactly how they operate today with the assistance of FDA. And so when the movie brought out the real problem with FDA to the fore, I was celebrating within myself.
The last 5-10 minutes could have been edited differently – as I didn’t particularly like the way Woodroof’s fight was shown to end quite abruptly – That portrayal of his end didn’t do justice to the portrayal of the valiant fight that he had put in till then.
This is one pharma debate that is worth having.
[Note: I watched the movie on World Aids Day 2013. Symbolic.]