Hollywood Gets Serious About the Eighties

Dallas Buyers Club recalls the chaotic early days of the AIDS crisis

In 1986, Matthew McConaughey was a 16-year-old high school student in Longview, Texas. A few hours west, in Dallas, electrician Ron Woodroof had just been diagnosed with HIV.

As McConaughey was being named Most Handsome in his class, graduating and going on to the University of Texas, Woodroof was starting the Dallas Buyer's Club, a group of HIV patients who joined forces to order unapproved meds from abroad, often personally smuggled into the States by Woodroof.

Nearly 30 years later, McConaughey stars as Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club (in theaters Nov. 1). The dramatic turn isn't exactly a departure for McConaughey,...

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