The film “Dallas Buyers Club”, starring Matthew McConauhey in his Academy Award winning role, is about Ron Woodroof, a man exposed to the AIDS virus who starts a buyers club – a network of infected individuals that help each other get life-saving medication.
The homophobic, free wheeling cowboy Ron contracts the HIV virus through the casual sex he has on a regular basis. The disease, stigmatized at the time as a “gay man’s” ailment, forces Ron into personal hiding, as he’s affronted with homophobic slurs despite his heterosexual lifestyle.
After being informed he has only months to live, Ron devotes his remaining hours to saving his life, discovering the drug AZT, then only in clinical trials. Because it’s still restricted by the FDA, Ron searches for other means, finding a disavowed doctor residing in Mexico. The drug, legal and affordable, in Mexico, Ron starts smuggling it across the border for his own use. The change in him is remarkable, his quality of life improving with every given day. It’s then, through his new found friendship among the HIV-stricken, many of whom are gay, that he devotes his time to bringing the drug in to help them as well. Along the way, doctors and FDA officials alike try to shut him down, disregarding his, and other takers, noticeable improvement. Between harassment and raids, the FDA and other government entities try to stop his quest. Despite everything the government does to stop his “dangerous” use of drugs, “endangering” those around him, Ron ends up dying in 1992, seven years after his terminal diagnosis predicted.
This is true liberty film, the most obvious element discussed being the right to do with your body as you see fit. McConauhey’s character, time and time again, is merely seeking to treat himself in the way he sees fit. Meanwhile, the government, through regulation, acts as a paternal force, protecting him from himself; telling him what’s best for his own person. The freedom of your own person is one of the most elemental, and this story’s powerful representation of it is something that will resonate for years to come.
1) Does a person have the right to decide what does, or doesn’t, go into their body?
2) While there is valid concern in ingesting untested drugs, does the buck stop with government?