Matthew McConaughey in the first Dallas Buyers Club trailer
We saw the pictures from the set last year and what we've been asking so far about Dallas Buyers Club has been pretty fluffy stuff like - how did Matthew McConaughey lose all that weight?! Or maybe - is he replacing Julie Bowen as my new thinspo?? (KIDDING!) But the trailer's been released and, while it’s a downer, there are now much more serious things to ask about this movie, specifically - who gets to own the story of AIDS?
What the trailer shows is Matthew "Kate Hudson Enabler" McConaughey playing a Foghorn Leghorn type of Texan in the 80s. He loves the rodeo, gambling and he's HIV positive with 30 days to live. The inspiring hero's journey that follows is about his quest to get access, illegally, to the drug cocktail he believes will extend his life, and in the process he helps others get the same drugs.
This story is real, apparently is the biography of an actual straight man (at least he seems straight from the trailer), and I'm not trying to say he doesn't deserve to have his story told. The trailer, though, markets it as the journey of one man who "changed the world" and that's why my face is currently stuck in a "...the fuuuu*k??" expression. Because that is not the story of AIDS that I know.
The story of AIDS that I know, that so many of us know, is about LGBT people, and their allies, who were losing their loved ones left and right. They were terrified, under threat and ignored because the straight mainstream didn't value them enough to give a sh*t that they were dying. These people got organized and, through incredibly hard work, got the medication they believed would save them.
Obviously straight people were and are affected by AIDS, and part of the solution we're all lucky to live with today (not that the fight is over!). Still, it feels weird to co-sign on a movie where one single straight guy is billed as the savior in the middle of the crisis. Especially when the character is scripted to be so easily likable in this particular way. It's like "don't worry, he's got HIV but he didn't get it from man-on-man butt sex, he's white, he's a rootin' tootin' good time, and is tough enough to defend the poor pansy Jared Leto in a grocery store."
And can we talk about the casting of Jared f*cking Leto for one second? There's absolutely no way anyone is buying a ticket to this move simply because they want to watch the reigning King Douche, right? He's not really that good an actor. So would it have killed Jennifer Garner to suggest they hire an actual transgender woman for this part?
I don't have a monopoly on AIDS related pain because I'm gay. It's obviously not up to me to decide what's right here, because this is a tragedy that touched everyone. I just hope that LGBT people get a little more of a voice in the actual movie than they do in the trailer. Especially if the person who helped Kate Hudson become Kate Hudson is going to try to score an Oscar off of this.