Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that Dallas Buyers Club is an intense drama based on a true story about finding treatment for AIDs in the early days of the disease. The movie contains very strong subject matter overall -- including graphic unsafe sex, drug abuse, and bigotry -- but tells a powerful and relevant story. There's some fighting and threats, and a little blood. Some nudity is visible during sex scenes. Language is very strong, and includes several racial and homophobic slurs. Drugs are prevalent, both illegal recreational drugs and AIDS medicines, and characters often drink heavily, or abuse their meds with alcohol. Many characters smoke cigarettes.
The main character has sex with many partners, often unsafe. As the movie opens, he's seen having sex with two girls in the stadium, though it's mostly in close-up with no nudity shown. Later, a flashback shows him having sex with a woman with track marks on her arms; its how he contracted the HIV virus. After being diagnosed, the main character has spontaneous sex with a woman, also diagnosed with the virus. Some female toplessness is shown. The main character's bottom is shown, in another scene he is heard masturbating. There's also strong sexual innuendo, both gay and straight, throughout.
The main character often picks fights with others, especially in the first half of the movie. Much of the time, this doesn't result in anything except some threats or missed punches. In one fight, he gets punched and has a bloody mouth. He's also injured by an electric shock while on a job, and some blood is shown. Even during the second half, however, there is shouting and some showy threats. Characters' feeble and deteriorating conditions are arguably more upsetting than any acts of violence or aggression in the film.
Language is much stronger in the movie's first half, before the character is reformed. It includes "f--k," "s--t," "c--ksucker," "p---y," "Goddamn," "son of a bitch," "hell," "dumbass," "motherf--ker," "a--hole," and "c--k," as well as racial and cultural slurs like "faggot," "homo," "chink," the "N" word, and "spic."
The main character learns to help himself and help others when no system is in place to do it for him. He goes against various laws, but the results of his actions are most certainly for the good. For AIDS patients, he advocates simple vitamins and proteins (as well as clean living and non-processed food) over harsher medicines. Ultimately the message is that when motivated, people can change for the better and fight for the greater good. There's also an anti-corporate message demonstrated through drug companies' heartless actions.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Both the main character, Ron, and the secondary character, Rayon, are shown to be habitual drug users and/or drinkers. In the first half of the movie, Ron drinks heavily (mostly whisky), snorts cocaine, and smokes cigarettes. When Ron first starts taking AIDS meds, he abuses them and takes them with beer. Ron eventually recovers but Rayon keeps using throughout. We rarely see Rayon using, but Ron confronts Rayon about being high in some scenes. Hypo needles are shown, and AIDS medications are discussed at length.