e initially keeps the sentimentalism at bay, opting for a rugged, matter-of-fact portrait of his highly flawed and accidental crusaders. Neither Ron nor Rayon is generous by nature, each angling for what serves their interests best. While the film's message of activism and tolerance is inevitable, it rarely compromises Woodroof's shrewd pragmatism when it comes to self-important posturing. Instead, it suggests that Ron's acceptance of the LGBT community is borne of daily interaction rather than some hackneyed life-changing epiphany. Better still, his unlikely friendship with self-destructive Rayon is presented as bristly and complicated. Both actors are in especially fine form, bringing their characters' complex relationship with illness to vivid life. (The less said of Garner's unnecessary and ineffectual doctor character, the better).