The character of Ron is a hustler first and everything else second and this doesn't change once he finally gets through the "bargaining, anger, denial, acceptance" stages of his diagnosis.
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While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger. Electrician and sometimes rodeo bull rider Ron Woodroof lives hard, which includes heavy smoking, drinking, drug use (primarily cocaine) and casual sex. While in the hospital on a work related injury, the doctors discover and inform him that he is HIV , and that he will most-likely die within thirty days.
Ron is initially in angry denial that he would have a disease that only "faggots" have, but upon quick reflection comes to the realization that the diagnosis is probably true.
Dallas Buyers Club may not be perfect but it is consistent and it is engaging.
I appreciate that it never resorts to easy smaltz or cheap sentimentality and it seems perfectly fine with its flawed character being flawed throughout the film.