Behind the Candelabra (2013)

Behind the Candelabra (2013)

2013 R 118 Minutes

Drama | Romance

Based on the autobiographical novel, the tempestuous 6-year relationship between Liberace and his (much younger) lover, Scott Thorson, is recounted.

Overall Rating

6 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • Behind The Candelabra is as flamboyant as Liberace's glossy wardrobe. The final film before Soderbergh's retirement...oh wait, he's still making more films? Retirement spent well! Hollywood initially rejected this due to the content "being too gay for mainstream audiences" and so Soderbergh released this to TV stations instead. I for one am glad he went ahead and completed the project. Depicting the lavish lifestyle of Liberace, he recruits a younger fellow named Scott and illustrates the idolising yet spiky relationship between the two of them. If you didn't know who Liberace was, well where have you been hiding? Arguably the most famous entertainer of the late 70's having sold out a multitude of shows with his extraordinary piano playing skills. This biopic depicts the last ten years of his life and the illusory world of fame. Soderbergh consistently focused on both the physically and emotional relationship between these two men and how it rapidly deteriorates from boredom. Liberace wanted to see multiple younger guys and Scott succumbed to drug abuse, thus conveying the exertion of energy that was required to maintain this relationship. There's also themes of vanity, pride and jealousy throughout which come together to create a balanced perspective into Liberace's life. Douglas gives probably his best performance of his career as the central character. He absolutely nailed the campy mannerisms of Liberace and remained fearless during the more sexual scenes. Damon also gives a terrific performance as a young man falling for his idol and willing to do anything for him. It came across as helpless rather than obsessive which indicates the strength of his love for him. My major issue is with the tone. The flamboyancy of this production detracts from the emotional involvement of these characters. I felt disconnected and didn't really feel much during the more emotionally powerful scenes. The glossy veil was just too thick which prevented me from looking through it. Also the runtime felt abit extensive at two hours. However, it's certainly a gay ol' time.