Behind the Candelabra

Behind the Candelabra


Too much of a good thing is wonderful.

Flamboyant pianist, singer and showman Liberace was the world’s highest-paid entertainer from the 1950s to the 1970s. Behind the Candelabra focuses on the secret and tempestuous five-year affair between Liberace (Michael Douglas) and his driver Scott Thorson (Matt Damon) - a heady mix of drug addiction, promiscuity, surreal plastic surgery, sequins and a $US113 million palimony lawsuit. ... More

Directed by Steven Soderbergh and based on the biography/memoir written by Thorson. Soderbergh's final film before retiring, he told Yahoo that Behind the Candelabra was turned down by every major Hollywood studio - "They said it was too gay". HBO Films eventually produced the movie.Hide

On Demand, DVD & Blu-Ray

Available from 4 providers

Flicks Review

Banished to HBO in its native America for being “too gay”, Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace tell-all is actually scrupulously careful not to offend anyone: like Boogie Nights making nice.... More

Based on the memoirs of Scott Thorson, the late pianist’s embittered ex-lover from 1977-1982, it’s a relatively sunny affair, swept along by charismatic performances from Damon and Douglas, two of Hollywood’s most reliable screen stars, plus familiar faces such as Dan Aykroyd and Scott 'Quantum Leap' Bakula.

Douglas made his name playing powerful, morally questionable men, and this is a clever addition to the canon. Comedically queeny but with a core of steel, Liberace has a controlling interest in the youngsters he surrounds himself with. The latest is Damon – playing a teenager! – and though the two start out convincingly hot for each other, Liberace’s narcissistic demands soon take their toll on an already imbalanced relationship.

After an entertaining introduction to the star and his pampered, pantomime world, the film begins to meander, with a broad turn by Rob Lowe as a plasticky plastic surgeon and some overly telegraphed Big Biopic Moments not helping proceedings. Thankfully Soderbergh’s directorial flair brings things back into line before the big finale.

What we’re left with is a gentle drama about people who, if you scratch the surface, must be genuinely damaged even if, for the most part, they’re enjoying themselves too much to let on. In fact, the only person who could feel short-changed is Douglas. No US cinema release means no Oscar nomination – and that’s offensive.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 3 ratings, 3 reviews
Reviewed & Rated by
Your rating & review
Rate / Review this movie

BY CJRedshaw superstar

Several moments through this film I found myself almost covering my eyes in disbelief as Matt Damon & Michael Douglas stared into each others eyes before a lovers embrace... I eventually sat through my typical kiwi bloke discomfort as my girlfriend chuckled away to herself and could see the film as a brilliant portrayal of a very flamboyant individual. The film was over the top with bedazzled cloaks, cars and wall hangings but that was Liberace apparently. There were many many great acting... More moments from all actors and if it weren't for Rob Lowe's plastic surgery I don't know if he could have kept a straight face..."pun intended" great to see Scott Bakula on the big screen not appearing to have aged a day since childhood favourite of mine Quantum Leap... And Dan Akroyds injection in to the film was a welcome dose of reality not usually the role he plays... Artfully delivered and a well put together film that delivers what it promised, may be too much for some guys and girls but it really showcases the talent of great actors when they step up to the plate and deliver!Hide

It may be a TV movie, but this HBO production deserves to be seen on the big screen. Steven Soderbergh delivers a scintillating drama in his supposed final directorial effort (for this week at least...) Reminiscent of Oscar Wilde's turbulent relationship with young Bosie, this so-over-the-top-it-must-be-true tale centres on a warts 'n' wigs 'n' all portrayal of extravagant pianist Liberace by Michael Douglas, who hasn't been this riveting since 'Wonder Boys' way back in 2000. Matt Damon is... More subtle and solid as Scott Thorson; Rob Lowe's a scream as plastic surgeon Jack Startz; and you may not even recognise Scott Bakula as Bob Black or Dan Aykrord, as Liberace's ruthless and huge spectacled agent, Seymour Heller.

For some, it'll seem like camp soap opera or a trashy TV biopic blown up by a bigger budget and star power - but that's the point. Simply put? It's fabulous darling - in every sense.Hide

BY Brendan3 superstar

Michael Douglas does a amazing job.

HBO made this movie for cable TV so no big screen release in USA means it will only receive Emmys not Academy awards as Michael Douglas performance deserves !!!

The behind the scenes story of Scott Thorson played by Matt Damon 6 year relationship with Liberace played by Michael Douglas. Its a love story with all its up and downs its funny sad and gives us a glimpse into one of Las Vegas great entertainers private life.

Worth seeing on the big screen !

The Press Reviews

94% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • The story is told less as a cause-and-effect narrative than as a collection of incidents that add up to something with a crushing emotional weight. Full Review

  • Who'd have thought Michael Douglas and Matt Damon would make such an astonishing, convincing on-screen couple? Steven Soderbergh, that's who... Full Review

  • Damon and Douglas give supremely entertaining performances. Full Review

  • A wonderfully entertaining and revealing look at Liberace’s final decade. Full Review

  • Douglas pulls out all the stops while - somehow - avoiding caricature in a glittering celebrity portrait. If Soderbergh's swansong doesn't always mine great depths, it gives fabulous surface. Full Review

  • Re-creates the lavish living environment and stage shows Liberace orchestrated between 1977 and his death in 1986 of HIV-related complications, while presenting the world with a sort of worst-case version of predatory homosexuality, in which an older man of means identifies, seduces and eventually tosses aside a naive, cornfed young country stud. Full Review

  • One of the most stylish movies Soderbergh has made in years. This is very much Scott’s version of the story, so Soderbergh employs subtle and overt subjectivity in his camerawork... Full Review

The Talk
80 %

Want to see it

What say you?