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Plot: Scott Thorson, a young gay man raised in foster homes, is introduced to flamboyant entertainment giant Liberace and quickly finds himself in a romantic relationship with the legendary pianist. Swaddled in wealth and excess, Scott and Liberace have a long affair, one that eventually Scott begins to find suffocating. Kept away from the outside world by the flashily effeminate yet deeply closeted Liberace, and submitting to extreme makeovers and even plastic surgery at the behest of his lover, Scott eventually rebels. When Liberace finds himself a new lover, Scott is tossed on the street. He then seeks legal redress for what he feels he has lost. But throughout, the bond between the young man and the star never completely tears. Runtime: 118 mins Release Date: 06 Jun 2013
Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of Steven Soderbergh as I find a lot of his films quite boring. But this film really blew me away.It has everything I want to see in a movie: great performances, true stories, same sex love, a little bit of nudity, but not too much, truthfulness, warmth, minimum amount of violence and good cinematography. I have a newfound respect for Michael Douglas, who becomes completely unrecognizable with a little help of good make up , gives it all in his performance as Liberace, and yet only just beat cancer a year earlier.10 out of 10**
Yes, gay movie... the best I've seen! (by tobyric)
I just watched this movie and I felt immediately compelled to write a review. Michael Douglas carries the movie amazingly well. I have seen him in many movies but after seeing him playing Liberace tonight I have only respect for him. Matt Damon did a good job too but certainly not near as great as the job Douglas did. I am amazed that no studio wanted to do this movie. I liked Brokeback Mountain but I never connected with the gay relationship it portrayed. Here, the relationship feels sincere, much more natural. Douglas never looks like a caricature, a path that could have been easily to go <more>
for, He looks like a real person I never saw Liberace perform . Great job Mr. Douglas, you have won a fan!
I really enjoyed this movie. I thought the storyline was wonderful and the actors, did a great job! There was never a boring moment in the entire film. It rolled along at a perfect clip! I highly recommend watching this! I have always liked Liberace, but watching this movie, made me like him even more. He seemed REALLY down to earth ~ like a nice guy! I loved the outfits he wore. I've always loved sequins. This is a fabulous movie.This was not a super long movie. And I thought Rob Lowe did a great job too, as the surgeon. His character was a TRIP! LOLI am wondering how many more lines I <more>
have write here? I have written a good review and every time I hit "submit" I get that IRRITATING...."Your review does not contain enough lines. The minimum length for reviews is 10 lines of text."OK!!!!!! I wrote WAY OVER 10 lines of text, in my first two paragraphs!
I would not want to be the person shopping around a serious script in Hollywood about the life of the famous pianist Liberace. It would be the toughest of sells to a culture that would likely feel the material is too dry and the demand too little. A slightly campier script, with luxurious set design and intimate portrayals of characters the public wouldn't likely know about is what I'd like to get my hands on. The story of Liberace is stranger than fiction and dryer, more serious material could've corrupted its overall goals and ambitions.The film with the campier script, <more>
luxurious set designs, and intimate portrayals is Steven Soderbergh's Behind the Candelabra, a wonderful, limitless look at the life of Liberace, an enigma in every sense of the word. In addition to playing many sold-out shows, the man had a lovelife like no other at the time, meeting and becoming fast friends with Scott Thorson, an aspiring veterinarian who was quickly made his lover. Thorson seemed to have a genuine understanding of the loneliness and lack of friendship Liberace had and provided him with great talks, great compassion, and great sex.The relationship, however, resulted in drug addiction, intense plastic surgery, lies, mistrust, and ended with a lawsuit. Soderbergh and writer Richard LaGravenese don't hesitate to explore this and make it one of the deepest focuses in the picture. The relationships the men had had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. The scenes when they are together in a hot tub are human and romantic. The scenes when they are fighting are heartbreaking because you realize that these men haven't just come so far to make their relationship work but losing each other after so long would be detrimental to their self-esteems and egos. They complete each other and that's where the magic is at its strongest.Liberace is played by Michael Douglas in one of the bravest roles of his career. So brave and powerful that it's unfortunate that because of the film's TV movie status it is ineligible for an Academy Award nomination. Douglas is an actor who is never conventional with his role choice. The same man who played a common-man pushed off a cliff of sanity, an executive victim to a consuming, real-life game, and a worried father of a drug-addicted daughter is the same man playing a middle-aged, flamboyant pianist with a love for wonder, music, and men. The diversity in role choice is stunning.Matt Damon appears at his youngest as Liberace's lover Scott, in an equally conflicted, complex performance. Damon fills the shoes of the role beautifully and effectively, giving off much in the way of creative energy and heart as he shows just how stressed and torn Thorson must've been in a relationship with someone who truly loved and understood him but wanted to manipulate him. Supporting performances from Rob Lowe as Liberace's doctor, prescribing medicines to both him and Thorson and Dan Aykroyd as his manager are terrific and often are seen providing strong comic relief.For a TV movie to have the cinematography and atmosphere that Behind the Candelabra does is truly a feature worth nothing. It may not be as excessive as Baz Luhrmann's Great Gatsby - I don't expect anything of the next two years to be on par with that film - but rarely has a TV movie achieved such phenomenally vibrant and luscious standards. The only thing that could make it better is Soderbergh proving he knows how to work with it and he most certainly does.HBO seems to be the go-to network for biographical films about figures that wouldn't likely make appropriate return in the theaters Behind the Candelabra especially considering the summer movie season has already hit the ground running . David Mamet, just a few months ago, directed the delightful and shockingly unbiased Phil Spector, with actors like Al Pacino and Helen Mirren receiving top-billing. Seeing as a Liberace biopic is directed by none other than Soderbergh, I wouldn't be surprised at seeing a slew of films about eclectic media figures being made and released on HBO in the next few years. Networks that have the drive and willingness to air these kinds of films are a necessity to the success of film.Starring: Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Rob Lowe, and Dan Aykroyd. Directed by: Steven Soderbergh.
Spot on portrayals of of Lee & Scott (by rc78-701-65602)
Liberace was a brilliantly gifted Maestro who never disappointed his fans despite the most viciously mean spirited and relentless attacks against Liberace's art, craft & personal life's flaw's. Critics misrepresenting themselves as knowledgeable in music, on any, level, only succeeded in showing their gross ignorance about Liberace's, or anybody's music career. Behind The Candelabra brought Liberace to life again, and humanized him again for his millions of fans who continue to appreciate the Maestro's brilliance in his art & craft. The lifelong dedication <more>
Liberace held for his art & craft fearlessly tore down barriers against high art in his quest to bring high art to the masses. Others before him, Chopin, Beethoven, Debussy, Mozart also were persecuted and very misunderstood nor appreciated for their cultural contributions to their art & craft. Mercifully what is most interesting to Liberace's fans here,is not what his critics think & say, that never ceases, as on these very pages here. Dostoyevsky put it best when he wrote in great detail how the masses most despise the art's, they pretend to revere. Maybe Liberace might never be truly recognized as the rosetta stone for piano music, he is. But, if it is not about art, surely it is a love story, and though shallow a love story, let's be honest, its very appropriate since it's not Liberace's point of view, But Scott Thorson's point of view that this story is all about. Also what is not said, is Scott Thorson's predatory penchant for stooping however low necessary to support his lifelong penchant as a dope addict. If were truly honest about pointing fingers then, though Liberace was deeply flawed, so was Scott and in the end the one cancels out the other and were left with a very tragic love story.
Haunting Storytelling and Brilliant Performances (by cinemaniac2002)
From the moment I heard that this movie was being made by Steven Soderbergh with Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Rob Lowe, Dan Akroyd and Debbie Reynolds, who actually knew Liberace – I was hooked. I just knew I would enjoy this film, so I write this with a certain amount of bias. I find all of Soderbergh's films insightfully enduring and Richard LaGravenese's truthful writing refreshing. I'd always been fascinated by the flamboyant, glittery Liberace since childhood. As a young adult, I guessed that he was probably gay, though none of the media talked openly about it. It was clear <more>
that most people thought he was gay – but no one cared particularly due to his popularity. Besides, back then, you just didn't talk about such things.The film centers around the love affair between Liberace and Scott Thorson, based upon his book about their torrid and troubled relationship. I hadn't read the book so I found that the story behind their relationship turned out to be much more unnerving than many I've seen. I used to think that I couldn't be more creeped out than I used to be by the babes I knew in California who would get boob jobs and other bodily reconstructions to suit their men, but this one takes the cake. Since I already indicated there are spoilers, I will go ahead and say that I can find little more twisted than a grown man who insists that his lover have his face reconstructed to make it look like his own. I suppose it made sense that perhaps the reason he did that was because he intended to adopt the 17 year old young man, making it beyond disturbing, bordering on pedophilia and molestation by a father figure. Yikes!Matt Damon has said that because Soderbergh is so precise, it was much easier to do the gay for pay my words scenes. Thank goodness for small favors. Nonetheless, these two actors fearlessly go for an authentic look into an ill-fated romance that went south for more than a few reasons. Thorson has maintained that he was bisexual, found gay porn a turn-off and was disenchanted by Liberace's propensity toward promiscuity. One scene that makes Liberace look particularly hypocritical is when he tells his lover that they should see other people to satisfy their individual sexual desires, but then accuses Scott of having an affair.Even more troubling is when Thorson revealed that all of the unnecessary facial surgeries, done to satisfy his obsessive lover, created an addiction to various drugs such as cocaine, biphetamines, Demerol and quaaludes, all of which were allegedly provided by the plastic surgeon.The level of detail in this film is mesmerizing, from the elaborate costumes to the over the top décor that Liberace incorporated into his entire lifestyle. Surely, the costume designers deserve an award for their work on this film, as do the entire cast, crew and director. It's actually one of the best biopics I've ever seen. It really felt like I was entering the world of this man at a time in his life when he had gone far beyond his pinnacle, but remained very popular. Soderbergh's shots from head to toe accentuating the shimmering lifestyle that Liberace led are haunting against the backdrop of living inside of the closet for most all of his life. Given Thorson's continued troubled life, it would be interesting to see an epilogue to this film. Exploring the affects of how a 17 year old boy's sexual relationship with a very famous and obsessive man, old enough to be his father affected him could be seen as a cautionary tale – at the very least. It is said that Thorson is working on the second part of his story to raise money for a legal defense fund. As he sits in jail, penniless - it looks look a movie advance on a book doesn't go far these days.
Point and Counter Point: Liberace's Life In Front Of and Behind the Candelabra (by ArminCallo-PalmSprings)
Behind the Candelabra is not a biopic. Although the story revolves around the life of Liberace, the film is more than that. It is a love story that encompasses universal themes with a surrealistic twist. It is well crafted by Steven Soderbergh, a veteran director with such films as Traffic, Erin Brockovich and Ocean's Eleven under his belt. And although Soderbergh describes the work as "Alice going down the rabbit hole," it is a surprisingly strong film with convincing performances and a tender, yet out-of-the-box, point of view.Two of Hollywood's big-name alpha males – <more>
Michael Douglas and Matt Damon – play the lead roles delivering strong and convincing performances. It would have been easy to portray the over-the-top flamboyance of Liberace in high camp theatricality. But not here. Douglas is restrained, measured, and deliberate. His Liberace straddles both sides of the male persona. Douglas goes from being tender lover and father-protector to the excessive, power-hungry controlling tyrant driven to an addiction for acquisition: homes, jewelry, dogs, new lovers, and all things Louis Quinze. Damon's Thorson is both a quintessential 70s male hooker and passive disco diva. All through the film, he is dazed and awestruck by his surroundings. As Liberace's latest boy-toy, he basks in the glow of rococo excess. And he is bewildered and confused when Liberace -- moving on to the next conquest – tragically, and predictably, takes everything away. Always, Thorson seems to be a man to whom things happen. He is not a figure who takes control of his surroundings but rather is controlled by them. This passivity is quite surprising in as much as the movie is based on a book written by Thorson who is hell-bent on casting himself in the best possible light. In contrast to the one-sided take of Thorson's book, Soderbergh's film provides Thorson with depth and dimension. He is more than a victim. He actively plays into his victimhood. Soderberg shows Thorson as actively doing nothing to improve his life or circumstance. Instead of taking full advantage of his relationship with Liberace, Thorson lives in, and for, the moment. He piddles away the opportunity to make something of himself beyond the rentboy persona. It brings new meaning to the old Freddy Fender song "Wasted days and wasted nights." At the end, all he ends up with is another diet, addiction, a new face and a paltry $95K.The supporting cast members are equally effective as the leads. The standout here is, unquestionably, Rob Lowe as Liberace's plastic surgeon Dr. Jack Startz. His face is wonderfully plastic and his acting sublime. Scott Bakula is Liberace's mustachioed procurer; Dan Aykroyd is his Foster-Grant-wearing manager/henchman; and Debbie Reynolds is Liberace's prosthesized-up-the-ying-yang Polish mother. All submit strong performances despite brief appearances in almost cameo roles. None of the supporting actors distracts from the focus on the two tragic lovers whose end comes as expectedly as any Shakespearean tragedy. To convey that 70s and early 80s look and feel, Soderberg seems to have used old-fashioned film in lieu of going "straight" digital. The movie is bracketed by what appears as grainy home movies. It opens with the LA bar scene and 17-year-old Thorson at his outlying rural foster home. It ends with the melodramatic flourish of Liberace's death in Palm Springs and the resulting saga over the Riverside County coroner's attempts to autopsy the body despite the family's efforts to keep his AIDS-related cause of death from public view. The conflict is told via newsreel storytelling straight out of Orson Well's Citizen Kane. In between, we are taken on a trip to wonderland. Like riding in a monorail, we are shuttled between houses in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Palm Springs. We enter rooms upon rooms replete with white painted pianos, crystal chandeliers and gold-gilt furniture. The journey is a magical mystery tour into a bizarre world inhabited by two larger than life figures beset with very ordinary problems. Like everyone else, they face issues of money and power; attraction and rejection; youth and old age; addiction and dysfunction; life and death. And weaving through it all, is the all-too-common story of "the next new thing; the next big fix." I guess in the end, the grass is always greener on the other side. And what we have is never enough.Soderberg weaves a morality tale where choices have consequences and people get exactly what they deserve. In this movie, the consequences are cruel but quite sober and sensible. There are neither suicides nor any type of saccharine sentimentality. And while the pathos could be deliciously comedic – especially on a story about the avatar of kitsch when punctuated with high camp – Soderbergh is refreshingly restrained. He tells his story with a firm grip and a cautioned mannerism.On stage – and in front of the candelabra – Liberace lived a life of champagne wishes and caviar dreams. But behind the glitz and the glamour, we glimpse the flawed, all-too-human and imperfect everyman who is uncomfortable in his skin, seeking miracles from plastic surgery and sexual hedonism. He is not a hero or anti-hero; victim or victimizer; predator or prey. He is all and neither. Liberace's life is heroic because he was able to achieve much despite the odds. But his real life was lived in darkness cast by the shadow of the lights behind the candelabra.
They have no idea he's gay. (by lastliberal-853-253708)
The big studios passed on this film despite the fact that it is directed by Steven Soderbergh Ocean's Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen, Traffic , and would star Matt Damon and Michael Douglas. They thought is would be "too gay."Well, thank goodness for HBO, as they jumped in and green-lighted the film, which is in competition for the Palme d'Or at Cannes.All the action took place in the seventies and eighties. Liberace was about 40 years older than his new lover, Scott. Michael Douglas was fantastic as Liberace, and Matt Damon was also brilliant in the role of Scott. Rob Lowe <more>
and Dan Ackroyd supplied outstanding support to the story. Just the right amount of music; maybe there could have been a little more. This was a fascinating story about a man who was in love with himself far more than he could have been with Scott or anyone else.
Unexpectedly great performances! (by Jed from Toronto)
I decided to watch this film on HBO because I thought it would be a hoot - one of those catastrophic and pretentious productions which are so laughable. Within 20 minutes I realized that the film was rather important. Michael Douglas captures the late Liberace's mannerisms and voice with astonishing ease. He is quite stellar in his performance, and I see him now in a new light. Matt Damon is excellent as Scott, his protégé. The personages involved are deeply complex, even if one is only familiar with the contemporary "National Enquirer" reports one realizes their is something <more>
one can not quite understand about "Lee & Scott's" relationship. Douglas and Damon are brilliant in delving into these characters. They are unrecognizable, at times, from the familiar roles we all know of them. I think the film well worth watching. As a bonus, Matt Damon shows his bum on several occasions, for those who are interested; if not, one cannot help but be interested in the wonderful performances from two of Hollywood's great stars! A courageous undertaking well done indeed!!!