Behind the Candelabra 2013

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(211) IMDb 7.1/10
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Unconventional drama starring Michael Douglas as the superstar pianist Liberace. Based on the autobiography by Liberace's much younger lover and live-in partner Scott Thorson (Matt Damon), the film recounts the period between 1978 and 1982 when Liberace was at the absolute pinnacle of his fame. Reluctant to discuss details about his sexuality in his lifetime, Liberace went as far as to sue those who accused him of being a homosexual, despite his relationship with Thorson. Academy Award-winner Steven Soderbergh directs this exposé which provides an unflinching look at the highs and lows of the couple's relationship.

Starring:
Matt Damon, Rob Lowe
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Behind The Candelabra

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 58 minutes
Starring Matt Damon, Rob Lowe, Michael Douglas, Dan Aykroyd, Caroline Jaden Stussi, Boyd Holbrook, Max Napolitano, Scott Bakula, Paul Reiser, Cheyenne Jackson
Director Steven Soderbergh
Genres Drama
Studio E1 Films
Rental release 14 October 2013
Main languages English
Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 58 minutes
Starring Matt Damon, Rob Lowe, Michael Douglas, Dan Aykroyd, Caroline Jaden Stussi, Boyd Holbrook, Max Napolitano, Scott Bakula, Paul Reiser, Cheyenne Jackson
Director Steven Soderbergh
Genres Drama
Studio E1 Films
Rental release 14 October 2013
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 115 people found the following review helpful By GlynLuke TOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 Jun 2013
Format: DVD
What an unexpectedly pleasing, touching movie.
When I first heard Michael Douglas had been cast as arch showman Liberace (someone I remember on TV from my youth) I thought what inspired casting it was. What I didn`t suspect was just how moving and believable an impression of the man he would give.
Liberace was as camp as they come, and a very closeted gay man in an America not quite ready to embrace such a concept, particularly someone whose persona was that of an unthreatening, cosy, mildly outrageous middle-of-the-road entertainer. Things evidently haven`t come that far, as director Steven Soderbergh couldn`t get funding from the studios for a feature film (too overtly gay, apparently!) so his project became a TV movie, though you`d never know it, such is the lustre of the finished film he managed to make, despite the puerile queasiness of American sensibilities even now.
What is so effective about Douglas`s considered performance is that, rather than overplay his hand, making an already flamboyant, often flippant man into a vapid caricature - which is what I`d feared - he in fact underplays, to great effect, leaving the script, sets, costumes - oh, the costumes! - to go OTT, while he allows us to see the real man `behind the candelabra`. It`s an intelligent decision, which repays great dividends.
I`ve rarely seen Douglas so relaxed in a role. Like his dad, he`s quite an intense actor, and can be a showy one, so the fact that he reins it in here is to be applauded.
Matt Damon, as his younger lover Scott Thorson, on whose memoir the film is based, is a revelation. We are used to seeing Damon in buttoned-up, self-contained, rather unsmiling roles - from Ripley to Bourne - but here he lets rip, and then some!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Albatross on 15 Oct 2013
Format: DVD
It's hard to imagine super-spy Jason Bourne in a sparkly thong, throwing a hissy-fit at his older male lover. Perhaps that's why Matt Damon's performance has got him quite a lot of praise for his portrayal of the young man (Scott Thorson) who lived (and loved) Hollywood icon Liberace.
Michael Douglas too is on fine form as the man himself, displaying the voice and the mannerisms of the flamboyant entertainer to a tee.

It's a `rise and fall' tale of love that was probably doomed from the start. It's based on the `kiss and tell' book that Thorson wrote once Liberace had died, so we only have his word on it that this is the `truth.' But, truth or not, it's an entertaining piece of tragic drama that allows both him and Douglas to put in some stellar performances.

It probably isn't for everyone. If you look at internet message boards, you'll see a fair few people who found it `overly gay' in subject matter. However, if that sort of thing offends you, you really shouldn't even be considering watching a semi-biopic about a gay couple's life.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful By schumann_bg TOP 50 REVIEWER on 25 Jun 2013
Format: DVD
As others have said, there is something very good about the tone Steven Soderbergh achieves in this film. The first part is particularly enjoyable, I felt, when the effect of the costumes and general flamboyancy matched the upbeat story of Liberace meeting Scott Thorson, the young man who would become his lover and general all-round assistant. As things go on and cracks begin to appear in the relationship, it is less entertaining, but always interesting, and even when things are desperate it never becomes hollow, with Scott's 'bad behaviour' always kept within the limits of his character - this is a man who, however hurt, can only go so far in the direction of unpleasantness. The way this is kept in view even at the most hysterical moments is very well handled. Michael Douglas is excellent and gives a brave performance as Liberace, making the showman appear human but not glossing over the less good sides of his personality. He has the necessary charisma to make him a magnet to the camera, not just by his clothes, in fact he is never upstaged by them! But for me the film gets its heart from the Matt Damon role. I thought he brought this rather lost character stunningly to life, and the film fills us in very well on his foster home background, his naivety and his neediness. Towards the end you are wondering whether he has been more loved or abused in the relationship, where in other hands it might unquestionably seem the latter, but this is related to the essential goodness of this man. Furthermore Damon is so lovely in the opening part of the film, I was reminded of how perfect his looks really are, and here he is quite beefed up. To see Damon in this role is quite something!Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gill Corlett on 10 Feb 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Could hardly believe the actors on the title were in the film so well was the charachterisation and acting in this movie. I felt a little uncomfortable at times with the sex scenes but that is my own hang up, it was a really good film that I could certainly watch again
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Devora Pope on 10 Feb 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Michael Douglas and Matt Damon are superb! Brilliant, funny and at times, quite sad. Have recommended it to all my friends.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. D. Mayles on 9 Feb 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I watched this film on a long haul flight and really enjoyed it. Wanting to buy a little extra gift for the wife at Christmas I thought about this she had mentioned it when it came out and I didn't fancy it much but as I had now seen it and enjoyed it I bought it for her. What a triumph ,she loved it and I enjoyed it even more 2nd time around. A superb movie.
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