Behind the Candelabra

by

Synopsis / Credits: Read on IMDB

Should you watch this movie? The strong performances in the movie, especially Michael Douglas as Liberace, make it worth the watch. If you live in the US and have HBO, you probably did already back in May when it aired. Some of us have to wait months before even getting these things in the movies!


The movie, based on the book of the same title, follows the life of Scott Thorson and famous pianist Liberace during their secret 5-year relationship. The story begins when a 17 year old Thorson meets the celebrity musician at a backstage concert in Las Vegas and it follows the dynamics of the couple in good times and bad times, both full of money, jewelry, sex, and drugs until their inevitably (and almost expected) breakup. The movie is also a display of what was like to be gay in the late 1970s and beginning of the 1980s while constantly having to hide the fact from the always watchful eye of the media.

The whole story is compelling, gripping and all too real. Some of the excesses of the time and relationship of these two I had to google to find out if they were true (and so they were!). The performances by Michael Douglas as Liberace was just spot-on perfect! Even though Matt Damon as Thorson provides a rivetting performance, Douglas totally steals the show. Like Liberace would! He completely inhabits the character and humanizes a character that can easily be caricatured; you can then agree all the industry accolades he’s received are completely worth it!

Steven Sodebergh directs this movie using the same elements that are typical of his style (strong focus on the storylling, complicated, multilayered subjects ); I’m not a huuuge fan of his style (with a couple of exceptions), but I suppose this movie had enough glitz and glamour to catch my attention from beginning to end. Overall it a good story and flick worth the watch. It is not going to be the type of movie that will provide a certain level of escapism and entertainment as, say, the blockbuster of the season, but it is a very interesting tale, nonetheless.

Paola’s mood after watching this movie:

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