Behind the Candelabra (2013) Review


The film chronicles the love story between Liberace and his young lover Scott Thorson over a six-year period.


Scott Thorson was a young bi-sexual man when he met the legendary pianist Liberace and they quickly ended up in a romantic and sexual relationship. He felt very special to begin with but as the years went on he would feel suffocated and turned to drugs to help keep his appearance up, not to mention the surgery. Liberace was very much in the closet and kept his sexuality secret from the world (no idea how that was possible in all honesty).

The most impressive thing about this made for TV movie is that Michael Douglas and Matt Damon deliver incredible performances more than worthy of the awards they either won or were nominated for, unfortunately for Damon he as up against Douglas for a lot of the awards. I have now watched this a few times and each time I really find myself more and more impressed with the acting that is on show.

Baring in mind the relationship is not a normal one at all, it is a very strange one with very deep emotional and psychological problems at the core. But it does really show how you can destroy another person when you think that you are just showing them how much you want and love them. It seems as though there is a very fine line between those things. Especially when you realise just how young Scott was 16 years old when they first met.

It was all pretty obvious what was going to happen and Liberace was going to tire of his lover and replace with another younger man. That just seemed to be how it worked. Although we are shown that the bond between Li and Scott was one that would not be so easily broken despite the awful break up and Scott being thrown pretty much onto the street.

It highlights the 80s and how drugs were very much on the rise in terms of being part of a “diet” to help keep you skinny. Not something you would ever want to experience at all. It does make you wonder when seeing behind everything in this film just how Liberace managed to keep quiet the facts that he was a gay man. Very openly gay behind the scenes, and his show did not exactly make you think any different. Even having to conceal the way he died and what he died from in an attempt to still hide his life, it does make you think that we have come a very long way in society that someone would not need to hide this anymore.

I must mention Michael Douglas again though as he really is outstanding in this role, owning each and every scene. The way he has gone for the voice and the flamboyant performance to go alone with the very flamboyant character he is portraying. I really do think it is one of his best performances from his very impressive career which I know is really saying a lot!

This film is currently available on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

8 thoughts on “Behind the Candelabra (2013) Review

  1. Great review. Steven Soderbergh said he was “retiring” from movies, but he meant theatrical – he made this film for HBO, and that freedom to create resulted in a terrific film with the outstanding performances you call attention to….

    Liked by 1 person

      • I know him, had dinner with him and his wife Jules Asner, who was my E! New Daily Host – he knows SO much about film – and so passionate. Movies like “The Limey”, “Out Of Sight” and “Magic Mike” are so multi-layered – just to name three of my favorites of his!

        Liked by 1 person

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