Wednesday, June 5, 2013

MINI-REVIEW: Behind The Candelabra

Behind The Candelabra

Michael Douglas, Matt Damon


May 26, 2013

Steven Soderbergh

HBO Films

1 hour 59 minutes



With every Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson that defies a generation, there is always a Liberace who takes the world by storm with his or her music.  Liberace had a way with women and a way with his hands when it came to the piano.  During all of that time, though, he turned out to be a deeply closeted homosexual with some relationships to be had throughout his career.  In the new HBO movie 'Behind the Candelabra,' audiences are taken behind the glossy clothes and into the life of Liberace and his five year relationship with a man named Scott Thorson.  It should be pointed out that Liberace tried his best to make sure he wasn't known as a homosexual, which makes his gay relationship with Thorson all the more compelling.

Michael Douglas gives a superb performance as Liberace.  Douglas shines and steals every single scene he's in, and you never know whether to like him or to hate him in the end.  Because this is a TV film, Douglas has a very strong chance at receiving accolades from the Golden Globes and the Emmys this year.  Matt Damon also gives a strong performance as Scott Thorson.  While not as strong as Douglas, Damon holds every moment he has and enhances the scenes he shares with Douglas.  The supporting cast, including Dan Aykroyd and Debbie Reynolds, all shine, but it is Damon and Douglas who command the screen and make the film all the more worth watching.

'Behind the Candelabra' wasn't accepted by any major US distributors because of "how gay" it was for a mainstream audience.  While that could be somewhat understandable, this is still a film that people in general, unless they were homophobes or are just uncomfortable with gay lovemaking, could really enjoy.  This is a film that takes patience and interest to watch, because it can be a slow film.  However, that doesn't stop it from being an entertaining drama.  While not a perfect movie, 'Behind the Candelabra' is a compelling and fascinating biopic with an award worthy performance from Michael Douglas and great direction from Steven Soderbergh.  This is a TV movie that is not worth missing, especially if you appreciate biopics about fascinating celebrities.

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