8 June 2013 4:07 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

A brilliant performance by Michael Douglas illuminates an affectionate and funny portrait of the flamboyant entertainer

Liberace was a fabulously rich, self-created midwesterner, the child of humble immigrant parents known for his extravagant lifestyle and vulgar tastes, as well as his worship of the American dream and the mystery in which he was wrapped. He was in effect a gay Jay Gatsby. His life was not, however, tragic, that is until his death of an Aids-related illness at 67, and he can be considered a success in that he achieved the acclaim and celebrity he had always dreamed of, and he died believing that he had taken the secret of his homosexuality to the grave.

Steven Soderbergh's cinebiography of Liberace, Behind the Candelabra, is (so he claims) his final movie, and it had to be made for America's HBO network because no Hollywood studio would finance a film for the »

- Philip French

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