Scott Thorson, a young bisexual man raised in foster homes, is introduced to flamboyant entertainment giant Liberace and quickly finds himself in a romantic relationship with the legendary pianist. Swaddled in wealth and excess, Scott and Liberace have a long affair, one that eventually Scott begins to find suffocating. Kept away from the outside world by the flashily effeminate yet deeply closeted Liberace, and submitting to extreme makeovers and even plastic surgery at the behest of his lover, Scott eventually rebels. When Liberace finds himself a new lover, Scott is tossed on the street. He then seeks legal redress for what he feels he has lost. But throughout, the bond between the young man and the star never completely tears. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Michael Douglas And Matt Damon As You Never Thought You'd See Them
I can't honestly say that I know very much about Liberace. I was a teenager in the 70's - Liberace really wasn't my cup of tea. Still, I know about him. His flashiness, his sexuality, his ability with the piano - and I'm familiar with the "palimony" suit launched against him by his much younger lover, Scott Thorson. "Behind the Candelabra" is the movie adaptation of Thorson's book about the relationship, so it needs to be viewed with a grain of salt; it's hardly unbiased. But unbiased or not, it is a fascinating look into the glitzy, showy, and sometimes degenerate world inhabited by Liberace and Thorson, who was almost 50 years younger than Liberace when the relationship began.
The "world" is fabulously portrayed. The costumes and sets seem very authentic, and - with the above note about bias being kept in mind - the basic story of the relationship is believable enough. Liberace and Thorson were together for four years, and in those four years, things got weird. Liberace supposedly promised to adopt Thorson; and Thorson was given a part in Liberace's show. The movie portrays the relationship's breakup (due to Liberace's infidelities) and the final reunion between the two, as Thorson visits Liberace on his deathbed. It all seems very realistic, and provides an almost voyeuristic experience into the relationship between the two.
The highlight of the movie, though, has to be the performances offered by Matt Damon (as Thorson) and - especially - Michael Douglas as Liberace. Both were brilliant and totally believable in the parts. These must have been difficult roles. Two guys - both obviously straight - playing these parts in a movie which includes a lot of very passionate scenes between them could have come across as awkward, but credit goes to both of them for the fact that it never seemed awkward. They came across as natural together in what must (at times) have been very uncomfortable roles for them. I gained a new appreciation of the talents of both from this movie.
It's very enjoyable and it certainly offers a glimpse into a world that the vast majority of us will never see - and that the vast majority of us probably wouldn't want to see. (8/10)
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