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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Steven Soderbergh maintained that this would be his last feature film before retiring. He has largely kept to that promise for four years, devoting his energies to the TV series The Knick (2014) and other sideline interests, but is due to release his return to features with Logan Lucky (2017). See more »
The tailor uses the wrong end of the tape to measure Scott's waist during the montage where Liberace takes him shopping for a suit. See more »
[watching himself on TV]
Oh my Christ, I look like my father! I look like my father in drag!
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By sheer coincidence, just two nights prior to the debut of 'Behind the Candelabra', I had the pleasure of viewing one of my favorite films, 1965's 'The Loved One', in which Liberace played 'Mr.Starker', a casket salesman. So it was with Liberace's voice, image and mannerisms fresh in my mind that I encountered Michael Douglas' portrayal of the man and boy, did he nail it.
The story itself is pretty much by the numbers with the kind of shorthand one expects from a TV movie bio; it's the performances that bring this to a certain level of greatness. Douglas all but disappears into the role, right from the start. It's truly an amazing thing to watch, and considering the subject, a brave and unapologetic performance. Matt Damon is equally impressive and while I have no idea if he does the real Scott Thorson justice, his transformation from an eager and innocent young man to a jaded, coked-up and surgically altered paranoid boy-toy is stark and convincing. Add to these chameleon-like performances an unrecognizable Debbie Reynolds and a truly unnerving Rob Lowe and you have two hours of truly compelling, master-class performances.
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