7.0/10
36,751
168 user 265 critic

Behind the Candelabra (2013)

Trailer
1:57 | Trailer

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
ALL
A chronicle of the tempestuous six year romance between megastar singer, Liberace, and his young lover, Scott Thorson.

Director:

Steven Soderbergh

Writers:

Richard LaGravenese (screenplay), Scott Thorson (book) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
4,656 ( 433)
Won 2 Golden Globes. Another 41 wins & 49 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matt Damon ... Scott Thorson
Scott Bakula ... Bob Black
Eric Zuckerman ... Lou
Eddie Jemison ... Assistant Director
Randy Lowell ... Director
Tom Roach Tom Roach ... Stunt Actor
Shamus Cooley Shamus Cooley ... Camera Assistant
John Smutny John Smutny ... Sound Mixer
Jane Morris ... Rose Carracappa
Garrett M. Brown ... Joe Carracappa
Michael Douglas ... Liberace
Pat Asanti ... George Liberace
Debbie Reynolds ... Frances Liberace
Casey Kramer ... Dora Liberace
Cheyenne Jackson ... Billy Leatherwood
Edit

Storyline

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 <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"Too much of a good thing is wonderful"


Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 June 2013 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Liberace See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$23,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rob Lowe described the make-up regimen used to transform him into the heavily plastic-surgeried Dr. Jack Startz: "It's tape and pulled behind my head. It's literally what they used to do in the early days of cinema before there were facelifts for actresses. You know, Joan Crawford, her whole career was this. You tape, you pull around the back of the head, but you have to have a wig because it covers the elastic. We did that, and I'm also wearing a dental piece and then I'm doing a couple of things, a couple of tricks with my own face, the way I'm holding it. Then of course the makeup is literally like Earl Scheib autobody paint sprayed on my face....It was actually really painful, because being pulled that long and that hard for a 12-hour day - it gave me migraines. We shot during the summer. It was unbelievably hot. The wig, being pulled, it was definitely not the most comfortable experience physically for sure." See more »

Goofs

In the movie both Liberace and his mother claim that his first name was "Walter". In fact Liberace was born "Wladziu Valentino", but used only his last name as his stage name for most of his career. See more »

Quotes

Liberace: I have an eye for new and refreshing talent.
Scott Thorson: You have an eye for new and refreshing dick.
See more »

Connections

References I Love Lucy (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

Sincerely Yours
Written by Liberace and Paul Francis Webster
Piano Performed by Randy Kerber
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The enigma is overpowering me
26 May 2013 | by StevePulaskiSee all my reviews

I would not want to be the person shopping around a serious script in Hollywood about the life of the famous pianist Liberace. It would be the toughest of sells to a culture that would likely feel the material is too dry and the demand too little. A slightly campier script, with luxurious set design and intimate portrayals of characters the public wouldn't likely know about is what I'd like to get my hands on. The story of Liberace is stranger than fiction and dryer, more serious material could've corrupted its overall goals and ambitions.

The film with the campier script, luxurious set designs, and intimate portrayals is Steven Soderbergh's Behind the Candelabra, a wonderful, limitless look at the life of Liberace, an enigma in every sense of the word. In addition to playing many sold-out shows, the man had a lovelife like no other at the time, meeting and becoming fast friends with Scott Thorson, an aspiring veterinarian who was quickly made his lover. Thorson seemed to have a genuine understanding of the loneliness and lack of friendship Liberace had and provided him with great talks, great compassion, and great sex.

The relationship, however, resulted in drug addiction, intense plastic surgery, lies, mistrust, and ended with a lawsuit. Soderbergh and writer Richard LaGravenese don't hesitate to explore this and make it one of the deepest focuses in the picture. The relationships the men had had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. The scenes when they are together in a hot tub are human and romantic. The scenes when they are fighting are heartbreaking because you realize that these men haven't just come so far to make their relationship work but losing each other after so long would be detrimental to their self-esteems and egos. They complete each other and that's where the magic is at its strongest.

Liberace is played by Michael Douglas in one of the bravest roles of his career. So brave and powerful that it's unfortunate that because of the film's TV movie status it is ineligible for an Academy Award nomination. Douglas is an actor who is never conventional with his role choice. The same man who played a common-man pushed off a cliff of sanity, an executive victim to a consuming, real-life game, and a worried father of a drug-addicted daughter is the same man playing a middle-aged, flamboyant pianist with a love for wonder, music, and men. The diversity in role choice is stunning.

Matt Damon appears at his youngest as Liberace's lover Scott, in an equally conflicted, complex performance. Damon fills the shoes of the role beautifully and effectively, giving off much in the way of creative energy and heart as he shows just how stressed and torn Thorson must've been in a relationship with someone who truly loved and understood him but wanted to manipulate him. Supporting performances from Rob Lowe as Liberace's doctor, prescribing medicines to both him and Thorson and Dan Aykroyd as his manager are terrific and often are seen providing strong comic relief.

For a TV movie to have the cinematography and atmosphere that Behind the Candelabra does is truly a feature worth nothing. It may not be as excessive as Baz Luhrmann's Great Gatsby - I don't expect anything of the next two years to be on par with that film - but rarely has a TV movie achieved such phenomenally vibrant and luscious standards. The only thing that could make it better is Soderbergh proving he knows how to work with it and he most certainly does.

HBO seems to be the go-to network for biographical films about figures that wouldn't likely make appropriate return in the theaters (Behind the Candelabra especially considering the summer movie season has already hit the ground running). David Mamet, just a few months ago, directed the delightful and shockingly unbiased Phil Spector, with actors like Al Pacino and Helen Mirren receiving top-billing. Seeing as a Liberace biopic is directed by none other than Soderbergh, I wouldn't be surprised at seeing a slew of films about eclectic media figures being made and released on HBO in the next few years. Networks that have the drive and willingness to air these kinds of films are a necessity to the success of film.

Starring: Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Rob Lowe, and Dan Aykroyd. Directed by: Steven Soderbergh.


74 of 86 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 168 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed