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>
During the 2018 Live from the TCM Film Festival special, Douglas revealed that Steven Soderbergh first brought up that Douglas should play pianist Liberace while they were filming the movie Traffic (2000) together. Douglas later played the real life person in a 2013 HBO telefilm. See more »
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 »
I want to be everything to you, Scott. I want to be father, brother, lover, best friend.
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The film is based on the autobiographical novel of the same name by Scott Thorson (with Alex Thorleifson) adapted for the screen by Richard LaGravenese about the tempestuous 6- year relationship between Liberace and his much younger lover Scott Thorson. This film along with SIDE EFFECTS are purported to be Steven Soderbergh's last films he will direct.
The cast is very solid. Matt Damon embodies the role of Scott Thorson well - a young apparently bisexual man who has been tossed from foster home to foster home while he does odd jobs (he is 17 years old) tending to animals. In a gay bar he meets Bob Black (Scott Bakula) who takes Scott to a Liberace concert (his first exposure to the mega-star) and to meet Liberace afterwards. There is tension in the air with Liberace's current paramour and performing partner Billy Leatherwood (Cheyenne Jackson) and we soon discover that Liberace (impeccably played by Michael Douglas) only keeps his 'boys' around for a while before his manager Seymour (Dan Ackroyd) gets rid of them with a check. Liberace and Scott find common ground in being needy people without confidants and soon Scott becomes Liberace's next lover. All goes swimmingly until Liberace sees himself on a TV show and sees how aged he has become. He engages plastic surgeon Dr. Jack Startz (Rob Lowe in a very fine performance) to perform a youthful face lift and at the same time convinces Scott to undergo plastic surgery to make him look more like Liberace! And here begins the downfall: Dr. Startz prescribes pain meds to Scott who becomes addicted and moves into heavier drugs, and his behavior, along with Liberace's need for a 'new face' (Boyd Holbrook), signals the breakup of a 6 year relationship - the best relationship either has ever had.
There are excellent cameos by Debbie Reynolds as Liberace's mother, Paul Reiser as Scott's lawyer, and others, but the star of the film is in all ways the flamboyant showman Liberace in some of the most interesting outfits ever created. The on screen relationship between Michael Douglas and Matt Damon is entirely credible and neither of these fine actors has a problem with being sexually physical without seeming to be a parody. There are moments that could have been cut, but as Liberace says, less is more and more is wonderful.
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