Behind the Candelabra

DVD - 2013
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Behind the Candelabra
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Steven Soderbergh and executive produced by Jerry Weintraub, this HBO Films drama recreates the glittering private world of Liberace, the flamboyant, phenomenally successful entertainer whose extravagant costumes, trademark candelabra, and elaborate stage shows made him the most bankable entertainer of his time.


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Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Michael Douglas

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Jan 07, 2015
  • StopHarperNow rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Spectacular performances by Douglas, Damon and Lowe. The story was well written. Costumes, sets and music were all terrific. All in all, it's a very entertaining and revealing look at Liberace's private life.

Nov 20, 2014
  • Quimeras rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

While “Behind the Candelabra” certainly delivers on grand settings and dazzling costumes, the story lacks substance. Given its stellar cast, I was hoping for more from this film.

Jun 20, 2014
  • Bookworm39 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Entertaining, but I think there was more to Liberace then was shown in this movie. I think there should have been more scenes of his brilliant piano playing. This movie only showed mostly negetative parts of his life. It was a time where one could not expose one's personal life or their career would be ruined. Today stars are coming out of the closet everyday. I think he did his best and that he was a Great Artist and Person.

Jun 15, 2014
  • teddypawz rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I found this movie to be precise, not offensive or over the top. He was a flamboyant persona (like any big name stars today) who liked to show it off. He didn't pretend to be anything short of flamboyant. He died in a time new to the public about AIDS. I enjoyed the movie and learned more about Liberace, which is the point of most true-to-life movies.

Jun 12, 2014
  • 1_critic rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Entertaining, seedy, sometimes humorous but mostly sad account of the secret life of Liberace as told by a disgruntled ex-lover.
Thorsen's account of the realtionship is obviously a biased, kink-em-when-they're-dead narrative reminiscent of Christina Crawford's dishing of Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. That Liberace used and manipulated Thorsen and other young men is evident, however, these young men willingly participated and gained from the arrangement. Would young, handsome Thorsen really have taken up with Walter Liberace if he was not wealthy, generous, famous? Both men in my view were victims as well as perpetrators of a dysfunctional, co-dependant relationship now public knowledge. Sadly, the entertainer's greatest fear would appear to be realized - that one day he would be remembered as the flamboyant old queen who died of AIDS.

Jun 04, 2014
  • BloomFree rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I believe that one of the reasons this movie doesn't work is that the director is far too concerned how the general public might respond to gay sexuality. Older rich person younger not so rich person - not a new combination. The movie felt cut in half -- the first upbeat and entertaining the second very dark and disturbing. This movie needed something -- probably some good honest feedback might have helped.

May 24, 2014

I'm interested by the wide variety of opinions expressed by readers. I agree with those who found the movie insulting, tasteless and sleazy. I liked Liberace the entertainer and realized he was gay but for me some scenes were disturbing, whatever his lifestyle. I don't think most (or any)celebrities would want that kind of scrutiny. I had thought of watching with an older lady and am very glad I didn't.

Apr 26, 2014
  • pigweed rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Not a great movie, but it has some entertainment value. I couldn't ever get past the awareness that I was watching Michael Douglas "pretend" to be Liberace. It wasn't a good performance in my opinion. Rob Lowe was amusing but over the top. The supporting actors for the most part were good and I thought that Matt Damon gave a good performance. I've grown to like him as a skilled actor who works hard at his craft.

Apr 25, 2014
  • rationallady rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

As a 66-year-old woman I found the true story of Liberace interesting. The acting is great. I do think the presumption that Liberace's female audience had no idea he was gay is false. I remember as a sheltered teenager first learning about homosexuality and immediately connecting it to Liberace! He was the-now false-epitome of gayness.

Apr 22, 2014
  • eastriverside rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Wildly overhyped--definitely less than the sum of its rhinestone-encrusted parts. I can understand the impetus to bringing this story to life--Liberace, for chrissakes! But the casting of Matt Damon is a clunker--Scott Thorson was 18 years old when he was plucked from obscurity, and despite his talents, Matt Damon doesn't remotely look or act like any 18-year old I've ever met. It killed any plausibility for me, since it removes, from the get-go, the very real "ick factor" of the 18-year old animal trainer and the 57-year old, flamboyant entertainer. Douglas does a serviceable Liberace impression, but there's no revelations or deep insights herein. Even the hyped cameos were deadly dull: Rob Lowe and Debbie Reynolds serve as stunt casting with no meat to sink their teeth into. The highlight for me was Cheyenne Jackson as the boy-of-the-moment who gets the boot when Liberace sets his sights on Thorson. Other than's a surprising bore given what the primary subject might have inspired in another director.

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