Monday, May 13, 2013


BEHIND THE CANDELABRA is a great film by Steven Soderbergh about the legendary entertainer Liberace. The film airs May 27th on HBO.

The film is not without problems; the first act has some clunky dialog exposition, and the last hour overstays its welcome by at least ten minutes, but for a low budget biopic, it is pretty extraordinary. I find it fascinating that after BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN won a mountain of awards, EVERY studio rejected this film as a theatrical release as being "too gay," even with multiple Oscar winners attached, including Soderbergh directing, Michael Douglas as Liberace (in a fantastic performance) and Matt Damon as his young lover (in an ever better performance). This has Emmy written all over it. Also outstanding is Debbie Reynolds, who is unrecognizable as Liberace's Polish mother. Rob Lowe is also very good as their plastic surgeon.

The art direction, sets, makeup and wardrobe are all amazing. The film is a period feast for the eyes. And Marvin Hamlisch's score is perfect for the film.

It is a bit surprising how graphic the sex in the film is. There are numerous open-mouth kisses between the two leads (I did not expect this from big stars) and a few other explicit scenes (Damon mounting Douglas from behind must have made for an uncomfortable shooting day for both of them). Douglas is also pretty courageous to show his aging body on screen for a good amount of time.

I highly recommend the film.

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