Movie: Behind the Candelabra

By admin
27 September 2013

This review is aimed at fans of Liberace who still remember the charming dandy with the flamboyant costumes and over-the-top jewellery.

Biopic. With Michael Douglas, Matt Damon and Scott Bakula. Director: Stephen Soderbergh. 16SLD. Opens 27 September.

This review is aimed strictly at fans of Liberace (Douglas) or older readers who still remember the charming dandy with the flamboyant costumes and over-the-top jewellery. In the ’50s and ’60s many women refused to believe this brilliant pianist was gay. His lover, Scott Thorson (Damon), was “just a friend” and, as it still does today, the Hollywood publicity machine lied about his sexuality, and to make sure the money kept rolling in Liberace was always seen in public with pretty girls hanging onto his bejewelled hands. The film is neither nasty nor patronising – it lifts the veil on what happened behind closed doors at Liberace’s mansion, and it’s done in a sober way. It shows how he seemed to mistreat his boyfriend emotionally, throwing him out when he met a younger, more attractive lover. And that synopsis should tell you if it’s your kind of movie. It looks at only certain parts of Liberace’s life. His brilliant artistry as a pianist is emphasised but the film also focuses on the double life he led and the way he misled people with a false public image. Go see it for two astonishing performances, Damon’s in particular. Your other options are Red Tails and Runner Runner, both of which open at cinemas this weekend. Rating 3/5.

- Leon van Nierop

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