- Director: Steven Soderbergh
- Writer: Richard LaGravenese
- Producer: Jerry Weintraub
Let's face it...if it wasn't for the all Hollywood Heavyweights involved, this film would have been practically (and quite rightly) ignored...because, Liberace wasn't exactly a leading light in the fight-for-equality department.
He was a manipulative, egotistical, selfish, extravagant hypocrite.
Scott Thorson wasn't exactly Einstein...or, perhaps, he had a few more brain cells than the world-at-large gave him credit for...that is, if money and celebrity were his sole raisons d'etre.
Admirably, Douglas and Damon don't hold back...this is by-no-stretch-of-the-imagination a squeamish account of a love that (definitely) dares not speak its name - otherwise...it's straight to the courts. Imagine, Liberace actually sued and won because a newspaper dared to call him gay!
So, why is this film relevant today when, and it has to be said, Liberace's legacy is nothing but a flash antiquity...his excesses, still a disgrace.
A gay man in a partnership, a relationship (call it what you will), has no protection under the beady eyes of the law. Thorson, after 4 years, was stripped of everything...including his physical identity...
Some would argue, deservedly so - he was out to get what he could...but, Liberace created the monster and the creator should accept those crippling consequences. The financial settlement that Thorson received was less than a singular drop in the ocean.
Soderbergh tells it as it is/was...where light and shade and love and hate are as indiscernible as truth and integrity, Liberace could slap truth in the face, giving up a diamond encrusted ring as worthy compensation...
The film, possibly, is a little kinder to Thorson than it should be (not surprising, considering he co-wrote the source material), the 'simple country boy to in-house service boy' storyline is not exactly the exclusive property of Thorson - there were many before him as there will always be...it's all about the money, money, money...let neither man nor woman say otherwise.
Who said that money can't buy love??? Idiots...of course it can!
Behind the Candelabra does ask two important questions: how far would you go for fame and fortune, and....how far would you go to defend it?
Simple: Forget integrity and self-worth - it's always only about the money, money, money.
Rob Lowe's Michael Jackson look-alike surgeon is the epitome of creepy comedy. Dan Aykroyd is the soul of sleaziness. Matt Damon plays the dumb and dumbfounded with ease and depth.
Without doubt, the star of the show is Douglas...a no-holes-barred, riveting performance.
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.