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Movie Reviews Behind The Candelabra

Behind The Candelabra

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Looking back, it's almost incomprehensible to realize that many audience members flocking to Las Vegas in the 1970's were unaware that Liberace (Lee to friends, Walter to family) was a practicing homosexual—but he was the ultimate showman and chose to live a life of smoke-and-mirrors both on and off the stage. BEHIND THE CANDELABRA (2013) starring Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, and Rob Lowe is based on the autobiographical novel of the same name written by Liberace's ex-lover Scott Thorson and released on HBO.

After Liberace and Scott's initial introduction at the Las Vegas Hilton in the summer of 1977, their casual meeting quickly evolved into an intimate relationship with Scott eventually taking up residence in Liberace's palatial mansions.  The remaining five years of their tumultuous relationship
was plagued with excessive spending, drug abuse, infidelity, and rounds of unnecessary plastic surgery.

A brilliant performer who was known as the highest paid entertainer in the world from 1950 to 1970—Liberace's doomed relationship with a bisexual man 40 years his junior is a sad footnote on the secret life of this closet homosexual. Having denied his sexuality throughout his entire life, Liberace even went as far as to sue any media source who hinted otherwise, successfully squelching the truth until his death from AIDS related pneumonia in 1987 at the age of 67.

Watching Douglas and Damon portray passionate lovers, we're able to forget that they are playing a role and easily loose ourselves in their performances. Willingly able to suspend the knowledge that both actors are loving family men, we accept them as Liberace and Scott. Remarkable performances filmed during a tight 30 day schedule for only $23 million dollars. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Unrated, 118 mins, Biography, Drama, Romance, **** 4 stars out of 5.

 

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Reviewed by Lynne Martin June 05, 2013
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