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Behind the Candelabra (2013) Movie Review

May 28, 2013

If there is one thing to be said about biopics, they tend to give viewers deep insight into what life was like during the time the main character was alive. “Behind the Candelabra” is not the story of a gangster or a powerful figure who inspires you, but a musician known as Liberace (Michael Douglas). What makes this different from most films about the lives of musicians is Liberace’s hidden life as a gay man in a time when people pretended to be straight to seem normal. It serves as a powerful reminder of how far the LGBT movement has come. It is also a much needed examination of how difficult it is to sustain a long term relationship when you have to hide your orientation from the world.

Some might not remember a time when lovers adopted one another because they wanted to be seen as family, or how truly underground it was for gay men to meet in the early days. This is the closest you will get to a raw look at a relationship between two men and the difficulties they face as they try to work through their relationship. Matt Damon plays Scott Thorson, the bisexual man who falls in love with Liberace and, as far as I can tell, spent the most time with him of any of his men.

If you enjoy movies purely for the performances the actors deliver, you will find plenty to love here. Douglas and Damon are fabulous both together and apart. They both disappear into their roles wonderfully. I can’t comment on how well they replicate the actual men because I am not familiar with them. The film meanders along pretty slowly at times and the bickering between the two becomes tiresome by the end. Though it is skillfully executed, the reality is not exciting enough to elevate the film to the height of the character of Liberace presented on screen.


From → Drama

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