Behind the Candelabra

Behind the Candelabra

Steven Soderbergh (2013)

15 Certificate


Our Score
If Steven Soderbergh had retired from movie-making, as he often claimed he would, this bittersweet, often hilarious portrait of flamboyant Vegas entertainer Wladziu Valentino "Lee" Liberace would have stood as a rhinestone-encrusted My Way of a swansong. It sketches out the last seven years in the life of the pianist (played by Michael Douglas), as seen through the eyes of his assistant and lover Scott (Matt Damon), and shows Liberace as a kind but desperately lonely man whose insatiable need for human contact came to be his downfall. Dripping with gold, silver, diamante and mink, Soderbergh's often dark yet somehow good-hearted biopic could so easily have fallen into camp caricature, but Douglas's powerhouse central performance exquisitely captures the real Liberace's peculiarly self-aware charm. Rather than being a study in sleaze and excess, it prefers to tell a misguided father/son story, and although the sexual content would be considered strong even without the A-list names involved, what lasts longest in the mind is not the film's bold gay love scenes but its affectionate tip of the hat to a great, unapologetic American eccentric.


Biopic of pianist Liberace, following his relationship with his younger lover Scott Thorson. Introduced into the flamboyant entertainer's hedonistic world at a Las Vegas show in 1977, Thorson began a tempestuous five-year love affair with Liberace, while maintaining the public illusion of simply being an employee. Directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.

Cast & Crew

Liberace Michael Douglas
Scott Thorson Matt Damon
Seymour Heller Dan Aykroyd
Bob Black Scott Bakula
Dr Jack Startz Rob Lowe
Frances Liberace Debbie Reynolds
Ray Arnett Tom Papa
Mr Felder Paul Reiser
Director Steven Soderbergh
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Entertainment OneGuidance: Swearing, sex scenes, drug abuse.Available on: DVD and Blu-ray