Behind the Candelabra (2013)

Original Large Theatrical Movie Poster Art Cinema Film 2013 Behind the Candelabra

If a director can take a subject which I could not care less about and enthral me for two hours, then he has accomplished a considerable feat.

Behind the Candelabra is a lavish mix of fantastical sets, over the top costumes and true story. Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, playing pianist/vocalist/showman Liberace and his gay lover, Scott Thorson, show their acting prowesses in difficult roles.

This beautiful production is brought to us by pedigree director Steven Soderbergh, who is also responsible for Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), Erin Brockovich (2000), Traffic (2000), Che (2008), Contagion (2011), as well as the horrendous Ocean’s Eleven/Twelve/Thirteen trilogy.

Before watching this film, the only thing I knew about Liberace was that he wore a lot of rings, played the piano, was homosexual, and was the second person – after Rock Hudson –  I had heard associated with the strange new word, ‘AIDS’. Now I have an insight into the man, the showman, and his private life. It was a two hours very well spent.


You can find more information on this U.S. movie on Wikipedia and IMDb.

As always, we recommend you don’t ruin any surprises by reading spoilers or watching trailers.


Title: Behind the Candelabra

Language: English

Direction: Steven Soderbergh

Screenplay: Richard LaGravenese

Based on: Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace; the 1988 memoir by Scott Thorson and Alex Thorleifson

Cinematography: Peter Andrews

Editing: Mary Ann Bernard

Score: Marvin Hamlisch

Stars: Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Dan Aykroyd, Scott Bakula, Rob Lowe, Debbie Reynolds


Full Acting Cast and Roles



  1. I knew just as much as you about liberace and I enjoyed this film. Amazing performance by Michael Douglas.

    1. I wish he’d won the Golden Globe for this. Fingers crossed he’ll get the Oscar, although Matthew McConaughey is amazing as Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club.

  2. This is a film I’d entirely forgotten to watch, after seeing it mentioned and thinking; “That could be fascinating”. Thank you for a most timely reminder, I’ll watch it this weekend now.

      1. After an initial watching; Michael Douglas completely owns this film. I’m not a particular fan of any of his previous roles or acting style. I have to give it up for his portrayal of Liberace as a complex, if not particularly likeable, man. Kind of wish the casting was a bit different for Scott. Matt Damon did seem a little bit too much of the Mark Wahlberg school of acting in Boogie Nights, wide-eyed ingenue edging into destruction, but affectionate in some scenes. Kudos definitely to Rob Lowe, how someone can be that expressive with an essentially expression-free face is remarkable, and a beautiful commentary on Hollywood excess.

  3. I went to see this film on an impulse and actually really enjoyed it! I’d definitely watch it again.

  4. Similar to you, I have little to almost zero knowledge about Liberace. In fact, I hadn’t even heard about this film until now, but your review of it actually makes me want to see it now. Plus, the trailer also seemed fantastic.
    P.S. I love the layout of your blog, it really showcases the films in a fantastic way.

  5. I won’t even mention how little I know about Liberace… most of the knowledge comes from listening to Elton John concerts on Youtube. Sounds like a worthwhile movie, for sure, if only to expand my knowledge! Good review.

  6. I fancied this, just for the randomness of the casting and to see these macho actors in different roles. You have sold it to me. I will definitely watch it now, thanks. 🙂

      1. Thanks Shimky, I will. It could be some time as a writer’s income doesn’t stretch to cinema tickets! But I will let you know. Interesting link at the bottom of your page about Philip Seymour Hoffman too..

  7. I had planned to watch this movie but had yet to get round to it, most definitely will now though

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