Saturday, November 22, 2014

Netflix Mail Day Movie Review: "Behind the Candelabra" (2013)

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Movie"Behind the Candelabra"
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Year: 2013
Rating: TV-MA
Running Time: 1 hour, 58 minutes

The story behind Liberace (Michael Douglas) and his secret yet not so secret relationship between him and a young bi-sexual man named Scott Thorson (Matt Damon). Scott gets caught up in the lavish lifestyle and is regularly subjected to plastic surgeries at the request of his benefactor. Due to the surgeries, Scott develops a pain killer addiction, which contributes to his separation from Liberace and his eventual famous palimony lawsuit.  

This film does an excellent job bringing to light a time in our recent history in which homosexuals were treated as pariahs. All famous gay people were forced to remain in the closet or be ostracized by the general public, either way, both could be career ruining. Liberace is the epitome of a stereotypical gay man with a flamboyant dress style covered in sparkling rhinestones with an effeminate speech and mannerisms, yet no one questioned for a second his heterosexuality. This is just how oblivious people were back not so long ago. Liberace maintained his farce and insisted he was straight even until the day of his death. In fact, Liberace's publicist even hid his actual cause of death, attributing it to emphysema and heart disease rather than complications from AIDS.

Michael Douglas does an outstanding job channeling the spirit of Liberace and puts on a great performance, one of his best as of late. Douglas' conviction is admirable and his portrayal is worthy of such a prominent personality. His tan, leathery skin and outrageous outfits were brilliantly perfect for this role. We hesitate to use the word "transform," but we can't really see anyone else getting so involved and altered to fit the part as Douglas did. Matt Damon does a good job in his own right playing Liberace's young lover Scott Thorson. Talk about makeup work! Not only was Damon's face rather unrecognizable after the portrayal of Thornon's surgery, but it was scary to look at, too! And while we're on the subject of unrecognizable faces, ROB LOWE, HOLY CRAPOLA!! His face looked like it would have hurt if he had it in real life! When both Douglas and Damon were on screen together, their chemistry was rather undeniable as both friends and lovers. We as an audience are oddly transfixed with their love affair and their story, though Liberace was obviously a huge dick in his love life. Visually, the movie is stunning, and we expected no less from a movie about a man who was as colorful as Liberace was. There is plenty of vibrancy, lots of colors, and sequins and sparkles by the gallon. Though the film focuses on Liberace and his realtionship, the subject matter is rather dark as it explores the dark side of show business and all of the wealth, fame, plastic surgery and starf--king that come with it. It is a pretty good movie, especially for an HBO film.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 95%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "Unfinished Song"

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