Comments

  1. EchtKultig says

    Is anyone else tired of hearing about this? OK, OK, there’s a movie about a campy closeted gay guy from olden times on the network that costs $250 a year to subscribe to.

  2. hughman says

    It was amazing. It was “Boogie Nights” + “Showgirls” + “Boys In The Band” + “Casino” + “Female Trouble” all rolled into one. Best movie of the year by far.

  3. Jeff Kurtti says

    Really liked it. It avoided superficial caricature, both leads presented complexities and nuance. I thought it was groundbreaking in the sense that the sexual orientation of their relationship didn’t feel like it was the focus or core of the story; but rather their complexity of codependent need, and the seductive but ultimately constraining, almost crippling, nature of mega-celebrity.

  4. kirt says

    Behind The Candelabra was about two camp guys but the one about the lesbians at Cannes was called “erotic” and “sensual” and featured extended love-making scenes. Double standards all round from the movie industry and Cannes in particular.

  5. GB says

    Review: “Sign of the times: This paean to ’70s and ’80s excess was rendered faithfully” I loved the movie, and could relate to the mentality of that time. Matt Damon was amazing, as well as Michael Douglas. I had the same hair as Matt, kind of uncanny. As the relationship deteriorated, the similarity to today was spot on — especially the language — and the deceit of course.

  6. brian says

    Why was Behind The Candelabra relegated to the queer section at Cannes? Wasn’t it good enough for consideration in the main section along with the “lesbian epic”? Cannes’ homophobic double standard is noted and won’t be forgotten.

    So far, Andy of Towleroad appears to have totally neglected to comment upon this double standard. What’s wrong, Andy? Don’t you like criticizing your fellow liberals at Cannes for their homophobic double standards?

  7. GB says

    The late 70’s represented a very special and iconic time to be gay. Still a bit risque, but with a life of its’ own–growing and changing. These weren’t such old times. Old times belong to old couples and long marriages. Not on the radar then.

  8. brian says

    Because if anything the conservatives I support and call family have NO double standards. They just hate me and my gayness with no concessions made for lesbians.

    Did you know that if I don’t say anything anti-liberal at least 20 times a day they force me to change my grandma’s diapers?

  9. will says

    I typed up my reactions to this last night and I’ll repost them here. I’m afraid I liked it a lot less than some of the others here, but I tried to be honest to my initial response.

    I just saw the HBO Liberace movie, “Behind the Candelabra”, and I feel like I’ve been to the zoo. It’s all lavish excess. There’s garish furniture; gaudy clothing; rampant sex, porn, and drug addictions; trips to the plastic surgeon. Reviews are praising Michael Douglas and I’m sure he’ll rack up a shelfful of awards, but what a cheerless story. A kept (mid-western?) boy seems to enjoy the tinsel-y Hollywood-Vegas lifestyle: the swimming pool and fox furs and jewels (Liberace gives him dozens of gold bracelets and rings that go up to the knuckle), and indoor marble bubble bath jacuzzi — and the lecher queen sugar daddy who uses him for sex until he’s ready for a younger model (Cheyenne Jackson is the next boy toy). Douglas does have the gay-ghetto mannerisms and vocal inflections of a nelly kid who came to maturity during the 1940s. Liberace is definately an old-school type of gay man (Paul Lynne, the center square on the old “Hollywood Squares” was this type, too, I think) and Douglas plays him with ease, with aplomb — his personality suggests he takes his adoring fans and sold-out shows and capes and substantial wealth for granted.

    But there seems to be an emptiness at the heart of the movie — and it’s not just the placid dead look in Matt Damon’s eyes after one of his cocaine binges. Damon is pretty much paranoid and spun during the second half of the film, continuously snorting coke in his bathroom or on somebody’s living room table. For all the graphic sex and intimate conversations in bed and in the jacuzzi, Douglas and Damon don’t seem to have much chemistry. There’s little emotional connection. They look past each other. They seem to get by on sex (not just with each other) and gifts and the emoitonal highs of show business. This is being marketed as a LOVE story. I felt like I had to shower to scrape off the glitter and superficial entanglements when it ended. Debbie Reynolds gives a somewhat redeeming performance as Liberace’s mother; and Rob Lowe, too, as an over-the-top dandyish southern California plastic surgeon who writes scripts for pain medications like he’s passing out candy and looks like he’s had so many peels and facelifts himself he’s unable to move any muscles at all on his perpetually tanned face.

  10. JMC says

    I’m watching a rerun on HBO2 right now and this movie is so creepy so far. I can’t even imagine how horrified I’d be if Matt Damon looked 17 like he’s supposed to instead of 35.

  11. GB says

    Say what you will. Living today is so much more fulfilling. Everyone is tied to a gadget, walking around looking down. Relating to a computer. All I can say is sorry you missed it. Segway – It’s funny how gay men are taking the lesbian movie award. I’ve always felt gay men and lesbians were like apples and oranges. We couldn’t be any more different, but we put on a good front. I think lesbians have less tolerance for gay men, than we bestow on them. After all, they crave what we do not, and visa versa.

  12. mark says

    The original hype for this said it was for theater distribution. HBO got it instead. What a creep. I kept waiting for something interesting (well besides Matt Damon) to happen. Spoiled rich closeted star, ugly houses, ugly jewelry, boring bedroom scenes, grandma music, cheesy drug references, and empty dialogue. I didn’t believe the relationship at all.

  13. JMC says

    It just ended and I thought the movie was really boring and I feel sort of grossed out having watched it. Liberace was a creep. Would’ve loved to see this budget and star power be put towards a more interesting and positive gay story, personally.

  14. DK says

    It was entertaining but as much as i like matt damon it was miscast…matt damon’s character was supposed to be 17 at the start of the movie and no hollywood dr. is going to be able to pull that off..

  15. dcinsider says

    I thought it was a campy laugh but not much more than that. Liberace was a pathetic person, and he came off that way. Scott Thurson (Damon) tells the story, so he comes off in a better light. In the end, it really did not tell us much about Liberace that we did not already know.

  16. Jeff Kurtti says

    Several posters here are confusing their discomfort with the subject and story with the quality of the film. They are not the same. The story told is largely true, the characters presented largely accurate, and the era is portrayed without the kind of goofy nostalgia that typically knocks its edges off. It’s not a pretty story, it’s a sordid story of codependence and hedonism. Begin your reaction and criticism with some context and understanding of what you are watching. Some of the comments are from people who have said the haven’t or won’t watch–but feel free to comment anyway. The vox populi of the Internet is sometimes maddening.

  17. Lucas H says

    I loved it. I knew very little about Liberace beforehand though, so I can’t speak to its representation of the man. But it seemed to me, like it was taking a pretty frank, blunt look at his life with his partner Scott. I didn’t think it was campy. And as others have pointed out, the actors performances were AMAZING.

  18. dw says

    5 stars. A worthy capper to Soderberg’s terrific career and the best performance of Douglas’s life.
    I expected to be entertained, but not moved. The relationship was beautifully detailed and deeply poignant.

  19. dw says

    5 stars. A worthy capper to Soderberg’s terrific career and the best performance of Douglas’s life.
    I expected to be entertained, but not moved. The relationship was beautifully detailed and deeply poignant.

  20. Zlick says

    I enjoyed it. IMO, it was much better as a television film than it would have been as a theatrical. It’s a story with very limited scope – two characters with 3 small supporting roles, and locations limited to Liberace’s houss(s) – albeit with set budgets of a theatrical film – which was a plus.

    I enjoyed the performances. I think Michael Douglas was amazing – with just the hint of Liberace vocal imitation necessary, but otherwise an authentically sweet yet sad bit of fine acting. Damon was great. Rob Lowe as the doctor was fantastic – (ahem, as a character my boyfriend’s mom KNEW in real life).

    I also think perhaps the Liberace and Scott characters talked past each other a lot, but displayed sincere affection for each other amidst the severe dynfunctionality of their relationship. It was a very sad story.

    Also a very typical one. Immature sex toy No. 17 of a wealthy star starts out all lovely, but quickly degrades into acrimony and drug abuse before ending horribly. All been seen and done before – but this one really happened, so them’s the facts. And Liberace was a real guy who, like him or not, was a fascinating character.

    But this story has rarely been told before in such a mainstream package with such a relaxed way of it being about gays instead of straights. Kudos for that. Steven Soderberg has redeemed himself in my eyes for the uncharacteristic disaster that was Magic Mike.

  21. Mark says

    People, please! The correct term to describe Matt Damon’s posterior is “rockin’ ass.”

    If you don’t get the reference, then you’ve made me feel oddly old.

  22. Zlick says

    Apparently the film did really well on HBO, and it may well be that more people end up seeing it there than would have paid to see it in theaters. Oh, and I learned today that the real-life Scott Thorson is currently in jail, for using someone else’s credit cards he found in a lost wallet. Bad pun alert: I wonder if he at least got to watch Behind the Candelabra from Behind Bars.

  23. millerbeach says

    Some of the folks commenting clearly were not alive during this time period. It seems to irk some that Lee was in the closet. You HAD to be in the closet until 1973, otherwise, you could wind up in a mental institution, as homosexuality was considered a mental illness until 1973, when the American Medical Association removed it from the list of mental illnesses. That means your neighbor, your ex, your family member could have you committed to a mental institution simply by saying you engaged in homosexual behavior. Remember, the Stonewall riots…what led up to that? Vice squad cops busting men for simply touching another man on a shoulder in a “questionable” location, your name published in the newspaper (people actually read them for news back then) You’d lose your job, apartment and dignity, all for being gay. You have no idea how bad it was back then. As for Lee, he was larger than life, and his life reflected this, in all its gaudy wonder. Everything about him was over-the-top, as he was a true, rags-to-riches American success story, even if he was a homosexual. And yes, Matt Damon has, indeed, a rockin’ ass…I like that one! :)

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