Flash Movie Review: Behind the Candelabra

There was something about the piano that attracted me to it. I did not play with musical toys as a baby, but I had two aunts who each had a piano in their home. Whenever we would visit these relatives invariably I would be found sitting at the piano, pressing the keys in different patterns. I never pounded on the keys; in my mind I thought I was actually playing a song, though I could not read a single note of music. What fascinated me was the infinite combinations I could create with all those keys at my fingertips. It was later when I realized other musical instruments had the ability to create the same combinations, but it did not have the same flourish like a pianist. I remember one of the first concerts I attended had a pianist front and center. The way his fingers rippled across the keys, creating sounds as soft as a cat’s purr to booming roars of harmonic fireworks; I wanted to play the piano just like him. For eight years I took piano lessons so I have an appreciation for any skilled musician. If you add outlandish outfits and lavish sets, you will have the star of this biographical drama. Michael Douglas (Falling Down, Wonder Boys) was amazing with his performance playing Liberace. The story was based on the autobiographical book written by Scott Thorson, who had a tumultuous relationship with the entertainer. Though Michael Douglas won an Emmy for his performance, Matt Damon (Elysium, Promised Land) as Scott was equally as impressive with his acting in this Emmy winning movie. Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Side Effects, Magic Mike), there was a steady layout of scenes. It was during the quiet scenes where the story really shinned. To balance out the weighted dramatic parts, Rob Lowe (Wayne’s World, The West Wing-TV) as Dr. Jack Startz and Dan Aykroyd (The Blues Brothers, Trading Places) as manager Seymour Heller handled the comedic elements. One of the biggest surprises for me was finding out who played Liberace’s mother Frances. I am not going to mention her name in this review and I hope you do not try to find out before seeing her in this film. With the understanding we are seeing the life of Liberace through Scott’s eyes; this still was a glimpse behind the flash of rhinestones and sequins only to find a dark, troubled life from a different era.


3 1/3 stars — DVD

About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on September 27, 2013, in Drama and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Thank you for your visit and your very understanding comment….

    As to this film—I had some problems with it—-Understanding that it was from Scott Thorsons point if view as re-worked by the powers That Be…..We still do not know the truth of the Liberace Story….
    There was a previous film made about Liberace and the lead was played by a wonderful actor Victor Garber, who is a very fine musician and singer in his own right. i felt that performance showed a much more vulnerable side to Liberace….And it was NOT based on Scott Thorson’s book. Worth renting if you can find it. It’s called LIBERACE: BEHIND THE MUSIC, from 1987, I think…..Also the other characters were shown in a different light, too….i have no idea how accurate this film was either, but, for me, Victor Garber’s performance truly out shown Mr. Douglas, because of the true warmth he showed us—which Liberace had and it was one of the things that drew his audience to him in such a HUGE way….I felt Michael Douglas was cold. And I did not see the Vulnerability that was a real part of
    Just my opinion…..

    • Thank you so much for coming by to leave your views of the film; I appreciate it. I will look for the movie you mentioned, for I am curious to see the contrast between the 2 actors take on the larger than life Liberace.

  2. Hi, yes, I agree with your comments – I was also surprised to find who played Liberace’s mother – I would never have known. I thought Rob Lowe’s performance was classic – it’s a great performance by both Michael Douglas (he deserves the Emmy) and Matt Damon.

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