Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Behind the Candelabra (2013)

This is one of my favourite films of 2013: controversial and edgy and with Matt Damon in it! The film is about Liberace, the legendary pianist and vocalist (impeccably played by Michael Douglas) and his secret relationship with his driver/PA Scott Thorson (played by our favourite Matt Damon).

Michael Douglas as Liberace

The story follows Thorson's ascend (or descend, depending on your viewpoint) from a young and rather naive countryboy into Liberace's world of excess, flamboyance and lots of fur.

Liberace in 1974

However, since there isn't such thing as a free lunch (I know I'm being a bit cynical here), Thorson became Liberace's lover despite their difference in age. Nevertheless, it is obvious that their relationship is not a relationship of equals, as Thorson soon seems to become a little more than a pet for Liberace. Among other things, he goes through cosmetic surgery to look more like a young Liberace, and takes diet pills to lose weight. At this point, I should point out that Dr. Startz, the doctor responsible for Scott's transformation, is played by Rob Lowe (think Parks and Recreation), which also got me excited. Although I almost didn't recognize him with all the fake face lifting.

Anyway, as you've probably predicted their relationship goes sour when promiscuous Liberace find his next toy boy but Scott is not ready for the transition back to a glitter-less and coke-free life.

The film is based on Thorson's memoir Behind the Candelabra: My life with Liberace (1988), and is directed by Steven Soderbergh (think Side Effects, Ocean's Eleven) who unfortunately stated that this would be his last film for the time being. Liberace and Thorson were portrayed brilliantly by Douglas and Damon respectively, the costumes were as flamboyant and extravagant as it goes (at one point Damon had glitter in his hair), and has been nominated for 14 Primetime Emmys - HBO aired it before it hit the cinemas.

You should watch it.

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