Behind the Candelabra is Steven Soderbergh's latest film based on the autobiographical novel written by Scot Thorson (Liberace's former lover). It is an HBO original movie, but it didn't feel like a TV movie considering Soderbergh was at the helm of this project. The film does a great job of recreating the flamboyant excess of Liberace's life and his hidden love affair with Thorson. The performances from Matt Damon and Michael Douglas were very powerful and I believed their characters. I loved the look of the film and the 70's hairstyles is what kind of stood out above everything else. Damon and Douglas go through some physical changes, and the makeup was done really well. I never felt it was false. Despite the look of the fim and the great performances I didn't feel there was anything special about the story. I felt it was very formulaic and pretty much similar to any other romantic biopic I've seen before. There was nothing groundbreaking here. I was bored throughout several moments and have to admit I got distracted and didn't pay too much attention to the story during the midway point. I didn't know anything about Liberace, but fans of the famous artist might enjoy this film which delves inside his private life.
Scott Thorson's (Matt Damon) life changes dramatically when an acquaintance of his named Bob (Scott Bakula) who he met at a bar, introduces him to the star of the moment: Liberace (Michael Douglas). Liberace, who is in his mature years of stardom, has a liking for this young man and asks Scott to come work with him and live in Las Vegas. Scott accepts and they soon begin to have a relationship. Scott begins to enjoy the luxurious life that Liberace offers him, but soon the life of excess begins to take its toll on Scott after he is introduced to some drugs by Liberace's plastic surgeon, Dr. Jack Startz (Rob Lowe). Scott also begins to feel suffocated inside the big mansion because Liberace doesn't let him leave the house much. All these elements begin to take a toll on their relationship and what began as a promising life begins to affect him. Dan Aykroyd also has a supporting performance here as Liberace's manager.
Rob Lowe and Dan Aykroyd's characters give the film some lighter and comedic moments, while Michael Douglas and Matt Damon have an interesting and believable chemistry together. They both went out of their comfort zone and took some roles we had never seen them play before. I had no issue with their performances or the overall look of the film, but I wasn't too hooked on the plot. I felt the story dragged at some points and I began to lose interest on the relationship between the two lead men. This isn't a film for everyone, but Soderbergh knows his craft and does a great job at setting the tone of the film.