Behind the Candelabra

Critics Consensus

Affectionate without sacrificing honesty, Behind the Candelabra couples award-worthy performances from Michael Douglas and Matt Damon with some typically sharp direction from Steven Soderbergh.



Total Count: 104


Audience Score

User Ratings: 15,149
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Movie Info

Before Elvis, before Elton John, Madonna and Lady Gaga, there was Liberace: virtuoso pianist, outrageous entertainer and flamboyant star of stage and television. A name synonymous with showmanship, extravagance and candelabras, he was a world-renowned performer with a flair that endeared him to his audiences and created a loyal fan base spanning his 40-year career. Liberace lived lavishly and embraced a lifestyle of excess both on and off stage. In summer 1977, handsome young stranger Scott Thorson walked into his dressing room and, despite their age difference and seemingly different worlds, the two embarked on a secretive five-year love affair. BEHIND THE CANDELABRA takes a behind-the-scenes look at their tempestuous relationship - from their first meeting backstage at the Las Vegas Hilton to their bitter and public break-up. -- Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Behind the Candelabra

All Critics (104) | Top Critics (23)

Audience Reviews for Behind the Candelabra

  • Mar 07, 2016
    Stellar acting by Damon and Douglas, great production design, but the film could easily have clocked in 20 minutes earlier. The ending is quite cheesy, but I'm sure Liberace would have loved it. Still, a pretty entertaining albeit one-sided biopic.
    Jens S Super Reviewer
  • May 10, 2014
    I really enjoyed this. Great cast, especially Douglas' portrayal of Liberace.
    Erin C Super Reviewer
  • Feb 05, 2014
    Behind the Candelabra is a brilliant drama from master director Steven Sodenbergh about gay pianist Liberace, but where the film truly finds its greatness is the performancds from Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. Both give some of the best performances of their careers with Douglas as Liberace and Damon as his secret lover Scott Thorson. They truly own this brilliant drama with a script to be adored and top notch direction. I had forgotten how brilliant a TV movie could be since it seems to all be lazy Lifetime movies now, so thank you HBO for giving us something for the ages.
    Bradley W Super Reviewer
  • Jan 21, 2014
    The legend, the man, the pianist, Liberace, finally gets his silver screen treatment in this bio pic from director Steven Soderbergh. Starring as the magnificent songbird himself is Michael Douglas, giving one of the absolute best performances of his career. He blends so effortlessly into the role of drug taking, surgery having, mega diva Liberace, that you forget that it's him pretty quickly into the movie. It's just so surprising at first, but then Douglas has been in some risqué faire before. Damon is also surprisingly great in his role as boy toy Scott. Debbie Reynolds even sneaks in a masked performance as Liberace's mother. While going in I knew it was going to be an interesting film, the levels of insecurity, daddy issues, and instability that the relationship between Liberace and employee Thorsen reached constituted a deep set of insecurities that seem unfathomable. The film moves quickly between years and remains quite interesting, until Thorsen's eventual meltdown in the last forty minutes, dragging the rest of the film down with him. It's a story that many don't hear about and should, because it is more scandalous than I could imagine, and that's saying something.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer

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