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Behind the Candelabra 15 rating

Michael Douglas dazzles as the flamboyant virtuoso pianist Liberace in this fascinating biopic by Steven Soderbergh.

Biopic 2013 119 mins

Director: Steven Soderbergh


Michael Douglas and Matt Damon bring to life the dazzling story of the flamboyant superstar Liberace and his one true love. By the summer of 1977 the classical pianist had achieved worldwide fame (of the level now reserved solely for pop stars) while keeping his sexuality hidden from view. But after meeting a handsome dog-trainer called Scott Thorson (Damon), he falls immediately in love.

With vivacious wit and heartfelt pathos, director Steven Soderbergh charts this tempestuous love affair, which had to be kept secret from the star’s adoring public. Despite originating as a TV miniseries (after major studios turned it down) Soderbergh’s glorious portrait of celebrity extravagance is as visually sumptuous as we’ve come to expect from the director, with every scene exuding a sense of gaudy glitz and uninhibited glamour. But while there is much to enjoy on the surface, underneath the gold lamé veneer lies a moving tale of passion and agony, brought to life by two extraordinary, transformative performances from Douglas and Damon.