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Behind the Candelabra

Directed by Steven Soderbergh

USA, 2013

Cornerhouse, 8 June 2013

Behind the Candelabra

Liberace’s sparkling career, his unbridled success, was based crucially on keeping up appearances, manning the facade.

He embraced the glitz and glamour of show business and used cosmetic surgery to keep time’s poisonous arrow at bay, all the while maintaining the pretence of heterosexuality – incredible as this may seem in hindsight.

Although the portrait of the great pianist addresses the truth and tragedy of his life head on, this is a moving, entertaining, very funny film.  As a coda, there is The Picture of Dorian Gray: Scott, Liberace’s lover, being his youthful beautiful self and AIDS the treacherous worm within.

About Michael Douglas’s performance: well, it is impressive indeed, one of the best things he has ever done.  He here exudes a sweet yet sinister charm.  In the role of Liberace he has struck artistic gold.