Behind the Candelabra (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes

Behind the Candelabra (2013)



Critic 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.

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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 (108) | Top Critics (40)

Although Behind the Candelabra may be Soderbergh's swan song, it's an uncanny resurrection of the creature that was Liberace.

February 22, 2019 | Full Review…

Yes. It is fabulous. No other word for it, unless that word is "glorious."

September 4, 2018 | Full Review…

Douglas brings a preening, nervous energy to a performance that may well prove to be the best of his career...

April 4, 2018 | Full Review…

Light but not slight, it is ultimately tender and sensationally acted, with both stars giving career-topping turns.

September 5, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Soderbergh and LaGravenese go deep beneath this voyeuristic fascination with wealth, fame, and the secret lives of celebrities.

September 18, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

As fabulous as it should be and not a jot more or less.

June 14, 2013 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Behind the Candelabra

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.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer


Soderbergh offers a consistent blend of camp and sincerity in this entertaining biopic centered on a complex Liberace amid his fabulous palatial kitsch, with Douglas chewing the scenery in a magnificent performance that surprises for its authenticity and pathos.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

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