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Behind the Candelabra (Blu-ray Review)

10 Sep, 2013 By: Angelique Flores

Street 9/17/13
$19.97 DVD, $24.99 Blu-ray
Not rated.
Stars Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Scott Bakula.

Liberace was well known not just as a talented pianist but possibly even more so for his glitzy shows and extravagant style.

While the flamboyant costumes and the flashy mansions are all a part of Behind the Candelabra, the film focuses on the famed piano player’s personal relationship with the much younger Scott Thornton, who wrote the biography on which the movie is based. 

Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as Scott command the screen with incredible performances in this bizarre, yet touching, love story directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Liberace hires Scott to work for him, sparking a relationship that is mutually beneficial, but not without love. Liberace pays Scott for his constant companionship and for doing small tasks for him, while taking very good care of the young man. But Liberace’s obsessiveness with his boy toy keeps him from ever letting Scott be too far from him, even when he’s on stage. While this sometimes irks Scott, who grew up in the foster care system, Liberace gives him both emotional stability and financial security that has been rare in his life.

The couple’s intimate moments of tender conversations and genuine passion are palpable, and that intimacy gets uncomfortably real as the tensions and arguments escalate like an old married couple. Scott’s drug habit heightens, and so does Liberace’s insatiable appetite for sex — both of which lead to the demise of their relationship.

What could have been a creepy, twisted relationship is painted here delicately with all the complex human emotions that come when two people grow close to each other.

Even with all the drama, the film carries some appropriately ridiculous moments that mirror Liberace’s playful sense of humor — from the over-the-top suggestive houseboy, Carlucci, to the hilariously stretched out plastic surgeon played delightfully by Rob Lowe.

The disc comes with a making-of featurette that succinctly offers how the cast and crew recreated these real-life characters and events. Also included are footage and photos of the real Liberace.

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