Behind the Candelabra
After watching Steven Soderbergh’s new feature Behind the Candelabra, there is no doubt of his status as a virtuoso director. He won the prestigious Palme d’Or for his first movie Sex, Lies and Videotape and, judging by the level of applause at the end of this screening, he might have a good chance at winning it again for his biopic of the legendary Liberace.
During the summer of 1977, Scott Thorson, a foster kid and aspiring veterinarian, meets with the flamboyant piano star Liberace. Despite their age difference, their secret, beautiful and destructive passion begins in a world of excess, money and sparkles. Their relationship would last five years, later inspiring Thorson’s book Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace, which is the basis for Soderbergh’s feature.
Biopic, gay love story and a picture of backstage Las Vegas, the movie presents different perspectives with great sensibility and without judgement. Michael Douglas might have found the best part of his career in Liberace, somehow bringing both craziness and tenderness to the role at any one time. His duet with Matt Damon is never too much and eloquently depicts a real relationship and its frequent ambiguities. Douglas’ sad eyes feature throughout the film – a reminder of his own illness before making the movie.
Matt Damon is perfect playing a young boy from the country, completely over the moon at how his life is evolving in a way he never could have imagined. A subtle and touching performance, Damon slowly falls into a dark confusion aided by Douglas’ Liberace, who continually chases youth to escape death. The chemistry between the actors is absolute and their connection with the director’s vision brings authenticity to the film’s emotional moments.
During the press conference, Soderbergh announced that he was taking a break from directing, unsure whether he’d one day return to his role behind the camera. In the film’s final credits, Liberace describes his love affair with Thorson and his words might equally serve as a secret declaration from Soderbergh to his audience.
Behind the Candelabra is released on 7th June 2013.
Read more reviews from Cannes Film Festival here.
For further information about the festival visit the official website here.
Watch the trailer for Behind the Candelabra here