• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: May 26, 2013
Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Emily Nussbaum
    May 28, 2013
    100
    Behind the Candelabra succeeds precisely because it doesn’t care much about health or what constitutes a good role model--it shows respect for a complicated marriage simply by making it real.
  2. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    May 28, 2013
    88
    Behind the Candelabra is powerful, funny, and emotionally rigorous, and though it might act as a fiery and forceful resignation, in conjunction with Side Effects, it also serves as an uncommonly heartfelt Dear John letter.
  3. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    May 28, 2013
    100
    A superbly acted and exquisitely rendered gem.
  4. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    May 24, 2013
    83
    Douglas, Damon and company put on a crowd-pleaser that even Liberace couldn’t top during all those many-splendored stage performances. A film that could have been so very bad turns out to be pretty mah-velous.
  5. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    May 24, 2013
    100
    Michael Douglas is astonishing.... Damon is just as good, somehow convincing us that he's far younger than he is in real life and artfully keeping us guessing about Thorson's true motivation as he worms his way into Liberace's life.
  6. 100
    There’s a solid, patient, confident quality to this movie that’s rarely seen in modern mainstream cinema. It’s better than most American films playing in theaters, and better than most of HBO’s films, too.
  7. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    May 24, 2013
    100
    This doesn't feel like a factory product, but a work of individual, beautiful craftsmanship.
  8. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    May 23, 2013
    88
    Buffed to a typical HBO high gloss, Candelabra is a visual feast. But it shines brightest in those moments where it captures the rhythms of a relationship in its first blush of affection and its seemingly inevitable collapse.
  9. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    May 23, 2013
    100
    Beautifully written (by Richard LaGravenese) and directed (by Steven Soderbergh), Behind the Candelabra doesn’t quite fit into the biopic genre--simply because it is so good.
  10. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    May 23, 2013
    100
    Once your eyes adjust to the bedazzled opulence of Liberace's life in '70s and '80s Las Vegas, Behind the Candelabra becomes a darkly moving and provocative look at two lonely men who briefly found something like love before the maelstrom of fame, money and drugs, all churning within the confines of the sexual closet, blew it apart.
  11. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    May 23, 2013
    83
    If the script can at times seem slight, Douglas and Damon are 
superb.
  12. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    May 22, 2013
    100
    Superbly scripted, brilliantly directed, smart but never smarmy and led by a lead performance by Michael Douglas so good you often forget you’re watching an actor rather than the famous character he’s playing, this is a rarity, a fully realized biographical drama shot through with real feeling and an abundance of sly humor.
  13. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    May 22, 2013
    100
    Looking Music Hall-size glamorous on the big screen, Behind the Candelabra is a TV movie only in its sage, nuanced and closeup concentration on the emotional tensions that bind two people, then break them apart.
  14. Reviewed by: Lori Rackl
    May 22, 2013
    88
    Half the fun of Behind the Candelabra is watching these two Hollywood heavyweights deftly tackle roles that could have been career-enders not that long ago.
  15. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    May 22, 2013
    100
    Everything is pushed right to the edge, and that it doesn't topple over in a flaming heap is tribute to a pair of brilliant performances--though Damon's is first among equals--and an absorbing production that is morbidly fascinating from start to finish.
  16. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    May 16, 2013
    100
    Director Steven Soderbergh's Candelabra is one of the smartest, tartest examples I've ever seen of that soupy genre, the Hollywood biopic. [27 May 2013, p.39]
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 72 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 22
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 22
  3. Negative: 1 out of 22
  1. May 27, 2013
    10
    I adored this film. I saw Liberace on TV in the 1950s when I was a teenager and couldn't figure out what the fuss was about. Why wouldI adored this film. I saw Liberace on TV in the 1950s when I was a teenager and couldn't figure out what the fuss was about. Why would anyone, especially woman, find this mincing drag queen a heartthrob. (I loved Elvis). All the massively crazy glitz was considered low class and trashy at the time--the word camp hadn't yet been invented and homosexuality was still considered a perversion. How times have changed--thank God. Douglas and Damon turn what could have been a travesty into a treasure. Douglas' performance portraying a man who was a joke in his own time into a flesh and blood tragic figure is brilliant. He skates a very fine line between caricature and flesh and blood, never missing a beat. Damon is equally incredible. He turns a stereotypical pretty boy who seemingly just wants Liberace's money and reflected glory, into a tragic figure in his own right. Yes, he wants to take Liberace's money, but he also wants to be loved by him. Rob Lowe as the plastic surgeon is hysterical, and so is Debbie Reynolds as Liberace's mother. A great biopic is almost impossible to make, especially about someone as ridiculous as Liberace but Soderbergh has managed. The graphic sex scenes reveal character and aren't thrown in just for prurient interest. Bravo to HBO for taking this on. Yet another example of their support of great, if controversial, film. Full Review »
  2. Jun 2, 2013
    10
    This is an epic movie. I didn't know what to expect and was curious because of the reviews i have read. And then.. it blew me away, it took meThis is an epic movie. I didn't know what to expect and was curious because of the reviews i have read. And then.. it blew me away, it took me completey by surprise. Michael Douglas and Matt Damon deserve every award of this planet for their performance, i cannot praise this enough. Also stellar was the direction, costume, make up, art direction. Seriously one of the best movies in tv-history. Chapeau!! Full Review »
  3. Sep 20, 2013
    0
    I like Matt Damon, but hes not good enough for me to finish this movie for.I randomly chose this on Demand, and had to bail fast. TheI like Matt Damon, but hes not good enough for me to finish this movie for.I randomly chose this on Demand, and had to bail fast. The Relationships between the male characters was unbearable. Full Review »