• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: May 26, 2013
  • Season #: 1
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 69 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 62 out of 69
  2. Negative: 5 out of 69

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  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 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 aI 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. Expand
  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 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 inThis 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!! Expand
  3. Jun 9, 2013
    10
    This really is a perfect movie in every way. The performances are stellar, especially Douglas's. The film is centered around the side of Liberace that he hid from the public until his death i.e his life as a homosexual and the young lovers he was involved with. It's a very touching film but it left me feeling very sad, even to the point of tears. I was tempted to mark it down for that butThis really is a perfect movie in every way. The performances are stellar, especially Douglas's. The film is centered around the side of Liberace that he hid from the public until his death i.e his life as a homosexual and the young lovers he was involved with. It's a very touching film but it left me feeling very sad, even to the point of tears. I was tempted to mark it down for that but it wouldn't be right to do so. It's similar to Boogie nights in the way that everything descends into chaos and heartache, but without the comical undertones. A part of me wishes that the film had focused more on what made Liberace great instead of his weaknesses, but I suppose the public already knew that side of the story. It's a shame to hear that this film wasn't released in America due to it's overt 'gayness.' I thought American society had moved passed that, but I suppose they're predominantly Christian so...but anyway you don't see that much. Just some light bumming. Expand
  4. Jun 9, 2013
    9
    I wasn't really sure what to expect from this film, whether it would be a comedy or drama, etc. I have to say I was mesmerised throughout. The performances by Michael Douglas and Matt Damon are so convincing I had to keep reminding myself that these were two well known film stars who have stared in films such as the Bourne films and Wall Street. They were totally convincing. Couple thatI wasn't really sure what to expect from this film, whether it would be a comedy or drama, etc. I have to say I was mesmerised throughout. The performances by Michael Douglas and Matt Damon are so convincing I had to keep reminding myself that these were two well known film stars who have stared in films such as the Bourne films and Wall Street. They were totally convincing. Couple that with the interesting story, the garish lifestyle of Liberace and a strong supporting cast and this film satisfied on all levels. The only small complaint I would make is that, as someone who grew up not really knowing much about Liberace's vast popularity in his heyday, I would have liked to see more of his music and showbiz performances in the film. Collapse
  5. Jun 8, 2013
    10
    This, a candidate for the best picture of the year, is not even getting a cinema release in the U.S. as its subject matter was considered too gay for mass consumption. This is not only a shame for potential audiences who will miss out, but also denies stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon from getting the Oscar nominations they so richly deserve. Emmys and Golden Globes will surelyThis, a candidate for the best picture of the year, is not even getting a cinema release in the U.S. as its subject matter was considered too gay for mass consumption. This is not only a shame for potential audiences who will miss out, but also denies stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon from getting the Oscar nominations they so richly deserve. Emmys and Golden Globes will surely compensate. Douglas, an actor who I have always found to be too serious in his roles seems to be relishing his part here as the flamboyant entertainer Liberace without ever making him into a caricature. He somehow seems to embody the spirit of the late entertainer whilst not being a carbon copy. Damon, likewise, demonstrates his best in the more demanding role of Scott Thorson who for a number of years was the entertainer's live in lover. His transformation from Naive teenager to jealous boyfriend is expertly handled, but could so easily have been overplayed. Other performances are all good and I didn't recognize Debbie Reynolds as Liberace's mother. Rob Lowe is just fabulous.
    Based on Thorson's book the screenplay is free flowing and as delivered by this perfect cast is delicious to savour. Steven Soderbergh applies the right techniques and camera shots to splendid effect in every scene which is also an Art-Director's dream. Soderbergh's retirement from the industry will be a big loss. With this film and 'Side Effects' earlier in the year he at least goes out on a high.
    Make-up is also very good in key scenes. The film is simply not to be missed, so thank god for HBO for giving us this little gem.
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  6. Jun 17, 2013
    9
    From the very beginning of the film I knew this was going to be a rock solid drama. The trailer is completely accurately gives you a sneak peak into a great film that has all you want; believable acting, costumes, setting, musical performance and surprisingly comedy.

    There are sex scenes to those you might be ambiguous about seeing this movie. They are quite tolerable as you don't see
    From the very beginning of the film I knew this was going to be a rock solid drama. The trailer is completely accurately gives you a sneak peak into a great film that has all you want; believable acting, costumes, setting, musical performance and surprisingly comedy.

    There are sex scenes to those you might be ambiguous about seeing this movie. They are quite tolerable as you don't see any penetration or anything too vulgar. There is one scene with Matt Damon onto top of Michael Douglas that is quick and not graphic. Most of the sex is discussed or occurs of screen.

    Mostly surprisingly as I mentioned before is the comedy element. It is not obvious if it was intentional or a result of us now knowing what these well dressed men were up to. Either way Rob Lowe's stiff facial expressions are poignantly funny.

    If you have any interest in seeing this film I highly recommend that you do see it. Films like these don't come along that often; it gives shows us Liberace's lifestyle, his showmanship, the nature of gay relationships in the 70's & 80's, and has a respectfully emotional ending.
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  7. Jun 11, 2013
    10
    Michael Douglas nailed it. Blown away by his performance. Once again HBO takes a story that sounds quite dull and turns it into something epic. Possible one of the greatest tv films I have ever seen.
  8. Jul 27, 2013
    9
    i totally underestimated this film. Who wouldn't hough the story of lLiberaces' relationship with his secret lover made by a TV company no less. Lame you'd think as you passed this film off but I urge anyone and everyone to watch it. It is the character study of Scott as he becomes Liberaces' companion, lover and eventually dependent. The story is brilliantly told over the course of thei totally underestimated this film. Who wouldn't hough the story of lLiberaces' relationship with his secret lover made by a TV company no less. Lame you'd think as you passed this film off but I urge anyone and everyone to watch it. It is the character study of Scott as he becomes Liberaces' companion, lover and eventually dependent. The story is brilliantly told over the course of the relationship showing Scotts' initial hesitation to the full blown embrace of Liberaces' lifestyle and eventually the falling apart of their world. Michael Douglas' portrayal of Liberace was perfect. Matt Damon too is brilliant showing reluctance, joy and jealousy without saying very much. the supporting cast too were brilliant. I also loved the way the imagery repeated. I found this film so moving and the characters great.
    Rating 9 out of 10
    A real hidden gem
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  9. Jun 15, 2013
    9
    Michael Douglas and Matt Damon are revelations here, giving two of their best performances ever. Both actors deserve Emmy Awards for these performances. Bravo to all involved.
  10. Jun 6, 2013
    10
    I loved this movie. The best movie HBO has produced in two years. Michael Douglas does a rare thing. H plays an icon of entertainment and comes through with flying colors. Matt Damon is fantastic is his love and has the difficult job od portraying a younger man and making you wonder with he was using Liberace or did he really love him, the movie effectively as a hypocrite, condemningI loved this movie. The best movie HBO has produced in two years. Michael Douglas does a rare thing. H plays an icon of entertainment and comes through with flying colors. Matt Damon is fantastic is his love and has the difficult job od portraying a younger man and making you wonder with he was using Liberace or did he really love him, the movie effectively as a hypocrite, condemning people for gay, yet be gay himself. a remarkable achievement. Expand
  11. Nov 5, 2013
    9
    I was completely hypnotized by the wonderful performances of Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. Mr. Douglas deserved to be awarded for this. The costumes, make up, and art direction are highly successful in capturing the extravagance in which Liberace lived his life. Another brilliant (although sad) movie from director Steven Soderbergh, a biopic that displays a romance from its beginning toI was completely hypnotized by the wonderful performances of Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. Mr. Douglas deserved to be awarded for this. The costumes, make up, and art direction are highly successful in capturing the extravagance in which Liberace lived his life. Another brilliant (although sad) movie from director Steven Soderbergh, a biopic that displays a romance from its beginning to its inevitable end. Expand
  12. Sep 21, 2013
    10
    Unbelieveable performances. A Hollywood movies of what takes place behind the scenes. I forgot it was Douglas and thought it was Liberace, just incredible. Watch for Debbie Reynolds as his mother and Rob Loew was pitch perfect in his role as the plastic surgeon.
  13. Sep 8, 2013
    9
    I don't usually watch stuff like this, but I really enjoyed this film, it's very, very good. Micheal Douglas is absolutely superb as Liberace, he's almost unrecognizable, and Matt Damon is very good also as Scott. What can I say? In this era of free entertainment, I get half way through most of the movies I download, and completely lose interest. I've watched this twice in the space of 48I don't usually watch stuff like this, but I really enjoyed this film, it's very, very good. Micheal Douglas is absolutely superb as Liberace, he's almost unrecognizable, and Matt Damon is very good also as Scott. What can I say? In this era of free entertainment, I get half way through most of the movies I download, and completely lose interest. I've watched this twice in the space of 48 hours, it's that good. Pity MD isn't in the running for an Oscar, because he thoroughly deserves one, the man is a screen legend, just like his father (Spartacus and The Vikings are two of my favourite films). Expand
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: Richard Porton
    May 30, 2013
    80
    In other hands, this scenario might have degenerated into a caricature-filled freak show. The fact that it doesn’t is attributable to Soderbergh’s relatively restrained direction and Douglas's and Damon’s intelligently modulated performances.
  2. Reviewed by: Bruce Miller
    May 29, 2013
    80
    Director Steven Soderbergh walks a tightrope between camp and class and, if you make it that far, pulls it off.
  3. 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.