Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Candles Burning, Glasses Are Chilled (Television Movie Review: Behind The Candelabra, HBO)

Thank God for HBO.  Steven Soderbergh, in interviews, have said that they shopped Richard LaGravenese's screenplay of "Behind The Candelabra" everywhere, but no one wanted to touch it, saying it was too gay. Everyone said that they did not know how to market a movie like this. The cable channel, bit, and reportedly this movie got huge ratings over Memorial Day weekend.  So, was it all worth it? I'll start by saying that I am glad that this movie exists. It's certainly not as mainstream, and it doesn't skimp on the camp, the sex, and the salaciousness. And I am more glad that it starred two of the biggest stars: Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. I mean, their names and sheen do not get any brighter. They both give fantastic performances, and I would bet that Douglas comes away with an Emmy for this. I thought Damon was better, mining more depth in his character. But that was easier to do, as the story is told from his character's point of view. And I think both of them gave brave performances, as they were certainly game for all of it. I wish I understood Liberace more, but this movie focuses more on their relationship. I wish there were more to the movie, but it has enough. I think this is partly because I have seen a lot of similar stories like theirs: a lot of it seems familiar. I chuck that because of my life experience and people I have known, though. The movie was intelligent enough to still make me ponder. For example, what is it about Liberace that made him appeal to a lot of people? As a piano player, he is good, but his selling point was his flamboyance. So why then would his fan base not accept that he might be/is gay? Lee's denial also fascinates me, and it may be because of his strict Catholic upbringing. I mean, he had instructions to hide his cause of death in the end, claiming they were complications from a "watermelon diet."  The supporting cast was also commendable, by the by, starting with an almost unrecognizable Debbie Reynolds as his mother, and Rob Lowe as the cooky plastic surgeon who botched operations for Lee and Scott. This is a first class production, and I am happy a lot of people will get to see it.

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