Liberace Movie Not What You Think

Think it’s a silly gay campfest? Apart from some necessary glitz about Liberace’s onstage show and the palatial digs of his Las Vegas and Palm Springs homes, “Behind the Candelbra” turns out to be much more realistic than you would expect. It’s almost entirely about Liberace’s late 70s/early 80s relationship with Scott Thorson. It’s fun here and there (probably not fun enough), but mostly it moves rotely (and too slowly) through the men’s years together — Liberace a high-living vampire who sucks the life out of his lover, and Thorson a willing victim until he falls prey to drugs. You should definitely watch it, even though the pacing drags and the ending is absurd. Steven Soderbergh says it’s the last film he’s making, and he’s gone out in style — muted style. Michael Douglas is terrific as Liberace, and Matt Damon is fine too as the boyfriend.

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