Behind the Candelabra ★★★½

I knew nothing about Liberace going into this, only that he was a flamboyant figure in popular US culture — and having now seen this film I can confirm that "flamboyant" is certainly a fitting description. The makeup was fantastic (Rob Lowe!) and Douglas, from what I can tell, made for a great likeness in terms of looks and manerisms. I had flashbacks to the Michael Jackson This Is It documentary when the description of his elaborate robe came up (or was it only in the DVD extras that they had the tour of Jackson's unused, million-dollar stage wardrobe?), and I suppose the two of them are alike in the way they created sheltered worlds to inhabit. When Liberace mentions his time coming up through saloons I feel like I wanted more of that story, finding his way out of obscurity in environments that probably weren't too accepting of his manner, than his seduction of Thorson and eventual decline... but given that the film is based on Thorson's book about his experiences I suppose that'll have to wait for another film or documentary.

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