Thursday, June 6, 2013

Behind the Candelabra

Plot: Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh presents the story of the flamboyant pianist Liberace, and his long-term partner, Scott Thorson. (via)

Matt's Rating: B-

Nicole's Rating: C+

Matt: I'm just not sure about this one.

Nicole: It was...weird. I was really excited to see it. Because I had heard so many great things about it from various sources, including the fact that it was the kind of movie that could be watched over and over again.

Matt: Well then maybe we need to watch it over and over again to fully grasp how good it was?

N: That's okay.

M: One thing I know for sure is that Matt Damon and Michael Douglas were both fantastic. Yes?

N: Yeah. They were both great. Douglas truly embodied Liberace. And Damon was convincing as a young and naive man who is easily swept up in Liberace's grandeur. But I just didn't see the point of the movie.

M: I think Damon has perfected subtle acting and that is on fully display here. I'm not sure that there is ever a "point" or theme in biopics. Which is why I am not a huge fan of them. They all seem to be the same: Musician gets famous, musician finds love, cocaine is sniffed, musician dies, people remember. It gets old after a while.

N: Is Damon #1 in your mantorage?

M: No....maybe...anyway...

N: Anyway...I don't know what else to say. I didn't hate this but I didn't really like it either. It was well made, well acted, but overall kinda meh.

M: I liked that it was kind of a "different" biopic. As in, they only showed us his last 10 years. They did an interesting thing by summing up Liberace's life with this one relationship.

N: Well that's because it was based off of the book written by Scott Thorson about their time together.

M: I guess I'm just not ready to dismiss it. Everything about it points to it being a good movie. It was very well acted, well written, well directed, and well shot. I guess the thing that really bothered me was I felt like I had seen it all before. Right?

N: Definitely. And the hokey ending did not help anything.

M: Well, I think that was an homage to how he ended his shows.

N: I get that. It was still corny.

M: In the end, I think I really want to like this film but it just feels like Walk the Line put through a bedazzler.

N: I think I've got what the problem is. Because I hear what you're saying - there's nothing wrong with the film in terms of quality. It's a good film. But it's Thorson's story told in a Liberace biopic. So, it's lacking focus. And that's why I think I'm left wondering - what's the point?

M: Agreed. But the point of the film, or Soderbergh's point, is that Liberace's extravagant celebrity lifestyle ultimately leaves him lonely. But that concept doesn't go with Thorson as the protaganist. So the film feels disconnected.

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