Soderbergh’s ‘Behind the Candelabra’ Is on HBO and Not in Theaters Because It’s Too Gay
Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra (which premieres Sunday, May 26 at 9 p.m. EDT on HBO) is as good as you’ve heard. It’s a moving and beautifully made film that traces the clandestine half-decade romance between Vegas showman and pianist Liberace and his much, much younger live-in boyfriend Scott Thorson, who co-wrote the 1988 memoir on which the film is based. (My colleague Maggie Caldwell has a good reflection on, among other things, meeting the flashy and famous entertainment icon when she was a baby here.)
The whole cast does a superb job; as Liberace, Michael Douglas crafts a portrait of celebrity isolation and capriciousness worthy of an Oscar nomination—if only he were eligible.
The reason he is not eligible is because Behind the Candelabra, aside from competing in the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, will not be released in theaters. And the reason you will be watching this film (which could very well be Soderbergh’s last before he retires from movies and moves on to making TV shows full-time) on cable television instead of at your local multiplex is because of its conspicuous gayness.