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The 2013 Cannes Review Report: 'Behind the Candelabra'

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire May 21, 2013 at 10:26AM

What critics are saying about Steven Soderbergh's new (final?) film about Liberace.
1
"Behind the Candelabra."
"Behind the Candelabra."

The Cannes Review Report rounds up each day's notable premieres, along with a sampling of their reviews and tweets from the south of France. Here's the reaction to "Behind the Candelabra," the latest -- and last? -- film from director Steven Soderbergh.

"Behind the Candelabra"
Category: Competition
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Dan Aykroyd
Synopsis: "Before Elvis, before Elton John, Madonna and Lady Gaga, there was Liberace: virtuoso pianist, outrageous entertainer and flamboyant star of stage and television. Liberace lived lavishly and embraced a lifestyle of excess both on and offstage. In summer 1977, handsome young stranger Scott Thorson walked into his dressing room and, despite their age difference and seemingly different worlds, the two embarked on a secretive five-year love affair."

Reviews:

Ryland Aldrich, Twitch:

"A generally enjoyable film, even if far too much time is spent on domestic melodrama."

Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon:

"A story that's surprisingly dark at times, just as it is emotionally rewarding, entertaining and even humorous."

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian:

"The film is mesmeric, riskily incorrect, outrageously watchable and simply outrageous."

Dave Calhoun, Time Out London:

"It's both a romp and uncomfortably real."

Robbie Collin, The Telegraph:

"This is luxury cinema in the lucid Soderberghian style."

Peter Debruge, Variety:

"The star power of Michael Douglas and Matt Damon will draw masses to performances unlike any in their careers."

Kirk Honeycutt, Honeycutt's Hollywood:

"Penetrates its glitter and glam for a personal story of love, and love lost, that is as touching as it is disturbing."

Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist:

"Hilarious and heartrending."

David Jenkins, Little White Lies:

"While this is certainly a higher class of cinematic biography, it still just does its job of hitting all the cosy beats we expect in this type of material."

Guy Lodge, HitFix:

"A biopic that bristles with life at the edges, luxuriating in the excesses of its personalities and production design alike."

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter:

"A wonderfully entertaining and revealing look at Liberace's final decade."

Craig Skinner, Hey U Guys:

"If this is indeed Soderbergh's final film he's going out on an absolute high."

Anne Thompson, Thompson on Hollywood:

"If 'Behind the Candelabra' is [Soderbergh's] final film, it's a winner, easily among the best of his 26 features."

Alison Willmore, Indiewire:

"Depicts a romance that's sincere and also a sham, that's tawdry but also expressly poignant, and that finds an sharp, bittersweet sense of reconciliation at the end that gives way to a celebration."

Tweets:

Geoff Andrew, Sight & Sound:

"#Cannes2013 Soderbergh's BEHIND THE CANDELABRA has great perfs by Douglas and Damon and succeeds in being funny, moving and insightful"

Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage:

"Behind the Candlebra is standard fare for a biopic. Solid performances highlight Liberace's flamboyant lifestyle, not much else #cannes2013"

Glenn Heath Jr., Press Play/Fandor:

"BEHIND THE CANDELABRA (B/B+):  Ascents and downfalls and the small personal moments that define them both. Hypnotically sad. #Cannes2013"

Eugene Hernandez, Film Society of Lincoln Center:

"Any fest needs a jolt of laughs & tenderness at its midpoint. That's what BEHIND THE CANDELABRA offers #Cannes2013 #soderbergh"

Craig Kennedy, Living in Cinema:

"Soderbergh's BEHIND THE CANDELABRA an alternately sweet and sad love story. Pencil in Douglas for the Emmy."

Logan Hill, New York Times:

"Behind the Candelabra is bold, nutty, sad.  Douglas is great but Damon kills. The pinky rings are epic. Rob Lowe looks like mom in 'Brazil.'"

Matt Patches, Hollywood.com:

"Behind the Candelabra is tamer than expected. Soderbergh in Erin Brokovich mode. Which is OK! Douglas and Damon are that good. #cannes2013"

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune:

"BEHIND THE CANDELABRA, Soderbergh's Liberace biopic w Michael Douglas & Matt Damon, well-received at #Cannes2013. Press conf. tweets tk."


This article is related to: Cannes Review Report, Cannes Film Festival, Steven Soderbergh, Matt Damon


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