I absolutely loved “Behind the Candelabra.” I’ve seen it twice now, and I rarely watch anything more than once. It just stands up to additional viewings, especially with such superb performances from Matt Damon and Michael Douglas. Audiences agreed, and the film had the highest ratings for HBO in a decade, with an impressive 3.5 million viewers on Sunday. That’s considered even more meaningful since the movie aired on a typically slow holiday weekend. There’s some debate as to whether those numbers would translate to box office returns, and if this film could have received a theatrical release in the US instead of just airing on cable. It’s generally considered “too gay” for the movies, which seems to have been disproven by how many people tuned in.
After I saw the film I looked up the story behind it and was surprised to learn that the man Damon played, Scott Thorson, was just 17 when he met Liberace and 22 when they separated. That’s why Damon was shown living with his foster/adoptive family at the beginning of the film – he was supposed to have been underage! I think they tried to gloss around that by showing that Damon’s character Scott had a job working with performing animals. In the film, he was still a lost orphan type but he seemed like he was supposed to be around mid 20s at the beginning rather than just 17. I bought it, too. Damon was in great physical condition and he was convincing as a naive kid. Just not one barely out of high school.
I’m a Matt Damon loony, and I was thrilled to see Damon in fabulous wigs and makeup but more than that shirtless. We got a couple of different scenes of his bare ass too. (At least I’m hoping that was his real ass, although the fake tan lines kind of ruined it.) The people at Huffington Post took some screenshots of Damon’s best moments, and it’s striking how different he looks. Does he really look 22 tops, though? Not to me, but it didn’t distract from the plot at all. He’s such an incredible actor that I would buy anything he’s selling.
Here’s a trailer. Damon gets out of the pool at 1:35.