Arts & Entertainment

Michael Douglas hits the right notes as Liberace

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As Liberace, Michael Douglas brings an enormous amount of commitment, dignity, and dimension to “Behind the Candelabra,” creating a complicated man who is loving but narcissistic, exceedingly generous but controlling and predatory, painfully insecure but as loud and brassy as a Las Vegas marquee. It’s a seamless turn, as he thoroughly merges with the role. Beautifully written (by Richard LaGravenese) and directed (by Steven Soderbergh), “Behind the Candelabra” doesn’t quite fit into the biopic genre — simply because it is so good. LaGravanese, whose credits include “The Fisher King,” gives us only one strong arc in the movie, built around Liberace’s relationship with Scott Thorson, who is played by Matt Damon. But it’s a revelatory arc.

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BEHIND THE CANDELABRA

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