Scott Thorson (Damon), a bisexual teenager living in the late ‘70s, meets the flamboyant entertainer Liberace (Douglas), who immediately takes a shine to the virile youth. Soon, Liberace invites Thorson to live in his mansion and work as his personal assistant, confidant and lover. Initially overcome by the lavish lifestyle and flattered by the star’s attention, the eager-to-please Thorson soon frays underneath Liberace’s insecurity and fickle ways. Once the glamour wears off and the shine starts to fade, will these two men find a way to stay together?
Based on Thorson’s own memoir, this absorbing romance is purportedly Soderbergh’s last work as director. At least he is going out on top! A Liberace biopic was long on his bucket list: Soderbergh proposed it to Douglas back when they were making “Traffic” in 2000. Deemed “too gay” by Hollywood studios, Soderbergh turned to HBO for financing. Douglas gives a tour de force performance, sidestepping caricature to get underneath the sunlamp-tanned skin of the closeted singer. Damon is equally committed to his role as a lost hustler looking for a father figure. Superficially over-the-top, but betraying an underlying melancholia, this glitzy cinematic portrait mirrors the icon himself.