Elvis is a biography of the King of Rock and Roll. Elvis was born in Tupelo, Mississippi and, as a young boy (Chaydon Jay), he tries to get his father (Richard Roxburgh) out of prison. At a time of segregation, Elvis takes solace in the company of African-American gospel church services, and he’s very much influenced by the music.
Elvis (Austin Butler) begins his singing career as a young man, featuring his famous hip-wiggling and sexual appeal. Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks) realises Elvis’s potential as a money-making concern and offers to become Elvis’s manager.
Elvis exudes sexuality on stage, and his adoring female fans fawn all over him. This attracts the condemnation of the moral majority who want Elvis to be a more wholesome act. Elvis is a rebel, however, and refuses to conform.
Elvis is drafted into the army and sent to Germany, where he meets and falls in love with Priscilla (Olivia DeJonge). They later marry.
Tom Parker commits Elvis to a 5-year contract to perform at Las Vegas, which Elvis finds increasingly difficult to fulfil. He turns to drugs to sustain his lifestyle and becomes bloated and temperamental. Priscilla leaves him during this difficult time and Elvis dies at the age of 42, leaving a legacy that will continue forever.
Biography; financial abuse; drug taking; racial tensions
Elvis has some violence. For example:
- Elvis reacts badly to the restrictions people put on him.
- Elvis argues with his mother.
- Security guards take Elvis off the stage.
- A man threatens Elvis, and a fight breaks out.
- In a drunk or drugged state, Elvis reacts to a knock at the door by grabbing a gun. He shoots at a TV set.
- Priscilla and Elvis argue, and she throws his pills across the room.
- Elvis loses his temper with Tom Parker and kicks the furniture. He threatens to shoot Parker in the face.
Elvis has some sexual references. For example:
- Elvis’s fans are ecstatic during his shows and try to reach and touch him, sometimes around his genitals. They throw underpants onto the stage.
- Elvis is referred to as a ‘taste of forbidden fruit’.
- Elvis kisses several of his fans.
- Priscilla cries and says that Elvis doesn’t make love to her anymore.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Elvis shows some use of substances. For example:
- There’s a lot of drinking and smoking.
- People say that Elvis smokes marijuana.
- Elvis starts taking pills and mixing them with alcohol. He becomes addicted.
Nudity and sexual activity
Elvis has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- Elvis is shown getting intimate with a girl but not much is seen. Sex is implied.
- Elvis and Priscilla kiss several times and are shown in bed together, but there’s nothing graphic.
- Elvis is shown in bed with a woman wearing underwear.
The following products are displayed or used in Elvis: Pepsi and Coca-Cola.
Elvis has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Elvis is a musical biopic about the famous King of Rock and Roll, which is set in a period of civil unrest and segregation. The story moves at a fast pace and glosses over the worst of Elvis’s life, but it still tells a sad tale of a young man manipulated and abused by a predatory manager.
Elvis will appeal to a wide audience, because of its adult themes and scenes of drug-taking, it isn’t suitable for children under 12 years. We also recommend parental guidance for children aged 12-14 years.
The main messages from Elvis are that popular figures influence many people, and this influence can be used for good or bad. The movie also emphasises the importance of family.
Values in Elvis that you could reinforce with your children include the following:
- Elvis cared deeply for those he loved, including his parents and his family.
- Elvis wasn’t concerned with what colour anyone was and he greatly admired black gospel music.
- Drugs and gambling can ruin your life.
Elvis could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-issues like the following:
- Rock and roll music was seen as an immoral influence in the 1950s and 1960s. How are attitudes different today?
Why were people segregated according to race? Have people’s attitudes to race changed since the 1950s and 1960s?