"When Politics Meets Showbiz"
What You Need To Know:
ELVIS & NIXON takes a simple event, with very little actual details, and turns it into an entertaining, thoughtful movie about two well-known personalities. Driving the movie home are strong performances by Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey as the enigmatic figures Elvis and Nixon. Though naïve, Presley’s well-intentioned desire to serve his country by fighting the rampant drug use by becoming a federal agent is characterized as sincere. ELVIS & NIXON is a surprising treat with some positive moral messages about friendship. However, it has strong foul language that requires extreme caution for older teenagers and adults.
(BB, PP, LLL, V) Positive moral worldview and message about friendship, taking action because of moral conviction, and patriotism, though shown in a naive, but sincere way; 21 obscenities (including several f-words), 11 profanities (including several misuses of Jesus Christ’s name), and a man urinates in a bathroom; no violence, but news footage of war and civil protests are seen; no sexual content, but man flirts with women and cohabitation before marriage is implied; no nudity; light drinking; no drug use portrayed, but drugs are discussed many times; and, nothing else objectionable.
ELVIS & NIXON tells the story behind one of America’s most famous photographs: the visit between legendary entertainer Elvis Presley and U.S. President Richard Nixon on December 21, 1970.
During a time when politics and popular culture seldom met, the movie opens with Elvis Presley (played by Michael Shannon) in his Graceland Mansion in Tennessee saddened by the direction the country is heading. The war, racism and rampant drug use by the youths he sees on TV inspires to Elvis to do something about it. After flying to Los Angeles to enlist the help of his longtime friend Jerry Schilling, the two fly to Washington D.C. on a top secret mission. Elvis pens a letter to President Nixon (Kevin Spacey) requesting a meeting to discuss Elvis becoming an undercover agent “at large” for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
Arriving at the White House gate, Elvis hands the letter to security in person and then waits at the hotel for a response. Two White House staffers, Dwight Chapin and Egil Keogh (Colin Hanks), receive the letter and believe that a meeting could be very beneficial for the administration. When they present the idea to Nixon, he wants nothing to do with Elvis. However, they manipulate the situation through Nixon’s college age daughter, who’s a major fan of Elvis and convinces her father to meet the star so she can get an autograph.
The meeting is set, and the two polar opposite worlds collide in a strange meeting full of surprises.
ELVIS & NIXON takes a simple event, with very little actual details, and turns it into an entertaining and thoughtful movie about two well-known personalities. While the story is simple, its themes, which center on Elvis understanding his purpose and identity as a person and not just a star, is effective. Driving the movie home is strong performances by Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey as the enigmatic figures, Elvis and Nixon. However accurate or inaccurate the portrayals may actually be, the characters are written and acted in a delightful, fascinating way that brings many laughs.
While the actual event that took place is true, including the letter that Elvis wrote and some of his surprising antics during the meeting, much of the movie is fictionalized. Elvis’s well-intentioned desire to serve his country by fighting the rampant drug use by becoming a federal agent, while naive, is characterized as sincere. The infamous President Nixon is accurately shown as out of touch and paranoid, but Spacey brings a touch a jolly to the 37th President during the actual meet and greet.
Overall, ELVIS & NIXON is a surprising treat with some positive moral messages about friendship. However, it has plenty of strong foul language that requires an extreme caution for older teenagers and adults.