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The 27 Most Anticipated Movies of 2022
We can’t believe it’s already almost April either. But there’s still a lot of 2022 ahead of us and we thought about taking a renewed look at our selection of some of 2022’s most anticipated films, especially considering the calendar of releases has changed a lot in the last few weeks.
Bear in mind that nothing is set in stone, so this isn’t a comprehensive selection. New titles will pop up as the new year unfolds. Plus, most of these titles are tentpole movies and/or sequels or adaptations from pre-existing franchises. Expect the year 2022 to be full of those, but also keep in mind that there’ll also be a fair share of must-see indie movies as the year progresses. It’s hard to know if 2022 will be the year that cinema-going returns to normal, or if we’ll all still be doing a lot of streaming at home for certain titles, while opting for the big screen for others.
And yes, some of the titles on this list are movies that we were already looking forward to watching back in 2019 — ahem, Top Gun: Maverick .
Winter 2022: Movies That Have Already Premiered
The 355 (January 7): This action-espionage ensemble stars Jessica Chastain as a CIA agent who joins forces with a German agent (Diane Kruger), a former MI6 ally who specializes in computers (Lupita Nyong’o) and a Colombian psychologist (Penélope Cruz) on a mission to recover a top-secret weapon. Bingbing Fan plays the mysterious woman who follows their every move. The 355 is now available on Peacock and on video on demand (VOD).
Scream (January 14): This is the fifth installment of the Scream franchise. Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette return to their iconic roles alongside newcomers Melissa Barrera, Kyle Gallner, Mason Gooding and Jenna Ortega. Twenty-five years after the brutal murders that terrified the small town of Woodsboro, a new killer dons the Ghostface mask and targets a group of teenagers. Scream is now available on Paramount+ and VOD.
Moonfall (February 4): Master of disaster and climate change advocate Roland Emmerich co-writes and directs this film that sees the Moon on the brink of colliding with Earth and annihilating our world. Halle Berry plays a former astronaut who partners with another astronaut (Patrick Wilson) and a conspiracy theorist (John Bradley from Game of Thrones ). Together they’ll try to save humanity as they discover our Moon is not what we think it is.
Death on the Nile (February 11): This new adaptation of a classic Agatha Christie novel has Kenneth Branagh directing and playing the lead detective, Hercule Poirot — the Irish filmmaker already starred in and directed Murder on the Orient Express (2017). This one has been postponed several times due not only to the pandemic but also because a prominent role in the movie is played by Armie Hammer. The movie debuts on Hulu and HBO Max on March 29.
Uncharted (February 18): Based on the eponymous action-adventure video game series , the movie stars Tom Holland ( Spider-Man: Homecoming ) as Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg as Victor Sullivan. They both embark on an epic international adventure — Barcelona is prominently featured in the trailer — in the pursuit of “the greatest treasure never found.” Meanwhile, Nathan starts discovering new details about his long-lost brother.
The Batman (March 4): Robert Pattinson dons the cape and the pointy-eared mask in this new reboot of the bat franchise. Matt Reeves ( Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ) co-writes and directs the movie, which also stars Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis, Jeffrey Wright and John Turturro. Don’t miss our article on the hidden details in The Batman ’s first trailer and the movie’s inception and our full review of The Batman .
Turning Red (March 11): Pixar’s first 2022 title is directed by Domee Shi, who won an Oscar for her short film Bao (2018). The movie follows the story of 13-year-old Mei Lee (voiced by Rosalie Chiang), who turns into a giant red panda every time she gets excited. Sandra Oh voices Mei Lee’s overbearing mom, Ming. Read our review of Turning Red here .
Deep Water (March 18): Based on the novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith and starring Ana de Armas and Ben Affleck, this is one of the titles that has been postponed several times because of COVID-19. De Armas and Affleck play a married couple who have an arrangement to keep their marriage afloat. But when their games turn into murder, things get messier. Highsmith’s source material offers a portrayal of the fake veneer covering American suburbia — let’s hope the film does too.
The Lost City (March 25): Sandra Bullock returns to her comedy roots starring in this action-adventure where she plays Loretta Sage. She’s a popular romance-adventure writer on a promotional tour with Alan (Channing Tatum), the model who has always portrayed Loretta’s main character: the hero Dash. When Loretta is kidnapped by a billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) who wants to find an ancient lost city’s treasure from one of her novels, Alan decides to take the lead and rescue her as Dash would do. They end up in the middle of the jungle needing to work together to stay alive and find the ancient treasure before it’s lost forever.
Spring Movies 2022
Morbius (April 1): Set in the same universe as Venom , Morbius stars the chameleonic Jared Leto as Dr. Michael Morbius. He suffers from a rare blood disease and, while trying to find a cure for himself and others, he ends up transformed into someone with an urge for blood and other vampiric tendencies. Watching the method actor Leto transform himself into a mindless creature may prove to be one of the most appealing aspects of the film.
Ambulance (April 8): Michael Bay produces and directs this film starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II ( Candyman ) as Will, a vet desperate to pay for his wife’s medical bills. His adoptive brother, Dany (Jake Gyllenhaal), is a professional criminal. When Will asks him for help, Dany enlists Will in a $32 million bank robbery. The two of them end up in an adrenaline-fueled chase through the streets of Los Angeles, inside of an ambulance driven by EMT Cam (Eiza González).
Downton Abbey: A New Era (May 20): First there were the six seasons of the television drama about a family of British aristocrats, their estate and the servants who allowed for everything to run smoothly. Then there was a 2019 movie too, and now it’s time for a film sequel: A New Era . Julian Fellowes, the creator of the show, returns once more here as the writer. And yes, the good news is that despite the dire health diagnosis the Dowager Countess revealed to her granddaughter Mary (Michelle Dockery) at the end of the previous movie, Maggie Smith returns to A New Era to hopefully dispense fresh doses of perfectly delivered puns.
Top Gun: Maverick (May 27): The original Top Gun opened in 1986. Now, this sequel that’s been decades in the making follows Tom Cruise’s Maverick after he’s served more than 30 years as a pilot in the Navy. When he has to train a group of Top Gun graduates for an impossible mission, Maverick meets Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of his long-lost friend Goose. Expect spectacular aerial sequences and a lot of need for speed.
Jurassic World: Dominion (June 10): Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return for this sixth installment of the Jurassic Park franchise and sequel to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018). Franchise originals Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern also star in this movie. Lightyear (June 17): Who was the Space Ranger who inspired the Buzz Lightyear toy from the Toy Story franchise? Chris Evans voices Buzz in this origin story that Pixar describes as a sci-fi action-adventure film.
Elvis (June 24): Musical heavy-weight Baz Luhrmann ( Moulin Rouge ) directs and co-writes this biopic starring Austin Butler ( The Carrie Diaries ) as music legend Elvis Presley. The film also stars Tom Hanks as Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker. “The story delves into the complex dynamic between Presley and Parker spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America,” reads Warner Bros.’ official synopsis of the film.
Summer Movies 2022
Minions: The Rise of Gru (July 1): Allow me the yellow indulgence since I’ve been a fan of these adorable polyglot creatures since I first saw Despicable Me in a movie theater back in 2010. This second prequel of the Minions origin story — and fifth installment of the Despicable Me franchise — is set in the 1970s and follows a 12-year-old Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and his faithful army of yellow sidekick followers.
Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8): This fourth Thor movie — the second one helmed by the New Zealander Taika Waititi — sees Natalie Portman returning as astrophysicist and Thor’s ex, Jane Foster. Waititi, who’s also taken writing duties for this film, has teased at its romantic components . The movie will also feature Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson and Christian Bale.
Nope (July 22): After Get Out and Us , here comes the next psychological horror film written and directed by Academy Award-winner Jordan Peele. Details are still very much under wraps for this movie, which stars Academy Award-winner Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer and Oscar nominee Steven Yeun . You can read more about Nope and its enigmatic first trailer here .
Fall Movies 2022
Don’t Worry Darling (September 23): Olivia Wilde’s second feature film after she directed the outstanding Booksmart (2019) stars Florence Pugh and Harry Styles as a married couple living in a utopian experimental community in the 1950s. Pugh plays a housewife and someone who fears that the company her husband works for may be hiding something. The movie also stars Wilde alongside Chris Pine, Gemma Chan and Kiki Layne.
Spider-Man: Across Spider-Verse (Part One) (October 7): After the multiverse-set Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film and was lauded for its diverse representation — the movie stars Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) as an Afro-Latino kid who also happens to be Spider-Man — we really are looking forward to this Spider-Verse sequel. Not to mention, it’s one of several animated films we’re most excited about seeing this year.
Black Adam (October 21): This eleventh installment in the DC Extended Universe is directed by the Catalan filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra and stars Dwayne Johnson as the titular villain. Pierce Brosnan and Aldis Hodge also appear in this Johnson-starring vehicle that could see him become Shazam’s archenemy.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (November 11): Ryan Coogler returns as co-writer and director of the much-anticipated sequel to his Black Panther (2018), the first superhero film to be nominated for a coveted Best Picture nod at the Oscars. Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba and Angela Bassett reprise their roles from the original movie. The multi-talented Michaela Coel ( I May Destroy You ) will play a new role in this sequel. To honor the memory of the late Chadwick Boseman, who played Black Panther in the original film, Marvel has announced that this movie won’t recast the titular role . Also, Thor: Love and Thunder and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever aren’t the only two Marvel Cinematic Universe movies to be released in 2022. There’ll also be Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 6).
She Said (November 18): Maria Schrader ( Unorthodox ) directs this adaptation of Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor’s book in which they relate their New York Times investigation into Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and abuse behavior. The exposé helped further the #MeToo movement. The film stars Zoe Kazan, Carey Mulligan, Patricia Clarkson and Andre Braugher.
Avatar 2 (December 16): Thirteen years after James Cameron introduced us to Pandora in Avatar , here comes the second installment of this story. Zoe Saldaña, Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver all return to Avatar 2 , alongside newcomers Kate Winslet, Vin Diesel and Michelle Yeoh. The franchise is expected to have five installments in total, with each new movie being released two years apart.
I Wanna Dance with Somebody (December 21): Naomi Ackie ( Small Axe ) plays the late singer Whitney Houston in this musical biopic that’s directed by Kasie Lemons ( Harriet ) and also stars Clarke Peters, Stanley Tucci and Nafessa Williams.
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Where to Go for Specialized Movies
If you’re interested in the latest blockbuster from Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm or anyone else making great popcorn flicks, you can go to your local theater and find a screening coming up very soon. That’s not the same if you’re interested in arthouse movies, independent films or foreign pictures. Those sorts of movies don’t get wide releases so they’re not so easy to catch at movie theaters. Don’t wait for the movie to turn up on a streaming service like Netflix if you’d like to see it on release as there are lots of places across the country where low budget or marginalized movies are shown on a regular basis.
It’s definitely true to say that movie lovers in major cities like New York have more choice than those living in other areas of the country. Places like the Angelika Film Center, that opened in 1989, Landmark Sunshine Cinema in Manhattan, Film Forum, a non-profit indie cinema that’s been operating since 1970, and the Angelika Film Center are just four examples of great places you can visit in New York if you’d like to see independent, foreign language or limited release movies.
Where else would you expect to be able to catch the best independent movies than California? Cinopolis is one of the obvious choices. Why not purchase a ticket through Fandango and then head to Whittier Boulevard to catch the showing? Laemmle’s Royal Theatre on Santa Monica Boulevard is another great place to catch a movie. You’ll only be able to see foreign language movies there but they have one of the best selections of new movies in the country. You should also check out New Beverly Cinema. This place is definitely for the enthusiasts as its run by one. Quentin Tarantino’s the owner so no wonder it shows a lot of double features in 35mm.
Logan Theatre in Logan Square is one of the best places to go in Chicago for a mixture of second run studio pictures and indie movies. They run midnight showings each weekend in a theater that was recently upgraded with a new sound system, better screens, and projectors. You should also check out Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema if you’re in the area. You’ll get studio financed small movies, indie flicks and other obscure movies there, many of which can be watched during a midnight showing.
If you don’t live in California or New York or Chicago, you can still catch great independent movies through the Landmark chain of theaters. They have 56 theaters in 27 markets that have a combined 268 screens. As well as a great selection of movies you won’t find in other major chains, you’ll also find that Landmark tends to run movies that have finished their runs in other theaters. The occasional well published major movie will be showing but don’t expect to see the sort of mass appeal movies that are shown in other theaters.
What to Watch?
If you like the idea of seeing something different but you’re not sure what to see, head to Fandango or Rotten Tomatoes to get an idea of what’s out there at the moment. There’s nothing better than a personal recommendation so talk to people who know and love movies too. The foreign language Oscar nominees list for 2019 that contains Capernaum, Cold War, Never Look Away, Roma and Shoplifters look interesting. Perhaps you could start with one of those movies.
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Another flat one sided look at a rock idol that’s never bold enough to challenge our perceptions of them.
Full Review | Feb 17, 2023
Rarely do we see a performance that is so electric that as soon as the film gets over, one rushes to search about the actor instead.
Full Review | Jan 31, 2023
A dazzling opulence of color, set design, and musical presentations.
Full Review | Original Score: A- | Jan 24, 2023
Butler’s explosive interpretation of Elvis – from the physical gesticulations to the big, burly voice – humanized The King, pulling down the bright lights to show us the distressed man behind the immortal God of Rock.
Full Review | Jan 16, 2023
...a disappointing misfire that squanders its host of appealing attributes.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4 | Jan 7, 2023
The story of the King has been told many times, but nothing like Baz Luhrmann's sensational, impressionistic take on Elvis Presley (played with pitch-perfect resonance by an explosively charismatic Austin Butler).
Full Review | Jan 3, 2023
Austin Butler blew us all away as Elvis and still is.
Full Review | Dec 27, 2022
Elvis has one of the best lead performances this year from Austin Butler. The singing, the set design, the recreation of iconic moments, and the engaging performances are insane! Hanks plays one of the most despising characters he's ever attempted also!
Full Review | Original Score: 9.5/10 | Dec 26, 2022
Let’s just give Austin Butler his Best Actor Oscar now. This young man has range to spare. Wow!
Full Review | Original Score: FIVE STARS | Dec 21, 2022
"Elvis may be the most Baz Lurhmann, Baz Lurhmann has ever been. And it’s hard to imagine there’s any way for him to top himself from here."
Full Review | Dec 15, 2022
A bravura return to form from the country’s most extra filmmaker, Baz Luhrmann’s full-throttle biopic of the King is almost entirely devoid of silence, mainlining the greatest hits fused surprisingly delicately with contemporary tracks
Full Review | Dec 14, 2022
In typical Luhrmann fashion, he grossly overcompensates with his self-indulgent trademarks like cheap visual tactics used ad nauseam. It’s maximalist entertainment at its worst.
Full Review | Original Score: C- | Dec 4, 2022
“This is Butler’s interpretation of Elvis. This isn’t an actor impersonating Elvis, which I think is really key.”
Full Review | Nov 21, 2022
There are certainly no half measures here. Not one single thing is subdued or understated here. One’s tolerance for the in-your-face, OTT theatrics will greatly depend on your enjoyment of Luhrmann’s previous efforts.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5 | Nov 13, 2022
Thrillingly, director Baz Luhrmann makes the remarkable response to the singer feel like the only possible option to being offered this much pleasure, this much freedom.
Full Review | Oct 11, 2022
Elvis is an operatic creation, one that is over-the-top and messy in places, yet in a way that suits its larger-than-life subject. It's all anchored by a stunning lead performance from Austin Butler, who breathes new life into Elvis.
Full Review | Oct 10, 2022
Elvis Presley has a song in which he requests, “A little less conversation, a little more action, please,” but this film needed just the opposite.
Full Review | Sep 27, 2022
It is at its best when Luhrmann's cinematic eccentricities are let loose and he leans into the raucous performances. Regrettably, the experience overall becomes far less than the sum of its parts.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4 | Sep 23, 2022
Baz Luhrmann and Elvis Presley should be a match made in showmanship heaven. But, "Elvis" is too incongruous. Luhrmann injects his flair, but less cogent and thoughtful. It is awash in its own ambivalence about what it wants to say, or why.
Full Review | Sep 23, 2022
There’s no shortage of entertaining scenes, but it’s a sure sign of creative failure when the character Tom Hanks most resembles isn’t Colonel Tom Parker but rather the gluttonous Mr. Creosote from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4 | Sep 17, 2022
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“Elvis” brings all of the glitz, rhinestones, and jumpsuits you’d expect in an Elvis film, but without the necessary complexity for a movie from 2022 about the “King.”
Maximalist filmmaker Baz Luhrmann , who abhors visual restraint and instead opts for grand theatricality, should be the perfect creator for a Presley biopic, but isn't. Luhrmann tells us this icon’s story from the perspective of the singer’s longtime, crooked manager Colonel Tom Parker ( Tom Hanks ). After collapsing in his tacky, memorabilia-filled office, a near-death Parker awakens alone in a Las Vegas hospital room. The papers have labeled him a crook, a cheat who took advantage of Elvis ( Austin Butler ), so he must set the record straight.
From the jump, Luhrmann’s aesthetic language takes hold: An IV-drip turns into the Las Vegas skyline; in a hospital nightgown, Parker walks through a casino until he arrives at a roulette wheel. Carrying a heap of affectations, Hanks plays Parker like the Mouse King in “ The Nutcracker .” For precisely the film’s first half hour, "Elvis" moves like a Christmas fairytale turned nightmare; one fueled not by jealousy but the pernicious clutches of capitalism and racism, and the potent mixture they create.
It’s difficult to wholly explain why “Elvis” doesn’t work, especially because for long stretches it offers rushes of enthralling entertainment. In the early goings-on, Luhrmann and co-writers Sam Bromell , Craig Pearce , and Jeremy Doner meticulously build around Presley’s influences. They explain how Gospel and Blues equally enraptured him—a well-edited, both visually and sonically, sequence mixes the two genres through a sweaty performance of “That’s Alright Mama”—and they also show how much his time visiting on Beale Street informed his style and sound. A performance of “Hound Dog” by Big Mama Thornton ( Shonka Dukureh ), and the emergence of a flashy B.B. King ( Kelvin Harrison Jr.) furthers the point. Presley loves the superhero Shazam, and dreams about reaching the Rock of Eternity, a stand-in for stardom in this case. He’s also a momma’s boy (thankfully Luhrmann doesn’t belabor the death of Elvis’ brother, a biographical fact lampooned by “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”).
Though a biopic veteran, Hanks has rarely been a transformative actor. In this case, you can hear his accent slipping back toward Hanks. And the heavy prosthetics do him few favors, robbing him of his facial range—an underrated tool in his repertoire. And Hanks already struggles to play outright villains; shaping the story from his perspective takes the edge off of his potential menace. It’s a tough line for Hanks to walk, to be unsuspecting yet vicious. Hanks creates a friction that doesn’t altogether work, but feels at home in Luhrmann’s heavy reliance on artifice.
The most fascinating linkage in “Elvis” is the extrapolation of commerce and race. Parker is enamored by Presley because he plays Black music but is white. Elvis turns off the white Christian old, like the moribund country singer Hank Snow ( David Wenham ), and the homophobic men who consider him a “fairy.” Yet he excites the young, like Jimmie Rogers ( Kodi Smit-McPhee , both actors provide fantastic comic relief), and he has sex appeal. A wiggle, if you please. Luhrmann takes that wiggle seriously, showing sexually possessed, screaming women. Butler’s crotch, in precisely fitted pink pants and shot in close-up, vibrates. Harsh zooms, quick whip pans, and a taste for horniness (by both men and women) help make the early moments of this biopic so special. As does its anti-capitalist bent, which depicts how often labor, art, and ownership can be spit out and garbled in the destructive system.
Unfortunately, “Elvis” soon slips into staid biopic territory. We see the meteoric rise of Presley, the mistakes—whether by greed or naïveté—he makes along the way, and his ultimate descent toward self-parody. His mother ( Helen Thomson ) dies on the most hackneyed of beats. His father ( Richard Roxburgh ) quivers in the shallowest of ways. Priscilla ( Olivia DeJonge ) appears and is handed standard tragic wife material. The pacing slows, and the story just doesn’t offer enough playfulness or interiority to keep up.
But even so, the latter portions of Luhrmann’s film aren’t without its pleasures: The performance of “Trouble,” whereby Presley defies the Southern racists who fear his Black-infused music (and sensuality) will infiltrate white America, is arresting. Cinematographer Mandy Walker ’s freeze frames imitate black and white photography, like wrapping history in the morning dew. The performance of Elvis’ comeback special, specifically his rendition of “If I Can Dream” soars. During the Vegas sequences, the costumes become ever more elaborate, the make-up ever more garish, acutely demonstrating Presley’s physical decline. And Butler, an unlikely Elvis, tightly grips the reins by providing one show-stopping note after another. There isn’t a hint of fakery in anything Butler does. That sincerity uplifts “Elvis” even as it tumbles.
But all too often the film slips into a great white hope syndrome, whereby Presley is the sincere white hero unearthing the exotic and sensual Black artists of his era. B.B. King, Big Momma Thornton, and Little Richard (real-life supporters of Presley) exist solely as either bulletin board cheerleaders or alluring beings from a far-off land. While these Black artists are championed—an awareness by Luhrmann of their importance and the long and winding history of Black art moving through white spaces—they barely speak or retain any depth, even while a paternalistic Presley advances their cause.
The approach neither illuminates nor dignifies these figures. Instead, Luhrmann tries to smooth over the complicated feelings many Black folks of varied generations have toward the purported King. In that smoothing, Presley loses enough danger, enough fascinating complications to render the whole enterprise predictable. Because it’s not enough to merely have awareness, a filmmaker also has a responsibility to question whether they’re the right person to tell a story. Luhrmann isn’t. And that’s a failing that will be difficult for many viewers to ignore.
Luhrmann side-steps other parts of the Elvis mythology, including the age gap between Priscilla and Presley (the pair met in Germany when the former was 14 years old), and when Elvis became a stooge for Richard Nixon . Excluding the latter makes little sense in a movie concerning the commodification of Presley by capitalism and conservatism. Luhrmann wants to show the downfall of a doe-eyed icon by nefarious systems, but never pushes the envelope enough for him to become unlikable, or better yet, intricate and human.
That flattening easily arises from telling this story from Colonel Parker’s perspective. He doesn’t care about Black people, therefore, they exist as cardboard cutouts. He cares little for Priscilla, therefore, she has little personhood. And Parker certainly isn’t going to tarnish the image or brand of Elvis because it corrodes himself. These undesirable outcomes, facile and pointless, make logical sense considering the framing of the narrative. But what good is making a sanitized Elvis biopic in 2022? And truly, who really needs a further fortification of Presley’s cultural importance when it’s been the dominant strain for over 60 years? It’s another noxious draft in history clumsily written by white hands.
“Elvis” certainly works as a jukebox, and it does deliver exactly what you’d expect from a Luhrmann movie. But it never gets close to Presley; it never deals with the knotty man inside the jumpsuit; it never grapples with the complications in his legacy. It’s overstuffed, bloated, and succumbs to trite biopic decisions. Luhrmann always puts Butler in the best position to succeed until the credits, whereby he cuts to archival footage of Presley singing “Unchained Melody.” In that moment Luhrmann reminds you of the myth-making at play. Which is maybe a good thing, given Luhrmann's misleading, plasticine approach.
Now playing in theaters.
Robert Daniels is a freelance film critic based in Chicago with a MA in English. He’s the founder of 812filmreviews, and he’s written for ThePlaylist, Consequence of Sound, and Mediaversity.
Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey
History of the World, Part II
Rated PG-13 for substance abuse, strong language, suggestive material and smoking.
Austin Butler as Elvis Presley
Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker
Olivia DeJonge as Priscilla Presley
Dacre Montgomery as Steve Binder
Kelvin Harrison Jr. as B.B. King
Richard Roxburgh as Vernon Presley
Helen Thomson as Gladys Presley
Yola as Sister Rosetta Tharpe
David Wenham as Hank Snow
Luke Bracey as Jerry Schilling
Alex Radu as George Klein
Alton Mason as Little Richard
Xavier Samuel as Scotty Moore
Kodi Smit-McPhee as Jimmie Rodgers Snow
Natasha Bassett as Dixie Locke
Leon Ford as Tom Diskin
- Baz Luhrmann
Writer (story by)
- Jeremy Doner
- Sam Bromell
- Craig Pearce
- Mandy Walker
- Jonathan Redmond
- Elliott Wheeler
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Snazzy music biopic doesn't go deep enough; drugs, smoking.
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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Elvis is writer-director Baz Luhrmann 's visually stylish musical biopic about The King of Rock 'n' Roll. As told through the perspective of Elvis' longtime manager, Colonel Tom Parker ( Tom Hanks ), it spends a lot of time on Presley's ( Austin Butler ) launch into superstardom, the business side of his time in the spotlight, and his Vegas residency in his later years. Much of the rest of his life is breezed through, including his marriage to Priscilla ( Olivia DeJonge ) and his time in Hollywood. Teens may be surprised to learn that authorities found Elvis' dance moves obscene; the movie also shows the racist attitudes of the 1950s and '60s. Vices of all kinds -- drinking, smoking, spending, gambling, and drug use -- bring different characters suffering and misfortune. Sex is suggested with shots of passionate kissing and lingerie-clad women in bed, and Priscilla walks around in a short nightie, revealing her butt cheeks. Elvis owns several guns and wields one while in an altered state; there's also a riot at a concert, some medical emergencies, mourning, and footage of historical assassinations. Language includes "goddamn," "hell," "s--t," and one instance of "f--k."
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Awful cussing ruined my idea of elvis, what's the story.
Through the perspective of Elvis Presley's longtime manager, Colonel Tom Parker ( Tom Hanks ), ELVIS explores how a boy from Tupelo, Miss., became the most successful singer of all time. Navigating the difficulties of a rapidly changing world, former carnival worker Parker reinvents Presley ( Austin Butler ) to keep him on top, but it comes at great personal, financial, and professional cost to the musician.
Is It Any Good?
Trying to tell the life story of the biggest global superstar of all time in one sitting is challenging, if not unwise. Turning what could've been a trilogy into one film, it's almost as if writer/director Baz Luhrmann is asking, what if a whole movie was a montage? Elvis whips through major events in Presley's life, all clipped as tightly as if they were in a music video. For an artist whose ascent to success was a whirlwind, perhaps it was an artistic choice to depict it in a similar way to the audience. But then, when the party stops for Elvis, so does the action, and Luhrmann abruptly turns to traditional biopic storytelling as Elvis mounts his 1968 comeback. By that time, though, viewers' brains may be so hyperstimulated that the abrupt switch will make the rest of the movie's long running time feel unnecessarily slow.
Plus, telling the story through Parker's eyes creates a barrier to getting to know Presley. The musical powerhouse is infantilized, and the movie suggests that Parker's manipulations led to the demise of both Elvis and his beloved mother, Gladys (Helen Thomson). And Priscilla Presley ( Olivia DeJonge ) is portrayed more like a minor character than as the love of Elvis' life. Here, it feels like Elvis' real marriage was his partnership with Parker. Is this how Elvis would tell his story? It's hard to say, because after 2 1/2 hours, the superstar remains enigmatic, and too much is left unexplained. Still, Butler's performance is mesmerizing, the soundtrack is electric (many of Presley's songs are mixed in with those by other historically significant musicians, and the soundtrack includes plenty of modern tunes), and the idea that Elvis' lower-body wiggling was actually illegal is hysterical. Most of the central characters develop destructive habits -- but drugs, drinking, smoking, and gambling are never made to look fun, just a portal to misery. As an Elvis biopic, Elvis lacks. But as an exciting way for teens to get a taste of how "the good ol' days" weren't as "good" as some want to remember, it's ideal.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about prejudice. How does Elvis make the case that the objections to Presley's dance moves were based in racism? How does the movie suggest that White musicians' role in the advent of rock 'n' roll was cultural appropriation?
Do you agree with Col. Tom Parker's statement: "It doesn't matter if you do 10 stupid things, as long as you do one right"?
Is substance use glamorized ? Are there realistic consequences? Why does that matter?
How accurate do you think the film is to the actual events of Presley's life? Why might filmmakers choose to alter the facts in movies based on true stories?
How does this movie compare to other biopics you've seen? Do you like the mix of modern music with Presley's classics?
- In theaters : September 13, 2022
- On DVD or streaming : August 9, 2022
- Cast : Austin Butler , Tom Hanks , Olivia DeJonge
- Director : Baz Luhrmann
- Studio : Warner Brothers
- Genre : Drama
- Topics : History , Music and Sing-Along
- Run time : 159 minutes
- MPAA rating : PG-13
- MPAA explanation : substance abuse, strong language, suggestive material and smoking
- Last updated : October 22, 2022
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Themes & Topics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
- User Reviews
- B. B King and Elvis were not best mates. Interviews from B. B suggest they met a handful of times and only in the studio - not as the film suggests where B. B is almost like a mentor.
- Tom Parker did not have an accent like that.
- Elvis never sang "Trouble" at the Memphis show because the song wasn't even written yet. He also wasn't pulled off stage in a riot like situation. The breaking of segregation lines is a bit more embellished too, although Elvis did break some of those boundaries merely by making black music popular so other white people saw that they could enjoy it too.
- The Christmas special bit where they present the Colonel as being double crossed is also proper nonsense. Furthermore - the Colonel never asked Elvis to dial down his gyrations; he encouraged them as he knew it made them money.
- Neither the Robert Kennedy or MLK assassination impacted the filming of the.68 special. There was also no Christmas set.
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Elvis | 2022 | PG-13 | – 5.4.4
Elvis SEX/NUDITY 5
Elvis violence/gore 4, elvis language 4, elvis substance use, elvis discussion topics, elvis message.
REVIEWS See ratings & reviews at Critics.com
WEB LINKS Official Site IMDb
FILTER by RATINGS Did you know you can now filter searches by any combination of ratings? Just go to our search page or use the search bar, with or without a keyword, from the top navigation menu. Move sliders from 0-10 in any combination, check and uncheck MPAA ratings and use keywords to further filter results -- please let us know what you think.
THE ASSIGNED NUMBERS Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY , VIOLENCE/GORE & LANGUAGE on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest depending on quantity & context | more |
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What Parents Should Know Before Watching Elvis With Your Kids
For starters, the Golden Globe-nominated film is just so long...
Elvis Presley’s life story feels like something that we all just sort of know without realizing we know it at this point. Even kids. We know his music , we know he died, we know about Graceland. But the 2022 Baz Luhrmann biopic epic Elvis on HBO Max tells a different side to the story, one that might not exactly be the kind of kid-friendly movie you were hoping to watch on a Friday night together. Here’s what parents need to know.
This movie depicts Colonel Tom Parker’s version of Elvis.
Elvis is a biopic told through the eyes of the singer’s infamous manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), who documents Presley’s rise to superstardom with Luhrmann’s trademark maximalist directing style. The movie follows Presley (Austin Butler) from his early days as a performer through his time as arguably the most famous singer in the world, with mentions of his legendary Las Vegas residency and his controversial marriage to Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge), who he had been seeing since she was just 14 years old.
This movie about Elvis’ life isn’t exactly kid-friendly.
As visually stunning as Luhrmann’s version of Elvis might be, the reality is that the life of Elvis Presley does not lend itself to something kids will want to watch. And some elements of his life, like gambling and drinking and drug use, might not be something you want your kids to watch. More importantly, the movie depicts a level of racism and racist attitudes that were far too prevalent in the ‘50s and ‘60s that could be difficult to watch for kids, especially as it is depicted in a way that could be seen as entertaining rather than educational. There is some foul language, as Common Sense Media points out, and a lot of sexuality.
The movie is super long.
If the adult content of Elvis isn’t enough to have you reconsidering allowing the kids to watch, think about the run time of 2 hours and 39 minutes. Think about how many episodes of Bluey that is and try to imagine your kids sitting still for that long. Now imagine Bluey is Elvis.
What is Elvis rated?
Elvis has a PG-13 rating for strong language, substance abuse, smoking, and suggestive material. And don’t forget it’s super long, too long for many kids to sit through. Kids over the age of 13 might enjoy the film, or at least have the patience to sit through it and appreciate the artistry of both Luhrmann and Butler as Elvis.
Where can you watch Elvis ?
It might not be for the kids, but you should certainly check out the Golden Globe-nominated biopic for yourself. You can watch it on HBO Max ahead of the awards ceremony on Jan. 10 to see if you think it’s up to snuff. Just remember to carve out a solid chunk of time for yourself to watch.
Elvis Gets Fresh Rotten Tomatoes Rating With High Audience Score
Critics have been praising Baz Luhrmann's Elvis with filmgoers enjoying the biopic even more.
The new Elvis movie has arrived in theaters and it's coming out strong with its reviews, landing a fresh score at Rotten Tomatoes . When compiling the reviews of the review aggregator website's approved critics, Elvis currently sits with a fresh score of 78%. The audience score is quite a bit higher as it sits at 94%, a number that correlates with the recent A- grade bestowed to Elvis at CinemaScore.
"Austin Butler delivers a marvelous performance in this sparkling and extravagant spectacle about the life and career of the beloved King of Rock and Roll," writes Rene Sanchez of Cine Fin Fronteras in his review.
" Elvis is an irresistible sensation of music and style that serves as a flashy flick fit for a king," adds Film Inquiry's Mark McPherson. "The musical performances will obviously be a major draw but the stellar performances make it all the more intoxicating."
Some reviewers do have their qualms even if they largely enjoyed the film as a whole. Our own Julian Roman suggested that the focus was a bit too heavy on Col. Parker with not quite enough Elvis Presley.
"Luhrmann makes a mistake with Tom Hanks driving the story," Roman said. "Parker and Elvis are inexorably linked, but he's overrepresented here. I would have loved more of Elvis behind the facade. Instead, we see Elvis through Parker's eyes from start to finish. It's almost as if Luhrmann was afraid of giving Austin Butler narrative control... Tom Hanks will be divisive to audiences. He steals Austin Butler's thunder. No one wants to see a Col. Tom Parker movie."
The box office profits have been pretty kind to Elvis as well. The movie has performed higher than projections to debut with $30.5 million in domestic theaters. It managed to tie with Top Gun: Maverick to share the top spot at the box office.
Baz Luhrmann directed Elvis using a screenplay co-written with Jeremy Doner, Sam Bromell, and Craig Pearce. Starring Austin Butler as Elvis Presley and Tom Hanks as Col. Tom Parker, the film details the rise of Elvis through the eyes of his manager. Olivia DeJonge, Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Kelvin Harrison Jr., and Kodi Smit-McPhee also star.
Related: Elvis: Why This Biopic in Particular Has Gotten Huge
Elvis Was Highly Praised by the Presley Family
No matter what the reviews at Rotten Tomatoes might say, Baz Luhrmann has already gotten glowing praise from the review that mattered most. Per Deadline, the director previously spoke about how the Presley family, including Priscilla Presley, Lisa Marie Presley, and Riley Keough, had all loved the film. As someone who was married to knew the real Elvis perhaps better than anyone, Priscilla's praise of Elvis was the best review Luhrmann could have possibly gotten.
“No review would ever mean the most to us than the woman who was married to Elvis Presley," he said. "[She said], ‘I just wasn’t ready for that. Every breath about Austin, every move, the spirit of the person, the humanity. If my husband were here today he’d look him in the eye and say ‘How dare you? You are me.'”
Luhrmann added, “He was a father, he was a husband, and a grandfather and a person, and they have children. The greatest review I got from them in my life; now there’s something they can look to that is the truth of the humanity of the man.”
Elvis is now playing in movie theaters.
Home » Parent Movie Reviews » What Is The Age Rating For Elvis? Parents Guide
What Is The Age Rating For Elvis? Parents Guide
Posted on Last updated: June 23, 2022
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Thank you, thankyouverymuch. Elvis is back in the building! At least for the newest biopic now playing in theaters. Is Elvis safe for teens and tweens to watch? What is the age rating for Elvis (2022)? This parents guide will help you decide if kids in your household can see Elvis in theaters.
Table of Contents
About Elvis (2022)
A thoroughly cinematic drama, Elvis’s (Austin Butler) story is seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).
As told by Parker, the film delves into the complex dynamic between the two spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America.
Central to that journey is one of the significant and influential people in Elvis’s life, Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge).
Watch the Elvis movie trailer here.
What Is The Age Rating For Elvis (2022)? Parents Guide
Elvis is and always will be The King.
And kids are likely going to be drawn to this one thanks to the star power of Austin Butler in the lead role.
But is Elvis safe for kids? Is it age-appropriate for teens and tweens to watch?
This parents guide for Elvis will help you decide if your family can handle the gore, violence, language, sex, romance, and nudity. We’ll also give the Elvis (2022) age rating and age-appropriate recommendations.
Language In Elvis
Elvis has a fair amount of language in it that might not make it kid-friendly for your household.
Words and phrases used include:
- sons of b!tches
- and multiple (too many to count) uses of g-d [email protected] or [email protected], mostly by Elvis
Age Rating For The Elvis: Is It Safe For Kids When It Comes To Sex, Romance, and Nudity?
There is a romance, of course, between the teenage Priscilla and the soldier Elvis. Her age isn’t really dwelt upon, but as a reminder, she was 14 years old when they met.
Sex is limited to passionate kisses with strangers and one intimate bedroom scene.
A fan shows up at Elvis’ hotel room and you see her in lingerie as they are in bed together, but there isn’t any nudity or sexual acts shown in the movie.
And, of course, there are Elvis’ famous gyrating hips and thrusts. Sexual and shocking in the 50s, maybe not so much today. But it is mentioned and discussed (and legally questionable!) in the movie.
Is Elvis (2022) Ok For Kids: Mature Topics
Elvis lived a rough life, particularly in the early years.
His twin brother died at birth and his parents mention that throughout his life. His mother also dies in the movie, which has him dealing with deep grief and loss in a very public manner.
Poverty and crime played pivotal roles in shaping his future outlook on life.
Attention is also called to two assassinations that happen during the movie: Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. Discussion of race is front and center throughout the film.
Elvis may not be safe for kids if drug use, racism, or anger issues could be sensitive for your family.
Violence and Gore: Is Elvis Too Scary For Kids Under 17?
There isn’t any gore to speak of in the movie, but there is some violence.
Fist fights and overwhelming crowds that are almost violent are the two main issues.
Elvis is seen wearing an ankle holster and a gun and even shoots his TV at one point.
Elvis Age Rating: What Ages Can Really Watch This One?
Elvis is rated PG-13 for substance abuse, strong language, suggestive material, and smoking.
But is it appropriate for kids under the age of 12? What is the age rating for Elvis?
Is Elvis Appropriate For Kids Under 12?
Elvis is a long movie clocking in at over 2 hours and 45 minutes.
If your younger teens or tweens have an interest in Elvis’s career and life, they would likely be entertained by this compelling movie.
Austin Butler makes a gorgeous Elvis at any age.
As long as language isn’t a deal-breaker in your home, the age rating for Elvis could likely go as young as 10. But it would seem few kids that age would have an interest in sitting in the theater that long unless they are really big Elvis fans.
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Patty Holliday is a parent movie reviewer, writer, and podcaster living in the Washington, DC area. Her goal is to bridge the gap between casual fandom and picky critic with parent movie and television reviews. As a lifelong fangirl and pop culture connoisseur, she’s been creating online since 2009. You can find her work at No-Guilt Disney.com, No-Guilt Fangirl.com, No-Guilt Life, and as host of the top-rated No-Guilt Disney Podcast.
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Friday 19th of August 2022
I was ready to purchase the movie, but after reviewing this website I will not pay one penny for morons to use God's name in vain "GD". I'm sure without me, you folks can make a lot of dirty money selling your souls to the devil! So sad!
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Elvis Parent Guide
This could be tom hanks's worst film but austin butler gives a dynamic performance as the king..
Theaters: This biopic stars Austin Butler as the King and Tom Hanks as his unscrupulous manager as they navigate the path to superstardom.
Release date June 24, 2022
Run Time: 159 minutes
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The guide to our grades, parent movie review by kirsten hawkes.
We all know Elvis – or think we do. I’m old enough to remember Elvis Presley as a bloated punchline in a bedazzled jumpsuit, but my memory doesn’t reach back to his early years. Baz Lurhmann’s biopic fills that gap, giving moviegoers a young, vibrant Elvis (Austin Butler) whose explosive performances fuse together white country music and Black rhythm and blues, creating something wholly new and completely irresistible to hordes of screaming fans.
Musical biopics come in two forms: a tragedy showing the fall of a talented artist or a redemption story in which the performer overcomes inner demons and rebuilds a career. As we all know, Elvis is a tragedy. What director Baz Lurhmann tries to do in this film is uncover the reasons behind the artist’s fall. Was Elvis destroyed by his insatiable need for adulation? Did his prescription drug abuse shatter his health? Or was he worked to death by his exploitative manager, Colonel Tom Parker?
Also problematic is Lurhmann’s chaotic editing style. I’m not sure if he’s trying to reproduce the disorientation of a brightly colored fairground or to reflect the increasing fragmentation of Elvis’s life, but the editing often feels disjointed and haphazard. It’s also too loose. At 159 minutes, this movie is punishingly long: reducing the focus on Parker and tightening the editing would trim the bloated runtime.
Hardcore Elvis fans won’t care about any of the preceding issues; they’re just here for the music. There’s a raw energy to the King’s music that is best appreciated in concert and Austin Butler does a superb job as Elvis, throwing his all into the stage performances. You don’t even have to be an Elvis fan to enjoy the musical spots in the film, which just might convert moviegoers to the singer’s back catalogue.
Fans will also be pleased with the mostly positive portrayals of their musical idol. The film casts Elvis as a proponent of racial equality, largely due to his comfort in Black spaces and his appreciation/appropriation of Black music. In addition, the script politely glosses over the beginnings of his relationship with Priscilla Beaulieu, which began when she was only 14 and he was ten years older. There’s an “ick” factor there that is neatly whitewashed away.
What isn’t cleaned up in the movie is Elvis’s drug use, which is clearly shown to be destructive. Another big issue for most parents is sexual content, with repeated scenes of Elvis gyrating during performances. The camera focuses tightly on his crotch and then on hysterical, screaming girls who are clearly “all shook up”.
I’m not certain if a younger generation will appreciate Elvis, but Luhrmann’s colorful, frenetic production might be the introduction they need. As for the silver-haired audience that attended the advance showing I saw, their applause at the end of the movie clearly demonstrated that Austin Butler managed to satisfactorily fill the King’s blue suede shoes.
Kirsten hawkes, watch the trailer for elvis.
Elvis Rating & Content Info
Why is Elvis rated PG-13? Elvis is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for substance abuse, strong language, suggestive material and smoking
Violence: An angry man throws objects around a hotel room. There are brief television news clips about the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. Sexual Content: There are very frequent shots of a performer dancing extremely suggestively: the camera focuses in tightly as he swivels his pelvis. There are brief shots of a man removing some of a woman’s clothes. Sex is implied but not seen. Women throw their underclothes at a performer on stage. Adultery is mentioned. A woman is seen wearing nothing but a bra and panties. Profanity: The film contains approximately three dozen profanities, including a single sexual expletive, three scatological curses, 17 terms of deity, and 15 minor profanities. Black Americans are referred to as “negroes”. A homophobic slur is used. A crude term for women is heard. Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters smoke cigarettes and cigars. People drink alcohol, sometimes to manage stress. Adults are sometimes seen as intoxicated. A main character abuses prescription drugs. A doctor unethically gives a man drugs. A man is given morphine in an ambulance.
Page last updated June 24, 2022
Elvis Parents' Guide
After watching the movie, what’s your verdict on Colonel Tom Parker? Do you think he’s at least partially responsible for Elvis’s death? Or do you think Elvis’s inner demons would have killed him eventually?
To read more about Elvis and his legacy, try these links:
Wikipedia: Elvis Presley
Esquire: Elvis Presley’s Incredible Life in Photos
The Washington Post: Should Elvis’s Legacy Live On?
The Guardian: Suspicious minds: why Elvis’s posthumous popularity is plummeting
For more information about Tom Parker you can follow these links:
Ultimate Classic Rock: Was Colonel Tom Parker the Villain “Elvis” Makes Him Out To Be?
Wikipedia: Colonel Tom Parker
Elvis grew up in the highly segregated world of the South, but he appreciated the musical and cultural world of his Black neighbors. Do you think Elvis adapted or appropriated the music around him? Do you think his success blazed the way for Black performers or do you think he occupied their space?
The Conversation: Champion or copycat? Elvis Presley’s ambiguous relationship with black America
Distractify: Elvis Presley Wasn’t a Racist but He Wasn’t a Civil Rights Hero Either
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Movie Info · Rating: PG-13 (Strong Language|Smoking|Substance Abuse|Suggestive Material) · Genre: Biography, Drama, Music · Original Language: English · Director:.
Elvis has one of the best lead performances this year from Austin Butler. The singing, the set design, the recreation of iconic moments, and the engaging
Rated PG-13 for substance abuse, strong language, suggestive material and smoking. 159 minutes. Cast. Austin Butler as Elvis Presley. Tom Hanks
Be prepared to discuss segregation "Jim Crow" laws of the southern US states, drugs, alcoholism and infidelity. Also, there are rated R trailers
Storyline · Taglines. The Man. The Legend. The King of Rock & Roll. · Genres. Biography · Drama · Music · Motion Picture Rating (MPAA). Rated PG-13 for substance
Over 2.5 hours of film, yet after watching you know Elvis no better. It's simply a bunch scenes strung together, accompanied by music, but little to no plot and
Kennedy, many arguments, manipulation for monetary gain, scenes of a man being given and taking addictive drugs, discussions of
What is Elvis rated? ... Elvis has a PG-13 rating for strong language, substance abuse, smoking, and suggestive material. And don't forget it's
The new Elvis movie has arrived in theaters and it's coming out strong with its reviews, landing a fresh score at Rotten Tomatoes.
Elvis is rated PG-13 for substance abuse, strong language, suggestive material, and smoking. But is it appropriate for kids under the age of 12?
Why is Elvis rated PG-13? The PG-13 rating is for substance abuse, strong language, suggestive material and smokingLatest news about Elvis