Austin Butler Shines as the King of Rock–And a Struggling Human
Award season is a magical time in Hollywood. And an extra magical time for the actor, Austin Butler, who took home his first Golden Globe (“Actor in a Drama Motion Picture”) for his role as Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s film “Elvis”.
Released in June 2022, the biopic follows the story of the famed musician, Elvis Presley (played by Butler). His rise to fame is replayed on the big screen and his subsequent fall concludes with his early death at 42, uniquely narrated by his controversial manager, Colonel Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks).
Elvis’s story kickstarts in his early twenties, detailing how the famous rock and roll legend got his humble beginnings. Partnered with “The Colonel” (as he’s not so affectionately penned by his peers), Elvis takes the world by storm with his suggestive dance moves and controversial way of blurring lines in an era of segregation.
Butler shines as the King of Rock. His later performance is most unique. While yes, his charm and overall sex appeal are completely buyable, Butler gathers the most attention when Elvis is caught in a trap (musical pun wholly intended) towards the second half of the film. His battle with his prescription drug addiction is highlighted so uniquely that one viewing of the movie may not be enough to catch all the eerie allusions Luhrmann lays out for viewers. At one point a bottle of pills sits on Elvis’s countertop as he assures his wife, Priscilla, that he has everything under control; a possible allusion to their marriage being ended by his substance abuse.
Perhaps what makes Butler’s performance so engaging is the love he has for Elvis. In Butler’s own words, he put “his life on hold for two years” in order to become the famed icon. Voice and movement coaches helped sculpt him into not an imitation but rather a tribute that can lead new generations to the life of Elvis. “(Elvis) you were an icon and a rebel and I love you so much,” Butler said in his Golden Globe acceptance speech. “You are remembered and I will never forget. Thank you.”
What “Elvis” does right is let Elvis be human. And even more so, allows the audience to be present in every stage of his life to witness it. Whether you’re an Elvis superfan or a movie-goer that has only listened to “Jailhouse Rock” once in your grandma’s Volkswagen—this movie is for you.
“Elvis” is available to stream on HBO Max.
Jordan Stokes | Writing Contributor
B.A | Writing | Point Loma Nazarene Univ
Jordan Stokes is a writer currently studying at Point Loma. Her writing has previously been published in Driftwood and Thimble Literary Magazine. When she is not reading or writing she dabbles in baking, beach trips, and baseball – the “Big B’s” if you will. | View My Articles