Parent's Guide: Is 'Elvis' OK for your teens?

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Austin Butler in a scene from "Elvis."

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Austin Butler in a scene from "Elvis." (Warner Bros. Pictures via Associated Press)



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

TUPELO — The King is on the big screen. Not King Kong. Not the Burger King. And not LeBron. I'm talking about the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley.

The "Elvis" biopic is now in theaters and the movie is receiving a fair amount of buzz. I'm not here to tell you if the movie is any good or worth seeing. I did that in my review. This is to let you know what you can expect from "Elvis" by way of content so you can make an informed decision whether you think this movie is right for you or your kids.

Again, I am not here to tell you if you should or should not see the movie, or if you should let you kids see the movie. I'm here to give information about the content so you can make your own decisions.

Here's what you need to know about "Elvis."

Sex

We all know the term, "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll." All three are in the movie, but there is more rock 'n' roll than anything else.

When it comes to sex, there are references to it, but no actual nudity. There is a scene where a woman is in bed in her underwear and it is assumed that she and a man had just been intimate or were about to be.

Aside from that one scene, the rest of the sexual content is either spoken of or hinted at and not shown. The sexual discussion is even veiled and not overt. There is discussion of infidelity and the most sexual moments probably come from women watching Elvis perform.

A few scenes show women getting excited as the singer performs and this can be uncomfortable for some and you should be aware. This is probably the most sensual and "graphic" thing in the movie.

Language

There isn't a lot of language in "Elvis." For the most part the cursing is tame, with exception of one F-word. While the cursing is low in comparison to many PG-13 movies, I think it's what is talked about that is harder than many movies with the rating.

Racism, classism, depression and drugs are talked about a fair amount. So, the cursing is low, but the difficult topics come up regularly.

Violence

"Elvis" is not a violent movie. I really don't even need the section here, but have it just to let you know this is not where the movie gets its rating. There is some fighting and one scene of racial segregation breaks out in violence, but not much is shown. The realization of what is happening, however, can be disturbing.

Tone

"Elvis" is a depressing movie and there aren't many ups in its over two-and-a-half hour runtime. The overall theme seems to be one of manipulation and gaslighting, and paints a very grim and sad picture.

It is not a feel-good movie and this can have an effect on someone who may not be in a good place to handle all of that at the moment.

While I think the content, at face value, earns a PG-13 rating, I think the tone and overall feel of the movie is more of an R rating. Real life can be messy and chaotic at times and unfortunately for the King of Rock and Roll it seemed to be that for much of his life.

Conclusion

"Elvis" is intended for older audiences. I don't think it needed an R rating, but this is a perfect example of the tune I have been singing for a long time — the rating system is broken and there should be something defining between PG-13 and R.

Obviously this movie isn't for little kids, but I think a lot of teens may be interested. I won't tell you what age you should allow your kids to see it, only you can make that call. I will say, I think this is for more mature teens who can handle the heavy narrative and separate film and life and not glamorize the hard lifestyle Elvis often led.

"Elvis" is officially rated PG-13 for substance abuse, strong language, suggestive material and smoking.

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John has grown up around movies and annoys friends and family with his movie facts and knowledge. He also has a passion for sports and pretty much anything awesome, and it just so happens, that these are the three things he writes about.

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