The new “Elvis” biopic from Baz Luhrmann doesn’t release until June 24, but the Rotten Tomatoes results are already in. The film explores Elvis Presley’s music and life in relation to his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. “Elvis” follows Presley’s career from his debut through his unexpected success as a performer. It stars Austin Butler as Elvis Presley, Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker, and Olivia DeJonge as Pricilla Presley.
It sounds all well and good, but what did Rotten Tomatoes have to say about it? According to the Tomatometer rating system, critics gave it an 80% fresh score.
If you know anything about Baz Luhrmann as a director, you know he has a certain style. He’s the director who did “Moulin Rouge!” in 2001, and a lot of his films carry that opulence and old-school charm with them. You can usually spot a Luhrmann film a mile away, and “Elvis” is really no different. Most of the critics who have reviewed the film have picked up on that. Essentially, there are a lot of flashbulbs, and the color red, and usually something is made out of velvet.
What are the critics saying, you ask? Charles Bramesco of The Playlist wrote in part, “Raw, gyrating machismo turned Elvis into a god […] Under Luhrmann’s unthrottled tutelage, that overwhelming dynamo of charisma is made merely loud.”
Meanwhile, Stephanie Zacharek from TIME Magazine wrote, “Does Luhrmann show us the real Elvis, or is he just re-embroidering the Elvis who already lives in our imagination? The answer seems to be that Luhrmann sees equal value in fact and myth.”
Rotten Tomatoes Reveals ‘Elvis’ Score, Movie Wows Some Critics and Bores Others
“Elvis” seems to, according to the critics, give us something on the edge of reality. It’s not fact, per se, but it isn’t purely fiction either. Baz Luhrmann seems to take a true story and punch it up in true Luhrmann style. He gave it his own treatment, which means bright lights, glitter, and plenty of music.
But, whatever the critics say about “Elvis,” Baz Luhrmann received the “best review” he’s ever gotten from none other than Pricilla Presley. At a press conference, Luhrmann shared what Pricilla said about the film. “No critique, no review was ever going to mean more to us than the one from the woman who was married to him,” he shared. “She said, ‘If my husband was here today, he’d say, ‘Hot damn, you are me.” It was the best review I’ve ever had.”
Austin Butler, who played the titular role of Elvis, also shared that Pricilla gave him her blessing to portray her ex-husband. “She just looked me in the eyes,” Butler explained to Twitter Movies, “And there was something so profound about staring into these eyes that meant so much to Elvis. I mean, it’s giving me chills right now. And she said, ‘You have a lot of support,’ and she hugged me. That was so huge for me, getting that blessing.”