I’m a bit behind on cultural phenomenons, but I finally broke down and watched the Baz Luhrmann Elvis movie. It’s supposed to be a biographical movie about Elvis, but I also understand that it’s a Baz Luhrmann movie first and foremost. That means lots of flash and spectacle, lots of fast-moving and colorful visuals.

I can’t speak to the factual accuracy of the movie. I was not there. I can speak to the fact that Austin Butler absolutely captures the essence of Elvis as the world saw him. It tries to get all the facets of the person known as Elvis Presley, not just the good parts. It shows that Elvis was a complicated individual with struggles and personal demons but also a heart to make his world better the best way he knew how.

I noticed that the film almost entirely omitted Elvis’ love for gospel music. Throughout his career, Elvis recorded many sacred songs as well as inserting them into his live shows. Again, I can’t speak for Elvis’ personal beliefs, but I know that he was deeply influenced and informed by gospel music of both black and white varieties.

There’s a part of the movie that made me a bit sad. It’s one where Elvis is lamenting that he will soon be 40 and is certain that no one will remember him after he’s gone. If only he had known how wrong he was. Elvis has made and continues to make more money after his passing than he ever made when he was alive. He’s one of those rare few artists who only need to be introduced by their first names and instantly, you know exactly who it is.

Ultimately, as the film points out, his legacy wasn’t in the amount of gold records he had or how many sold-out concerts he gave or how many millions he made. It was about giving love to his fans throughout the entirety of both his career and his life. It was a legacy of sacrificial love.

That’s not a bad legacy to leave behind.

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