Elvis, in theatres this month, is a biographical musical drama that chronicles the life of singer and actor Elvis Presley (Austin Butler). The film tracks his life from childhood to his meteoric rise to fame as both a rock and roll legend and a movie star. The film is often told from the perspective of Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), who managed Elvis’ career for more than 20 years.
The film shows Elvis struggling with being criticized by the powers-that-be, especially for his notoriously mobile hips. “The way you sing is God-given, so there can’t be nothing wrong with it,” his mother (Helen Thomson) tells him. Elvis grew up in church, and the gospel choir was among his earliest musical influences. He recorded multiple gospel albums throughout his career, yet he wrestled with an identity crisis because his beliefs and his behaviour often contradicted each other.
“I need to get back to who I really am,” Elvis says in the film. However, when asked who that is, he doesn’t seem to have a clear answer. But his manager, Colonel Tom, does. He is convinced that Elvis was destined to be a star, and Colonel Tom was destined to manage his career. The two shared a complicated relationship and had similar struggles.
“I need to get back to who I really am.” ELVIS PRESLEY
“We are the same, you and I,” Colonel Tom tells Elvis. “We are two odd, lonely children, reaching for eternity.”
Both men want to be remembered. But despite being dubbed the “King of Rock and Roll,” winning three Grammy awards and even receiving the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36, Elvis clearly worries about his legacy.
“I’m going to be 40 soon, and nobody’s going to remember me,” he says. “I need to make the most of this thing while I can. It could all be over in a flash.”
Did Elvis somehow know that he would leave this world suddenly at the age of 42? Would he find a way to return to his roots and reconnect with his true self before his passing?
A Lasting Legacy
It’s been 45 years since Elvis’ untimely death, and it’s clear that he didn’t need to be concerned about being remembered. He made a permanent impact on the music world and our culture as a whole. Even now, he maintains his status as the bestselling solo music artist of all time. Entertainers can actually make a living as Elvis impersonators!
Despite his short lifespan, Elvis Presley clearly established a lasting legacy. But what will he be remembered for? His many talents, of course, but also for his struggle with addiction, which cost him his life.
Like Elvis, many today are completely consumed with thoughts of the legacy they’ll leave behind. Social media platforms have provided us with an avenue to become famous, even if only for a moment and only in our own small corner of the world. People are obsessed with how many likes or retweets their posts garner and how much of an impact they are having on the world.
The world seems to tell us that influence is a must-have if we are going to be a Somebody. Social media influencers get paid to impact the behaviour and buying habits of their followers.
But what if the best influence we could have on this world is to become an impersonator?
Not an Elvis impersonator.
A Jesus impersonator.
The best way to influence this world for good is to share the gospel with those around us. And since actions speak louder than words, the best way to share the gospel is to imitate Jesus. While we’ll never live a perfect life as He did, we can strive to treat those around us as He did. If we love and accept people as they are, that can make it easier for them to believe that Jesus also loves and accepts them.
In our world, everyone wants to be an original. But as it turns out, the best quality we can be remembered for—the one that truly reaches for eternity—is to become a great Jesus impersonator.
That’s a legacy that is fit for the King.
Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures