The new film "Elvis & Nixon" portrays the 1970 meeting between Richard Nixon, played by Kevin Spacey, and Elvis Presley, played by Michael Shannon.

Movie Review: Elvis & Nixon

Cary, NC – Elvis & Nixon tells the story behind the infamous photograph taken in 1970 of Elvis Presley and President Richard Nixon meeting for the first time.  Kevin Spacey stars as Nixon and Michael Shannon (Midnight Special) stars as Elvis and these two actors have a field day in their respective roles making for a funny telling of a very bizarre pair.

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Bizarre Story Led By Two Great Performances

I believe the saying goes, “Truth is stranger than fiction”, and man, this is one strange story. Played mostly for laughs, Elvis & Nixon simply shifts into gear and lets the two great performances and unique set up do most of the work.

I’ve talked about how great Michael Shannon is before here on CaryCitizen, and this time is no different. The actor doesn’t much resemble The King, but he nails the swagger and confidence required to fill these particular shoes. Shannon also gets the rare chance to show off his comedic chops. Elvis was notorious for his diva-like behavior and Shannon excels in the scenes when Presley is at his most ridiculous. It’s a genuinely great and funny performance that, on its own, would be worth the price of admission.

Thankfully, Shannon doesn’t have to do all the heavy lifting here, as Spacey is having just as much fun. Like Shannon, Spacey doesn’t really look like Nixon, and his accent is a bit distracting, but his chemistry with Shannon is impeccable. His Nixon is largely playing the straight man to Elvis’ lunacy, but Spacey gets just as many laughs thanks to his expressions and exasperations.

The supporting cast is filled with a “who’s who” of character actors including Colin Hanks, Johnny Knoxville, Ashley Benson and Tate Donovan. They all do great work supporting these two over-the-top performances and help remind you just how ludicrous this story and these characters are.

Fascinating, Hilarious True Story Worth Seeing

Overall, Elvis & Nixon is a hoot. The two lead performances from Shannon and Spacey make the trip to the theater worth it, and who knows? You might even learn something!


Jordan Hunt covers movies for CaryCitizen. Read his Movie Reviews. Photos from Facebook.