[Courtesy of A24]

Movie Review: Priscilla

07:00 November 07, 2023
By: David Vicari


Priscilla, directed by the sure hand of Sofia Coppola, is a collection of snapshots from the relationship between the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, and the woman who would become his wife, Priscilla Beaulieu. The film is seen from Priscilla's point of view and is based on Priscilla Presley's memoir Elvis and Me, so it's definitely like being a fly on the wall in Graceland.

Priscilla Beaulieu (Cailee Spaeny) first met Elvis (Jacob Elordi) at a party in 1959 when she was only 14 years old. Elvis was already a rock and roll superstar, but he felt that the young girl was different from his legion of female fans. She was someone he could talk to. Despite the age difference (Elvis was 24 at that time) and concerns from her strict parents, the two began casually dating.

In 1963, Elvis asks Priscilla to move in with him at his Memphis, Tennessee estate known as Graceland. The couple would marry four years later.

The early happy scenes are great. We see this girl being absolutely thrilled that she is living a fairy tale come true. Of course, it doesn't last long. When Priscilla first met Elvis, his addiction to uppers and downers was already in full swing, and he began giving pills to her. She would eventually experience his mood swings and angry outbursts. For better or worse, the movie really makes you feel the monotony and loneliness of Priscilla's day-to-day life isolated at Graceland while Elvis was off making movies.

The performances are on the money. The fact that Spaeny is petit (she is listed as 5' 1") works for the movie. She looks like a little girl, and Priscilla was a young teenage girl thrown into this big, crazy lifestyle and she struggled to find her way. As for Elordi, he embodies Elvis so well that it is kind of haunting.

Coppola's film is somber and often very quiet. That is a stark contrast to Baz Luhrmann's high energy Elvis (2022) movie, yet these two films seem to go together. Both are compelling glimpses into the lives of Elvis and Priscilla Presley.

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