Elvis is one of the most iconic figures of all time, but we know him more as a brand than as a person. This was the focal point of Baz Luhrmann's 'Elvis' - but like every biopic, no one film can encapsulate someone's entire life story. One of the characters from the 2022 film whose story didn't get fleshed out is Priscilla's, and now Sofia Coppola is bringing Mrs Presley's book, 'Elvis and Me' to the big screen.
'Priscilla' follows the famous couple from their first meeting until their divorce. The film begins when Priscilla (Cailee Spaeny, 'On the Basis of Sex', 'Bad Times at the El Royale') is only 14 and attending parties in Germany on the U.S. military base. Here, she meets Elvis (Jacob Elordi, 'Saltburn', Netflix's 'The Kissing Booth'), 24 years old at the time, and the two connect due to their shared experience back in the United States. The two lose contact, though Priscilla still pines for him and in 1962, they reconnect and he asks her to move into Graceland. From there we follow the highs, their marriage and birth of daughter Lisa Marie, and the lows of their relationship until their divorce in 1973.
'Priscilla' is just that - Priscilla Presley's story told, warts and all. It perfectly captures her innocence and the loss of it. We don't often get to see such a raw peak behind the curtain, and Priscilla did not have to give us such intimate details of her life. Allowing her fans to see this story told with her in the executive producer's chair is so rare, and I'm grateful she let us peak into that time.
The film does not shy away from a lot of other things that Elvis' media typically does. The age gap is a big focus, including how that fully affected the whole relationship. Priscilla was infatuated with his man, completely under his spell; from 14, she only knew Elvis and he knew that. We see many conversations where he doesn't let her leave while he is away shooting films just in case he wants to talk. The film also depicts the mental abuse and while he doesn't get physically violent with her, we do see him have violent outbursts.
The film is incredibly private. There are only a few scenes without Priscilla, and a lot of the run time is her on her own, alone. Cailee Spaeny does an absolutely phenomenal job here. While Priscilla is a real living person, Spaeny does a great job of making her so real and grounded - you truly feel everything she is experiencing and understand every motive. Because it's hard not to compare, while Austin Butler's 'Elvis' was more focused on the pop star portrayal of The King of Rock 'n' Roll, Jacob Elordi's portrayal is more focused on Elvis as a person. Elordi still knocks it out of the park and does a fantastic job. What I loved about his performance is it's much more reserved and grounded as the focus is all on Priscilla; he is not here to tell Elvis' story, he is a catalyst for Pricilla's journey of self-discovery. Even more to this point, the film doesn't feature any of his music and we only see him perform once.
The film is incredibly private. There are only a few scenes without Priscilla, and a lot of the run time is her on her own, alone. Cailee Spaeny Spaeny does a great job of making her so real and grounded - you truly feel everything she is experiencing and understand every motive.
Although the film ends with the couple's divorce, I wanted the film to dive more into Priscilla without Elvis. I understand why the film ends here, but with a film titled 'Priscilla' I wanted to know more about her after Elvis and who she is without that shadow.
'Priscilla' is another fantastic film for Sofia Coppola, once again nailing her recurring themes of isolation through fame and womanhood. With groundbreaking performances from both Spaeny and Elordi, it's a fantastic look at an untold side of the woman wooed by the King of Rock 'n' Roll.