Released on November 3, 2023, “Priscilla” is the newest endeavor written, directed, and produced by famed director Sofia Coppola. The film is a biographical drama that follows the life and relationship of Priscilla Presley and her husband, Elvis Presley. The movie is based on Priscilla Presley’s memoir, Elvis and Me. Starring Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi, as Priscilla and Elvis, respectively, the film takes the audience on a journey through the couple’s passionate and, oftentimes, tumultuous 15 year relationship with honesty and poise.
Spaeny shines in her role as the titular character. Having only appeared in a few films prior, Coppola’s movie could be considered her breakout. Although the actress is 25 in real life she has no problem skillfully playing Priscilla from ages 14 to 29. Not only that but Spaeny deftly captures the depth and complexity of Priscilla’s character. Her co-star also excels in his role. Elordi is larger than life not only in height, the actor stands at a whopping 6 feet and 5 inches tall, but in charisma as well. He plays the captivating star with an easy precision that in many ways outshines the performance of Austin Butler in “Elvis”. He demonstrates Elvis’ volatile nature, the mood swings from caring to callous, incredibly well, and his accent does not take away from the character. The other actors in the film also do very well in their roles, but the two leads are truly the core of the piece.
Known for her films rich with themes of femininity, Coppola handles her subject matter artfully and with incredible attention to detail. The movie is shot beautifully. There are lush montages of hairspray and fake eyelashes, opulent gambling at casinos in Las Vegas, as well as vibrant clips of summer pool parties. However, among these moments of extravagance, Coppola manages to weave in other more serious scenes conveying the manipulation and loneliness of Priscilla. A young girl is thrown into a life of splendor before she’s old enough to understand what a life with the most famous musician in America truly entails. The film does not hide the uglier truths of Elvis from the audience, but also does not victimize or minimize Priscilla. The narrative captures her joy, her love, as well as her strife.
“Priscilla” is a film sure to please many with its colorful shots of glamor, but asks the audience to think critically as well. A worthy watch for any future trip to the movies, but be mindful that the film is rated R.