A&E Review

The Dark Fairytale of Priscilla and Elvis Presley: “Priscilla” Movie Review

Photo courtesy of IMDb.

Master filmmaker, Sofia Coppola, has done it again bringing her audience an impeccable viewing experience. “Priscilla” was released on Oct. 27, 2023 through A24, based off of Priscilla Presley’s memoir “Elvis and Me.” The film tells the story of Priscilla Presley’s life and love with Elvis Presley.

Focusing on her truth and viewpoint throughout the out-of-ordinary life she lived with Elvis, “Priscilla” is a dark fairytale exposing the truth of the two’s relationship. It is a coming-of-age story portraying the romance that shaped Priscilla’s life forever. 

The casting of the film couldn’t be more on par bringing the audience a truthful and honest experience. With Priscilla Presley being played by American actress Cailee Spaeny and Elvis Presley played by “Euphoria” star Jacob Elordi, the two could not have done a better job at creating the very essence of who Elvia and Priscilla were together. Elvis’ character took a completely different route than how Elvis was portrayed in the 2021 film “Elvis.”

Beginning in Germany, where the two met and fell in love, the film starts off with 14-year-old Priscilla and 24-year-old Elvis. Unlike Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis,” the film lets the audience in on the discomfort that was their age difference and how young Priscilla was when she met Elvis. Being only a freshman in high school, Priscilla fell hard for Elvis after meeting him at a party he threw at his home in Germany. At the time they met, Elvis was already an incredibly famous musician who was loved by any girl who knew of him. Elvis was aware of Priscilla’s age when they met and continued to pursue her despite the age gap. In today’s world, a relationship of this magnitude wouldn’t be supported, but times were different and no one said enough about it to pull them apart. 

The sour side of Elvis is shown throughout “Priscilla” giving him a villain arc. Although this could lead the audience to have a changed opinion of who Elvis was, the sweet side is shown in bits and pieces throughout the film. Coppola worked closely with the real Priscilla throughout the making of the film and made sure to show how in love they really were despite the very intense problems that took place in their relationship. Based on Priscilla’s memoir, the film rings in the fact that Elvis was never sexual with Priscilla until they got married when she was 21 and he was 32. 

The film is primarily focused on Priscilla’s identity and how it was shaped through her relationship. Elvis molded her look for the majority of the time they were together and Coppola does a great job at exposing it. The clothing, makeup and hairstyles were a huge tell to this. Priscilla was bare-faced and in the peak of her innocence when meeting Elvis. As their relationship progressed and became more serious, Priscilla’s look changed too. 

After moving out to Graceland for her relationship, Priscilla is told by Elvis to dye her hair darker to match his and to wear more intense makeup such as strong cat eye wings and bold lipstick. A scene that showed the audience how much control Elvis had over Priscilla took place during a shopping trip. Priscilla was taken to a popular clothing store and tried on countless outfits that Elvis either said “yes” or “no” to. Elvis decided Priscilla’s color was blue and commented on how she should only wear clothing that complimented her physique. As the film goes on, Priscilla primarily wears the color blue and is constantly criticized if she doesn’t fit the mold he planned for her. Elvis was incredibly possessive over her and by the age of 17, she was a completely different person through the changes he wanted for her identity.

Priscilla progressively grows farther from Elvis through countless issues such as infidelity, distance and Elvis’ rise to greater fame. It is interesting to see that as Elvis and Priscilla grew apart, Priscilla began to return to her own identity. Having quite the evolution, by the end of the film she returns to her simple makeup, natural hair and calm but classy outfits that she started the film in.

The movie tells the story of Priscilla. Not because she was Elvis’ wife but because of who sheis  as a person. Her personality, aspirations and emotions are shown giving a deeper understanding of who she is. Their love story is touching yet eerie, giving mixed emotions all throughout the film. It tells a tale of how love can’t be everything despite how much one cares for the other. 

“Priscilla” serves beautiful cinematography, heartfelt writing, incredible acting performances  and intrinsic fashion. Every detail is taken into account bringing viewers an important, emotional and informative watch. All in all, “Priscilla” is a phenomenal take on the dark life lived by the two behind closed doors.