A review of Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla — an intimate, heart-wrenching portrayal of Elvis’s Wife • Art de Vivre

A review of Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla — an intimate, heart-wrenching portrayal of Elvis’s Wife

6 minutes to read
Dec 28, 2023

In Sofia Coppola’s new movie Priscilla, audiences are invited to delve into the intricacies of the complicated relationship between Elvis Presley and his wife, Priscilla. The film unfolds the narrative through the eyes of the King's wife, played skillfully by Cailee Spaeny, capturing the evolution of her personality, style, and character within a compact one-and-a-half-hour timeframe. Coppola's distinctive directorial style, coupled with a vivid palette, lends the film a dreamlike quality, affording viewers a glimpse into Priscilla's inner turmoil beyond the veneer of outward appearances.

A spotlight on the overlooked narrator

The mental image of Priscilla Presley is often that of a stunning woman in a wedding gown, standing beside the iconic figure who transformed the music industry with his voice and moves. Regrettably, Priscilla is rarely considered in her own right; her youth predominantly devoted to Elvis. The prevailing perception romanticises their love and marriage, casting it as an idyllic scenario where Priscilla lived every young girl's dream, becoming the wife of her idol. However, Coppola's film peels away the layers of this idealised narrative, revealing a reality less magical—a broader view of the turbulent relationship between two individuals separated by a significant age gap and divergent interests. The audience embarks on a journey alongside Priscilla, viewing Elvis (Jacob Elordi) through her unadorned perspective, free from the rose-coloured glasses that typically obscure his true, unfiltered colours.

A review of film Priscilla

Throughout the movie, Priscilla constantly changes her looks, mannerisms, and stance. She starts as a naive 14-year-old teenager and morphs into a grown woman during her relationship with Elvis. As Priscilla idolises the man of her dreams, she recklessly follows his instructions and becomes like a little life-sized doll for him: the ideal woman of his dreams. She changes her hair colour, makeup, and clothes and thinks the way he wants her to think. She loses her true self in the process, and during those rare moments when she actually speaks her mind, she is met with violence. It is only during the last several minutes of the movie that the audience can finally watch Priscilla show her true character, style, and even her real voice. And that happens only because she is far away from her busy husband, living an independent life in California. She stops being someone else’s fantasy and faces the candid Priscilla who has been hidden away for over a decade. That’s when she finally gathers the strength to leave the powerful man and continue life on her own.

Sofia Coppola's cinematic mastery in Priscilla

Coppola's latest film masterfully showcases the director's unique vision and distinctive style. The deliberate use of colours, the simplicity of close-up shots, and the overall set design provide audiences with an opportunity to peer into the essence of the character and traverse the various stages of her life. The film's palette, ranging from soft hues capturing the innocence of Priscilla's teenage years to darker tones signifying the transition from naive youth to womanhood, serves as a visual narrative that complements the emotional arc of the protagonist.

A review of Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla

Priscilla emerges as one of Coppola's most accomplished works, adeptly navigating the complexities of young love and self-exploration. The film's ability to resonate despite its focus on iconic figures is a testament to its relatability, establishing a genuine connection with the audience. As the film prepares to grace cinemas across Germany from January 4th, it promises to reach a broader audience, unravelling the magical yet intricate tale of Priscilla.

Coppola's nuanced storytelling, coupled with her artistic prowess, ensures that Priscilla stands not only as a portrayal of icons but also as a universally resonant exploration of the human experience.

Ready for more cinematic magic? After the heart-wrenching tale of Priscilla, immerse yourself in a Greek tragedy turned getaway. Explore the enchanting world of ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ and discover the allure of captivating storytelling.

Photo Credits: © IMDb

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