Review: How Sofia Coppola’s ‘Priscilla’ Brings a New Perspective to the Elvis Presley Story

Sofia Coppola’s ‘Priscilla’: Biography & Drama

Sofia Coppola is an individual filmmaker whose work is based on a thematic linear pattern: her films are all, in some way, about the concept of captivity and the feeling of being in isolation. For the captives, the cage is usually decorated with gold, and the cage searches for birds (in Kafka’s words). The protagonist of “Priscilla” is Elvis Presley.

priscilla


The King was famously seen with Priscilla Beaulieu in 1959, when he was a member of the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany; Priscilla was the daughter of an officer who was stationed there and was actually fourteen at the time they met. Coppola’s film was written by the director and based on Priscilla Presley’s memoir of 1985. Elvis and Me honors the author by providing her point of view. While the modern-day reflections on Presley’s behavior in courting or, perhaps, in the way she was captured are replete with critiques of how creepy it was, The term “groomer” is tossed around in a variety of ways; this is a perfect fit. From the perspective of an unfocused, dreamy Austin, Texas, girl far from home, the attention of this shy star is thrilling.


It is evident that they are in a close relationship with cinematographer Philipe Sourd (who produced The Beguiled” by Coppola) and editor Sarah Flack (who has been working with Coppola since the epic Marie Antoinette,” which is why I’m going to make it clear this fact: Sarah is a good friend). Coppola gives us an array of stunning and surprisingly still-looking surfaces. In her bedroom in a small home located in Germany, Priscilla reads fan magazines. When she’s out in Graceland and is commanded not to walk on the lawn for too long, she reclines in dens and living rooms, which became more tackier after her divorce from Presley in the early part of 1973. There are times when Priscilla simply doesn’t know what she should do. Her husband, who is a star, has his career in film ruined by a never-seen Colonel Tom Parker (did Sofia Coppola observe Hanks on screen in Elvis and then say, “There’s just no topping Tom Hanks; I shouldn’t even try? (In reality, I doubt the case.) The actor will depart from Memphis to go to Los Angeles and tell his wife that she must “keep the home fires burning.”


What is Priscilla really there for? In particular, since he has arranged to cut her off from family members and act in some way as her guardian, she firmly does not want to sleep with her, despite her growing requests for intimacy. In the first time they meet Germany, Elvis, completely sincere and honest, tells the ninth grader (and the girl is shocked to hear that she’s so young) that he’s lonely for someone to chat with. His mother had recently died. The whole thing appears to be so innocent.


In the beginning of their relationship in their early days, they’re each a naif. Elvis has a poster from “On the Waterfront” in his bedroom. He says to Priscilla that if he comes back to the States in the future, he’d like to attend the actor’s studio to emulate Marlon Brando and James Dean. He invites her to see Beat the Devil,” and Priscilla is amazed and amused that her friend is able to memorize every line of Bogart’s in the film by heart. He has dreams of a vast artistic lifestyle. She fantasizes about being with him. Of the two of them, only one will see the dream become reality. But then, the dream may not be enough.


The cool, relaxed film is well-anchored by astonishingly rearranged performances by Caillee Spaeney. She plays her age with such ease that one could almost believe whether she’ll truly age like an older woman. She does, however, wonderfully. In the role of Elvis, Jacob Elordi dominates her. The contrast is a blatant exaggeration based on real-life events, but it’s a very effective one. The character Elvis is soft-spoken and prone to an angry swath as he starts relying ever more heavily on prescription drugs to improve his energy levels and get to sleep. All the things that killed him ultimately are presented in an ostensibly easily manageable format, but the story does convey the pervasive creep. The film is a great way to get into Presley’s earlier ’60s idiosyncrasies. He is in a Bible-study period, rereads the autobiography of a Yogi, and experiments with LSD together with Priscilla. Coppola’s short account of their experience is among the most authentic accounts of psychedelic experiences in recent films. All the while, even in movie-set relationships that are rumored to be real or not He keeps Priscilla unchaste until the day of marriage. Then he knocks her down quickly.


Even though Priscilla’s defiance is highlighted during the initial 90 minutes, the film doesn’t show the wedding’s conclusion. It’s likely that Coppola did not pay any attention at all to the young people on social networks who despise sexually explicit scenes because they don’t help the plot. With the elaborate setting-up and its aftermath, if there was a sexually explicit scene that could have benefited the plot, it could be this one. It’s not clear whether Coppola is being vague or ambiguous with the information by not mentioning it, or whether the reality is that Priscilla Presley, the executive producer and promoter of the film, could have led to some discretion.


At the end of the film, it is clear that Elvis is now a prisoner himself, of his own fame, and more. In the back of one of his many Vegas performances, we can see the man is caught in a trap that the woman he incarcerated because he believed was love and who was in real need is unable to assist him out of. His story is a way to let Priscilla go. So Coppola’s film settles with a soundtrack that is both moving and disturbing.

Priscilla | Official Teaser HD

Cailee Spaeny –Priscilla Beaulieu Presley

Cailee Spaeny

Although she might not had the same amount of recognition like some of her fellow actors, Cailee Spaeny has spent these past few years working on numerous highly acclaimed TV and film shows. In 2018 the actress not only had her big screen debut with the film “Pacific Rim: Uprising,” but also went to play a number of notable roles in the same year’s “Bad Times at the El Royale,” “Vice,” and “On the Basis of Sex.” The three films that followed received mostly positive reviews and provided Spaeny the chance to show her worth in the face of actors like Dakota Johnson, Chris Hemsworth, Felicity Jones, Kathy Bates as well as Jeff Bridges.

Since then, Spaeny has appeared on shows such as “Devs,” “Mare of Easttown,” and “The First Lady.” The previous films or TV shows have provided her as much stage like “Priscilla,” though, that could propel her further into within the Hollywood ranks. Although Spaeny hasn’t made any comments about her character as a character in “Priscilla,” either, her co-star, Jacob Elordi, has said nothing but positive comments about the process of making the film.

“It was really nothing short of magic,” Elordi recently revealed to T Australia about getting to collaborate together with “Priscilla” writer-director Sofia Coppola. “She’s a really beautiful, calm person. I just learned so much about filmmaking.” Filmgoers have a couple of months before they can see the final product from Spaeny, Elordi, and Coppola’s collaboration.

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