Review: Priscilla is a journey that, while not shattering the boundaries of Sofia Coppola’s established repertoire, undoubtedly captivates with its remarkable performances and intimate storytelling. Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi shine as the tumultuous Priscilla and Elvis Presley.
Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla invites us to step through the looking glass into the tumultuous life of Priscilla Presley, one of the most enigmatic and influential figures of the 20th century. The film delves into the intricacies of Priscilla’s remarkable journey and her complex relationship with the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley. In this intimate portrayal, Sofia Coppola crafts a narrative that serves as a poignant exploration of the human condition, while simultaneously offering a glimpse behind the glittering curtain of fame.
From the very outset, Priscilla is captivating because of performances that steal the show. Cailee Spaeny, in the titular role, delivers a truly wonderful performance that effortlessly embodies the essence of Priscilla Presley. Spaeny’s portrayal is a masterclass in character immersion, allowing us to witness Priscilla’s transformation from a small-town girl to an iconic figure. Her portrayal is nuanced, emotionally rich, and deeply human, and she deserves recognition during awards season for her exceptional work.
In the role of Elvis Presley, Jacob Elordi steps into the colossal shoes of portraying an American legend. His performance exudes empathy and depth, qualities that were noticeably missing in Austin Butler’s portrayal of the King in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis. Elordi successfully manages to convey the magnetic charisma and inner turmoil of Elvis with authenticity, enabling us to glimpse the man behind the myth. It’s a revelation and a testament to Elordi’s acting range, which transcends the limitations that are often associated with portraying such iconic figures.
Sofia Coppola’s direction in Priscilla fits seamlessly into her signature style – it’s soft, unassuming, and intimate. Much like her previous works, like the dreary The Virgin Suicides or starstruck Somewhere, Coppola excels at creating an atmosphere that allows us to peer into the private lives of her characters. In Priscilla, this approach works exceptionally well, as it lends an air of authenticity to the portrayal of a world steeped in glamour and mystique, yet weighed down by the immense pressure of fame.
The story in Priscilla maintains the small-scale intimacy that Coppola is known for, an approach that has consistently been her cinematic forte. The narrative delves into the intricacies of Priscilla and Elvis’s relationship, a connection that was as turbulent as it was passionate. While the film doesn’t seek to venture into uncharted territory for the director, the thematic density and profound impact of the narrative is undeniable. It’s a testament to Coppola’s storytelling prowess that she can take such a well-trodden path and still uncover new layers of emotion and resonance, providing the audience with an authentic glimpse into the lives of these iconic figures.
Priscilla is a film that, at times, feels like Coppola comfortably settling into her established stylistic sensibilities rather than boldly venturing into uncharted waters. Yet, it’s crucial to recognize that this is not necessarily a flaw, as her distinctive style has garnered her a devoted following and earned her a place among contemporary cinema’s great auteurs. However, one can’t help but wonder what new dimensions she might have explored with a more daring departure from her comfort zone. Nonetheless, it’s evident that Priscilla exemplifies Coppola’s unwavering commitment to crafting narratives that examine the human condition in an elegant and understated manner.
The film is further elevated by its enchanting score, which effectively recreates the era and time in which Priscilla and Elvis lived and loved. The music, composed by the band Phoenix, becomes an additional character in the narrative, evoking a sense of nostalgia and setting the mood for the story. The soundtrack, in its exquisite attention to historical accuracy, immerses the viewer into the world of the film, contributing to a more authentic experience.
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Priscilla is a cinematic journey that, while it may not shatter the boundaries of Coppola’s established repertoire, undoubtedly captivates with its remarkable performances and intimate storytelling. It is a character-driven exploration of fame, love, and the human experience. Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi shine in their respective roles, breathing life into the legendary figures they portray, and their performances linger long after the credits roll.
Priscilla speaks to the enduring allure of Hollywood legends and the power of personal stories that resonate across time and generations. The film provides an evocative glimpse into the lives of iconic figures, and it’s a testament to the art of cinema that continues to intrigue and captivate us.
Priscilla is available to see in movie theaters.
Priscilla Film Cast and Credits
Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla Presley
Jacob Elordi as Elvis Presley
Ari Cohen as Captain Beaulieu
Dagmara Domińczyk as Ann Beaulieu
Tim Post as Vernon Presley
Dan Abramovici as Jerry
Director: Sofia Coppola
Cinematography: Philippe Le Sourd
Editor: Sarah Flack