“Priscilla” 2023

Sofia Coppola has once again mesmerised us with stunning cinematography and a powerful story seamlessly translated through the film’s elements. It’s undeniable that Coppola authentically portrays womanhood and, more significantly, the real lives of women on screen. Watching Priscilla, I couldn’t help but think that, despite being an iconic figure always idolized and discussed, she shares common elements with all of us as we navigate the complexities of growing up.

Let’s delve into the overall atmosphere of the film. Priscilla had many parts that reminded me of Marie Antoinette—bright colors and a compelling narrative. What set Priscilla apart for me was Coppola’s clear depiction of how quiet her life truly was. Despite the media’s portrayal of an active and fun life, especially given Elvis’s persona, the film illuminates how lonely and isolated she felt in his world. Moments of her own experiences with people were often negative, highlighting the film’s surprising silence despite featuring The King of Rock himself. This choice underscores that the focus is on her life and experiences, emphasizing her isolation from his world.

While I appreciated this aspect, I also felt there were moments when the narrative cut away too quickly, leaving us craving more context. The tension built after periods of silence sometimes dissipated abruptly, especially during arguments or fights, as the camera returned to capturing her loneliness. We see less of her taking agency over her life, with a notable exception being the joyous scene with Lisa Marie at home practicing Karate. I yearned for more instances where she wielded power over him, exposing his foolish and childlike demeanor. However, I must commend the decision not to delve into Elvis’s death or her reaction to it—a choice that resonated with me. Coppola concludes the film by emphasizing that Elvis was not the end of her story; it was a different chapter, and the film concludes with her exploration of her own world.

The performances were captivating, and the precision in costuming and set designs was noteworthy. Some scenes beautifully captured the essence of photos and old videos featuring the iconic duo. Jacob Elordi’s portrayal of Elvis, known for playing characters with abusive tendencies, added depth to the role. Cailee Spaeny, a relatively fresh face in acting, mirrored Priscilla’s enigmatic nature, adding an air of mystery to her character. I think the casting team at A24really know how to bring bigger than life characters to life, they’re realistic and true to the soul of the character (a common occurrence we also see in Aftersun, EEAAO and most A24 films.)

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, even as a massive fan of Elvis’s music. It offered an important viewpoint that needed exploration, particularly in contrast to Baz Luhrmann’s version last year. It’s crucial to see both sides of the story and not romanticize or forget about aspects of the iconic singer that may be less flattering.

What is your favorite Sofia Coppola movie?




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