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Online Edition of The Cardinal Times

The Cardinal Times

Movie Review: Is “Priscilla” worth the watch?

B Bleiler
Reporter Emilia Cafiso poses with the marquee for “Priscilla” outside of the Living Room Theaters. “Priscilla” began showing in theaters nationwide on November 3.

WARNING: This review contains spoilers.

“Priscilla,” directed by Sofia Coppola, was released to theaters nationwide on November 3. Based on “Elvis and Me,” Priscilla Presley’s autobiography, the film documents the years 1959 to 1972, from the couple’s first meeting to their eventual separation. While Priscilla and Elvis, played by Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi, experience many delightful moments while in love, the audience also witnesses how Elvis became a controlling, fame-driven and often abusive partner. 

The film exhibited several of Coppola’s directorial trademarks, including liminal (short transitional) spaces, depicted in Graceland, Elvis’ long-time home. Coppola will also frequently rely on visuals to tell a story, shown in a montage of calendars and holiday cards, depicting Priscilla waiting for Elvis to return from duty. The most beautiful frame from the film was Priscilla crying in the dark while light shone on the left side of her face and, consequently, her immaculately done ’60s eyeliner. 

While Jacob Elordi’s depiction of Elvis’ accent was astonishingly accurate, almost to the point where a second viewing at .75 speed with subtitles is required, those who saw it in theaters were not annoyed at its authenticity. 

Senior B. Bleiler recalls, “When I first started watching [“Priscilla”], I [thought] there was going to be a specific spot where I could tell he wasn’t doing [the accent] well. There was never an ‘Oh no, I can hear a clear non-accent.’ I liked that. It was easy to listen to.” 

In an interview with Variety, music supervisor Randall Poster revealed that he and his team could not use any of Elvis’ songs for the film’s soundtrack due to the rights being held by a recording company. However, the lack of Elvis’ discography was a gift in disguise. Priscilla Presley has been both hidden from view and shoved into the spotlight for so long that inserting her ex-husband’s music would be out of the question in a film about her life and dreams. 

Though slow at times, “Priscilla” was visually gorgeous and a Sofia Coppola masterpiece in its own right. The film ends as Priscilla Presley drives away from Graceland for good in a 1964 Chevrolet Corvair Elvis gifted her, leaving the viewer to wonder what becomes of her. So often in cinema, we are told a story from a male perspective, so watching the antithesis to Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” was refreshing. 

While worth the watch, I recommend bringing a couple of snacks with you into the movie theater, as some sections of the film feel as though they last as long as the line at the DMV. I give “Priscilla” four stars for its dedication to the craft of filmmaking and the acting performance of undeniable breakout star Cailee Spaeny.

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About the Contributor
Emilia Cafiso, Reporter
Emilia is a senior this year. She is excited to line dance and meet new people on the paper! Her favorite part of newspaper is feeling productive.
Contact by emailing [email protected] and put the reporter's name in the subject line.

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