Review | ‘Priscilla’ shows the ups and downs of loving Elvis Presley. Culture

Winged liner. acrylic nails. A brand new pair of false eyelashes. Sofia Coppola opens her latest film, “Priscilla,” with a montage of Priscilla Presley (Cailey Spaeny) getting ready to see her husband, Elvis Presley (Jacob Elordi). The film depicts the complex relationship between the iconic American singer and his first and only wife in astonishing detail, depicting their decadent long relationship.

The film begins in 1959, showing 14-year-old Priscilla eating lunch at an American-themed restaurant while her family is stationed at a military base in Germany. She is approached by a soldier, who asks if she listens to Elvis Presley. She replies: “Sure, who doesn’t,” and is casually invited to a party held at Elvis’ residence on base.

Elvis, who has been drafted into the United States Army in 1958, welcomes Priscilla into his home that night, looks her up and down, and calls her “just a kid”. Coppola effectively opened up Priscilla and Elvis’ dynamic with the same fact that Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” conveniently forgot to explore — when their relationship first began, Priscilla was only 14, Elvis was 24. Was.

In 2023, it’s impossible to ignore one component of their relationship. Priscilla pleads with her parents to allow her to continue her relationship with Elvis, while she becomes more and more isolated from her education and peers. After their first meeting, Elvis gives Priscilla some mystery pills as he is leaving her home to help her stay awake “during class”.

While their relationship has been glamorized in countless films and television adaptations of her life, Coppola remains in Priscilla’s perspective and allows the audience to come to their own conclusions about the Presleys’ relationship.

The real Priscilla has said a lot about the film, Saying: “It’s very difficult to sit and watch a movie about you, about your life, about your love… Sofia did an amazing job. “She did her homework, we talked a few times and I really laid out everything I could for her.”

After pleading with her parents, Priscilla is allowed to move to Graceland, Elvis’s iconic home, as long as she continues to attend and graduate high school. Elvis began styling Priscilla in the hair and clothes he chose. In a matter of days, Priscilla’s style went from ’50s schoolgirl with brown bangs and a plaid dress to ’60s woman with a jet black beehive and smoky black eyeshadow.

Strangely, this seems to be a trend with famous men and their partners. The name of Kanye West comes to mind, who styled Kim Kardashian during her wedding. After their separation, the Kardashians have lived vulnerable About styling yourself without a “pre-tested” look by West. It’s hard to tell whether these rich, powerful men see these women as creative collaborators or as one of their property.

Spenny captures Priscilla’s submissive and meek nature well, she almost never objects to any of Elvis’s wishes – including taking LSD together and allowing him to see other women.

Coppola’s approach is never glamorous – if anything, Priscilla’s life is distinctly non-glamorous. Her day-to-day routine is slow and mundane, often waiting for Elvis to return from filming at Graceland. Iconic fantasy scenes such as their wedding are fleeting and meaningless, reflecting the superficial nature of their marriage.

Elordi gives an excellent performance as Elvis. His performance never feels like a caricature or impersonation – he’s simply playing a man from Tennessee whose life has expanded beyond imagination. He is fully committed to the dark sides of Elvis’ personality, throwing a chair at Priscilla when she didn’t like one of his songs. Elordi’s height is used to great effect, as he is often taller than Spaeny’s Priscilla, highlighting the characters’ age difference.

A central theme of Coppola’s work is femininity. She has studied and depicted the lives of various fictional and female characters in her work – Kirsten Dunst as “Marie Antoinette”, Emma Watson as Valley Girl reality star Alexis Neiers in “The Bling Ring”, and Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning are shown as Virginians. Women in the Civil War film “The Beguiled”.

Coppola explores femininity not only in the female characters, but also in the male characters. Bill Murray plays a sensitive and self-conscious actor in “Lost in Translation.” Jason Schwarzman is dressed in strange French clothes as King Louis XVI in “Marie Antoinette.” The lead man in “The Bling Ring” is gay and wears high heels. Elvis is similarly feminine, wearing as much makeup, hair dye and sequins as Priscilla, if not more.

In addition to Elvis, Coppola captures the striving and inherent femininity of other men in the 1950s, with the camera panning over the soldiers with their pristine decorated jackets and greasy hair tousled all over the place.

Coppola uses costumes to the benefit of the narrative, showing how Elvis and Priscilla change over time. As time goes on, Elvis’s costumes become more exotic, wearing his iconic white jumpsuits and all-leather outfits. As the estrangement between her and Elvis grows, Priscilla becomes more withdrawn. Her hair returns to its natural color and falls down her shoulders in loose waves.

As soon as Priscilla decided that her marriage to Elvis was over, she walked down a corridor at Graceland to her car to leave. As she begins to cry, Priscilla’s hand moves up to cover her mouth, her nails still acrylic from her time with Elvis, her identity forever changed with Elvis.

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