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The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

‘Priscilla’ Sheds Light on Toxic Relationships and the Feminine Experience

Priscilla%2C+directed+by+Sofia+Coppola%2C+was+released+on+Oct.+27.+It+follows+the+story+of+Priscilla+Presley+and+reveals+the+reality+of+her+relationship+with+the+beloved+Elvis+Presley.
Shivani Kondubhatla
Priscilla, directed by Sofia Coppola, was released on Oct. 27. It follows the story of Priscilla Presley and reveals the reality of her relationship with the beloved Elvis Presley.

After seeing the A24 film Priscilla directed by Sofia Coppola marketed on TikTok, I instantly knew that this was a movie I was sure to love. I have always loved Coppola’s films emotionally heavy stories to be meditated, treated delicately with a feminine touch. I had also never been disappointed by an A24 film and their cinematographic style. And of course, everyone on the internet was raving about the film’s inclusion of heart-throb Jacob Elordi, known for starring in the award-winning show Euphoria. This film was stacked with figures I love, so it was a must-watch. However, I was most eager to see how the story of the icon herself would be revealed and portrayed on the screen. After its premiere on Oct. 27, I was quick to purchase tickets. 

Priscilla, based off the novel Elvis and Me by Priscilla Presley, sheds light on the reality of the relationship of Priscilla and Elvis Presley. It specifically tells the story of Priscilla Presley (played by Cailee Spaeny), ex-wife of the music legend himself, Elvis Presley (played by Jacob Elordi). The Presleys captured the heart of the media during their time; however, the true nature of their relationship wasn’t revealed until much later. This film sought to portray Priscilla’s story, untouched by the glitz and glamor of Elvis’. Solely portraying Priscilla’s experience, we get a sneak peek into the reality of what it meant to love Elvis Presley. 

Overall, I fell head over heels in love with this film. The story was beautifully told, covering when Priscilla met Elvis at 14 up until she finally left him at 26. It reflected Priscilla’s starry-eyed love for Elvis, along with the brutality and isolation that came with it. Priscilla touched my emotions in a way a movie hasn’t in a while. It left me contemplating the nature of the Presleys’ marriage and how it mirrors many toxic relationships today. Coppola was successful in capturing my emotions, sweeping me into Priscilla’s story. The immersive nature of the film made it seem as if I was experiencing falling in love, heartbreak, and then a stifling loneliness right along Priscilla. 

I believe the beauty of this film lies most in its portrayal of Priscilla’s perspective, especially since her story was previously brushed over by the media. We are accustomed to stories affected by Elvis’ presence. In this film, he was only her husband and a minor character off-screen. This story was all Priscilla. For instance, while Elvis would be gone on tour, we would only be shown what Priscilla was doing during this time entertaining herself within the confines of Graceland. This choice of focus conveyed the isolation and loneliness of this marriage. The film reveals that Priscilla was to live under Elvis’ instructions — not to have a job, friends, or any outside endeavors. Multiple reviews describe this portrayal as “life in a gilded cage.” This was heartbreaking, contributing to the movie’s impact on me. 

Furthermore, her perspective was brutally honest. We saw the beautiful parts of Elvis, the parts that Priscilla and the masses fell in love with, but we were also shown the dark parts that the media had previously shied away from. Priscilla was a young and soft-spoken girl when she met Elvis, so we can see how overtime her delicateness and innocence were stolen — but also how she still loved him after everything. The audience’s relationship with Priscilla is intimate. Throughout the film, there are multiple close-up shots of her face, showing us the depth of her emotions. This closeness made me feel almost like a sister or a best friend – an intimacy allowing me to feel her pain. Through this style of perspective, Coppola showed us a beautiful portrayal of feminine experience. 

Priscilla revealed the darkness of the Presleys’ relationship, a story often looked over due to the flashiness of Elvis’ career. However, Coppola did not necessarily portray him as a monster. Rather, she explained in an interview that she wanted the audience to choose their idea of him themselves. Watching the movie, I realized that Jacob Elordi portrayed the nuance of Elvis’ character amazingly. He showed us the ugly and the destructive, yet the magnificent parts as well. By all means, Elvis’ actions towards Priscilla were monstrous, but Elordi managed the humanize them he was far more complex of a character than we imagine him to be. The movie provides the audience with a more accurate understanding of their relationship. Priscilla began dating Elvis when she was 14 and he was 24, a startling age gap. Cailee Spaeny was able to portray her youthful innocence as she met Elvis, immediately setting the stage for the course of their relationship. The movie reveals how Elvis would control every aspect of her life her education, what she wore, her makeup, etc. Her life became Elvis, and only Elvis. Therefore, whenever he was away, which would be for long periods of time, she was completely and utterly alone. Priscilla was trapped by her love for Elvis. On the other hand, Elvis’ idea of Priscilla was revealed. He viewed her as someone to give him constant love and validation. He didn’t want a wife necessarily, as seen through his reluctance to be sexually intimate with her but rather a “puppy” of sorts someone constantly sweet and comforting to him, whom he can punish and be cruel to, and they will still return lovingly at his heels. This film truly made me contemplate their relationship and the driving factors in their cruelty and forgiveness. 

In conclusion, Priscilla was a beautiful yet melancholic meditation on the truth of the Presleys’ marriage, and I will happily recommend it to anybody. The movie is slow-paced, so one must go into watching it with a patient and pensive mindest, but the themes it portrays and the emotions it touches make it by all means worth it. 

 

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About the Contributors
Mallory Milner, Reporter
Class of 2024 Hi! I am a senior and this is my third year as a reporter for Westwood Horizon. Outside of press I enjoy hanging out with my friends, reading, and spending time outside.
Shivani Kondubhatla, A&E Editor
Class of 2025  Feeding my ardent love for both the arts and journalism, I am beyond enthused to take on the role of the Arts & Entertainment editor to represent the fine arts and pop culture not only at Westwood but also in our buzzing community. Outside of the newsroom, I am most likely cherishing time with friends, watching sit-coms (probably Modern Family!), or sustaining my unhealthy coffee addiction. 

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