“I'll make you a golden cage, I'll feed you fruit, I'll hang a golden ball studded with diamonds on your leg” – the words of Katarzyna Nosowska in the song “Zazdrość” aptly illustrate the relationship between Elvis Presley and his wife. In Priscilla, Sofia Coppola looks with not-so-hidden sympathy at a young woman wandering, with the aforementioned diamond ball and chain, around Graceland — something as fictitious and a façade as her marriage to the king of rock 'n' roll. Interesting and psychological Valuable point of view Point of view, but unfortunately trapped in an unfulfilled movie. Beautiful on the outside, but empty on the inside. Just like the life of the main character.
Free and provocative – for those times – the hip movements, the seductive smile, the mischievous twinkle in the eye, theatrical charisma and nonchalant ease. Half a century ago, the public fascinated by the “King” looked to this Elvis.
What kind of Elvis did Priscilla see next? Bossy, sometimes not afraid of aggression and even violence, numb from drug use, distant, cold, and above all absent – not only in body, but also in spirit. At least that's the picture the pop icon's wife painted years later in the autobiographical book “Elvis and Me,” which became Sofia Coppola's starting point when writing the screenplay for “Priscilla.”
The author of “Lost in Translation” and “The Curse of Innocence” thus adopted the point of view of the person who was (in theory) closest to Presley for a dozen years or so and was one of the few who was able to observe him away from the limelight, stage lights and television cameras.
So the director had in one hand a source of material with great potential, and in the other hand she had a suitcase full of her own experiences in photographing women involved in complex relationships. The lack of pressure has also worked in Coppola's favor lately “Al-Faysi” Baz Luhrmann handled the character of Priscilla very marginally. Aside from the two scenes, Presley's wife was really only a textual support in this show.
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“Priscilla” begins as a typical youth love story, if quite scandalous, by today's standards. Here is a young man in his twenties stationed at an American military base in West Germany He flirts with the officer's daughter, who is only 14 years old. His name is Elvis Presley (Jacob Al-WardiIndeed, in 1959, she spread a magical and unique aura around herself. She – Priscilla Beaulieu (Silly Spinney) – She stares at her idol like an image and is still unable to understand what she really did to deserve his attention.
Both of them, a little afraid of each other and charmingly clumsy in their first attempts at contact, nevertheless give the impression of a well-rounded couple, even though at this point their relationship is purely platonic.
This is perhaps the only part of the film where Sofia Coppola at least tries to deepen the relationship between the two characters. When “Priscilla” turns 180 degrees toward psychodrama, the director is only concerned with the effects of toxic, addictive, and crippling love. However, Coppola still puts this love in quotes and asks us to treat it in a very conventional way. Of course, as it turned out years later, the Presley family relationship was mainly based on an illusion and a certain facade, but there was some feeling there. This is almost invisible in the movie.
There are scenes of pool parties, shared drug “trips” and some intimate conversations in which you can feel (albeit a little blindly) the real bond between Priscilla and Elvis. However, it is sometimes captured in such a goofy form that it's like leafing through the diary of a nerdy teenager hurriedly trying to put her feelings on paper, even though she doesn't really have anything to write about. For this reason alone, it's difficult to become emotionally invested in Coppola's story.
This film wanders like Priscilla through Graceland
Of course, it is impossible not to sympathize with the loneliness and disappointment that accompanies the main character after her arrival in Memphis. Priscilla appears in Graceland only a few years after her meeting with Elvis, who – to put it not very elegant, but directly – taking advantage of the charm of the bachelor life on the stages and sets of Hollywood, “triggered” a candidate for his wife from a distance. .
When the future Mrs. Presley crosses the threshold of the opulent mansion, she does not yet know that she is meant to be just a character in a doll's house. Without having the right to vote even when it comes to her clothes, makeup or hairstyle. Any attempt at emancipation (even when Priscilla announces her willingness to work in a store) is met with her husband's categorical opposition.
The theme of the title character's enslavement in a gilded cage and her helplessness resonates naturally in Coppola's film. Not only is this a psychologically interesting case of a woman's toxic dependence on a man, but it's also a very bold attempt to demythologize Elvis himself.
But the problem with “Priscilla” is that the film starts wandering at some point. The story is like the same heroine, who wanders awkwardly and aimlessly around Graceland, and the film starts to get boring and even annoying as the same patterns repeat themselves. The most interesting thing happens… 10 minutes before the end credits, and the whole story ends in a moment that could start a movie about the Presley family relationship. Anyone who's seen one of the final scenes in “Elvis” will probably understand what I mean.
This is not an exit from the shadow, but an entry into the shadow
The surprisingly poor and superficial script means that the actors don't have much to do. Cailee Spaeny, who plays the main character, charms the camera with the sadness and helplessness on her face, but she has no chance (except perhaps in the last scene) to prove her talent and bring at least a little charisma and individuality to Priscilla. However, Jacob Elordi goes to great lengths to avoid being compared to Austin Butler (“Elvis”). Unlike its predecessor, it tries to distance itself a little from Presley, but in many places it verges on caricature and is simply not convincing in this version.
Priscilla's many shortcomings can of course be remedied with a beautiful visual overlay. Coppola, as usual, seduces the viewer with his ethereal and ethereal style of framing and storytelling. It seems as if it spreads the scent of perfume on the viewer involuntarily, but it evaporates very quickly. Aside from the gorgeous costumes, some beautiful shots, and an interesting starting point, everything in this film is excruciatingly ephemeral. Or simply unbearable, like the cover of “I'll Always Love You” at the end, which is perhaps the most musical ending possible.
If Priscilla was supposed to use the space that Baz Luhrmann did not use in Elvis, it simply failed. Unfortunately, Sofia Coppola's film is only an unofficial footnote to the previous film about Presley. The attempt to lift Priscilla from the shadow of her husband failed and did not equal what Pablo Larraín achieved in the movie “Jackie,” which brought back to life President Kennedy’s wife, who had been absent from sight for decades. The number of Elvis fans will not decrease after this film, nor will the number of Priscilla fans increase significantly. the current situation. Another movie about Presley could be made soon.
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