February 29, 2024

Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla isn’t a film for Elvis Presley followers. It’s barely a film for followers who like Priscilla Presley. It’s basically a film for Sofia Coppola followers.

There are historic inaccuracies and artistic liberties up the wazoo, and never even a single Elvis tune to be discovered on the soundtrack. Individuals who had been within the new historic drama outdoors of Coppola followers had been anticipating to see the King of Rock & Roll uncovered as a predator for the way unethical his relationship started together with his ex-wife.

The image casually touches that side of their historical past about as a lot as Doolittle and Loretta Lynn’s marriage is portrayed in Michael Apted’s Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980). Priscilla is the antithesis of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis (2022) from simply 15 months in the past, in each good and unhealthy methods.

Fairly than painting the First Woman of Rock & Roll as sassy and free-spirited like Olivia DeJonge in Luhrmann’s function, 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu (Cailee Spaeny) is launched in Coppola’s image as a bored wallflower who’s caught in West Germany whereas her stepfather Paul (Ari Cohen) is stationed there as an Air Drive Officer in 1959. However virtually immediately issues seem to fall into place for Priscilla.

She’s invited to a home social gathering that 24-year-old famous person Elvis Presley (Jacob Elrodi) is attending whereas drafted into army service, then requested out by the rockstar, and finally invited to dwell at his property Graceland again in Memphis by the point she’s 17. In between homework, events, photograph shoots and dates, we see that not all is ideal whereas relationship and being married to the largest star on the planet.

Dagmara Dominczyk seems as Priscilla’s involved mom. Satirically, Coppola’s newest launch jogged my memory of Andrew Dominik’s maligned Blonde (2022) from final yr, although from a feminine lens fairly than a male’s. The previous Mrs. Presley is in sufferer mode for the complete runtime, with no different motive or temper to be seen.

A lot of the eye earlier than the brand new movie was launched was on the ridiculous peak distinction between Spaeny and Elrodi [Spaeny is three inches shorter than the real Priscilla at 5’1”, while Elrodi is six inches taller than Elvis at 6’5”], in addition to 24-year-old Spaeny’s plausible child face. It’s unimaginable to disregard the age distinction and so doesn’t allow us to overlook how inappropriate the couple are throughout their courtship.

Whereas the tone works for the primary hour of the movie, the second half ought to have us see some development in each Priscilla’s maturity and the dynamic between the pair. As a substitute, we meander for varied scenes of the ingenue going together with the rock spouse life and accepting that her husband cheats and neglects her recurrently. By the point she’s 27 and realizes being married to a well-known musician may not be price it, we’ve already reached the top credit.

That is amusing if Priscilla’s historical past past Elvis, as she has each a powerful and questionable grownup life after the divorce that’s not touched upon in any respect within the film.  Together with the truth that large intervals of time are glossed over all through the movie (corresponding to Elvis initially desirous to suggest to co-star Ann-Margret earlier than Priscilla, or each spouses having extramarital affairs], we’re left questioning if Priscilla may need been stronger if the characters had been fictional and loosely primarily based on actual celebrities.

What does work within the movie is all from Coppola. The indie filmmaker’s films are recognized for his or her distinctly female vibes and there are many them right here, particularly in the course of the scenes the place Priscilla is by herself. Every thing followers appreciated about The Virgin Suicides (1999), Misplaced in Translation (2003) and Marie Antoinette (2006) will be present in Priscilla, with some eye sweet cinematography, artwork path and an amazing soundtrack choice that features the Ronettes, Dolly Parton, Spectrum and Santana.

In an period the place we’re getting swarmed with fast, straight-to-streaming films with barely an inventive contact, it’s good to be reminded an auteur’s signature directing fashion. Relying on who you’re a fan of, Priscilla could or will not be for you.