‘Priscilla’ Shows the Shady Side of Elvis Presley That Austin Butler’s Film Hid

After seeing the life of Elvis Presley adapted to film by Austin Butler and the director of Moulin Rouge, in 2024 it’s time to discover it from a new perspective. Director Sofía Coppola , responsible for Lost in Translation , The Virgin Suicides or The Seduction , brings us the vision of Priscilla Presley , the actress, businesswoman and wife of the singer whose experience with the King of Rock was far from what the acclaimed film showed us 2022. The film, titled Priscilla , adapts the autobiographical book of this media figure, which gives room to explore more lights and shadows of their romantic relationship and data that are usually overlooked in Hollywood biopics, mostly focused on the enjoyment of Big audience.

Anyone who saw Elvis and was informed about the American artist will surely agree, because when addressing his relationship with Priscilla, essential details to understand his romantic life were ignored . Due to the many aspects of his career, it was impossible for the film to tell absolutely everything, so the focus was on how the entertainment industry, represented through the vileness of his manager, ended up consuming the one who was one of the greatest artists on Earth, which in itself was enough for almost three hours of footage.

For this reason, surely no one will be bothered excessively by the inaccuracies or gaps in the plot, but, just in case, Sofia Coppola, with a cast led by the young actress Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi as the famous couple, arrives to remedy the situation. delving into the darkest and murky recesses of this story, especially the shocking fact that Elvis began dating Priscilla when she was a teenager.

And the film by Austin Butler and Baz Luhrmann, although it did show some tortuous passages in its final bars, completely ignored that Priscilla was only 14 years old when she began her meetings with Elvis, who was 10 years older . They largely chose to romanticize the beginnings of her relationship, when reality, based on her writings, was full of chiaroscuros.

“My parents told me I shouldn’t date Elvis, that I was too young, which was true. My mother felt it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and besides, she wasn’t hurting me. Finally she convinced my father to give me his consent,” she said in her book Elvis & Me , recognizing how wrong this decision was and that the temptation to enter that world of luxury and fame, in which she soon found herself trapped, , led her parents to change their minds and expose her to excessive things for someone who was barely approaching adolescence.

Coppola’s film, making use of the filmmaker’s usual pop aesthetics and sweetened tone, reflects this feeling perfectly. It presents us with a tempting and irresistible universe to turn it into a nightmare when it hits harsh reality, leaving us with a film of captivating beauty in cinematography that is at the same time oppressive and psychological in conceptual terms. A truly crude analysis that has even raised harsh criticism from those around the singer.

Elvis’ family against ‘Priscilla’ For example, Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis and Priscilla who died in January 2023, sent an email (reported by Variety ) to the director criticizing that her father “only appears as a predator and a manipulator,” believing that the film It is not at all close to reality. “After reading the script, I see an outrageously vindictive and contemptuous perspective, but I don’t understand why,” she wrote after reading the script in September 2022, before the film was completed.

When telling the story from a single perspective, as in this case that of Priscilla Presley, it is not uncommon for the vision to be distorted with respect to the memory that other people may have and even distance themselves from reality. However, Sofía Coppola’s film, despite being based on Priscilla’s memoirs and having her as executive producer, does not ignore this problem and overcomes it in the best possible way.

Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla Presley in ‘Priscilla’ by Sofía Coppola (Photo: A24) Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla Presley in ‘Priscilla’ by Sofía Coppola (Photo: A24) To a large extent, Priscilla is committed to containment through the interpretive work of its protagonists, an overwhelming Cailee Spaeny whose reflection of Priscilla’s innocence earned her victory at the Venice Festival and an enigmatic Jacob Elordi who builds a full Elvis of nuances from total simplicity. With mere looks, gestures or phrases that expose levels of emotional manipulation and imposition of violence, the turbidity of the situation is alluded to, but without condemning anything with explicit speeches.

We glimpse an artist without morals absorbed by that world of vices and fame, who would have turned Priscilla into a doll designed at his whim while he wandered around Hollywood with lovers and affairs while weaving the relationship to satisfy his own needs, although also It is alluded to that he did not even consider having a sexual relationship with his partner until he reached the age of majority. A perfect cinematographic game to reflect stories of media morbidity , leaving all the pieces in the air so that the viewer can draw their own conclusions without the film entering muddy terrain.

Without a doubt, I think Sofia Coppola comes out on top and delivers a film that, in my opinion, is much more complete in content and cinematographic approach than Austin Butler’s Elvis . While the former did not even consider mentioning these murky details about the singer’s relationship with Priscilla Presley, this one, through an innocent and absorbing female gaze that turns the dreamy into a psychological nightmare, risks and offers a much juicier and more impressive product than , for all the aspects it manages to address with a very dark and media-heavy topic, it will not leave anyone indifferent.

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