Who isn’t curious about the mystifying life of Priscilla Presley?

In “Priscilla,” Sofia Coppola’s devastatingly beautiful latest film, she tells the story of the famous woman behind the one and only Elvis Presley. In doing so, she explores the cruel isolation and feeling of being walled off from the world that fame can bring. The movie, based on Priscilla Presley’s 1985 memoir, “Elvis and Me: The True Story of the Love Between Priscilla Presley and the King of Rock N’ Roll” considers the perspective of the woman Elvis married when he was already one of the biggest singers on the planet.

The movie starts from the beginning of the relationship between the two, with them meeting at an army base in Germany. They had a relationship throughout Elvis’ years serving the army. Priscilla, played by Cailee Spaeny, was only 14 and still attending high school, while Elvis, played by Jacob Elordi, was a whopping 24. The film puts you in the shoes of young Priscilla being summoned to talk and hang out with the most famous man, creating this power dynamic.

From the start, it’s clear that Elvis has reigned over their relationship. He dictates when she comes and when she goes, but there is an emphasis on him never forcing her into anything. When he kisses her it’s mutual, and she falls more in love every time they meet. Coppola wrote and directed the movie, sticking to the swooning perspective of Priscilla, since she was so young and in love at the time.

As their relationship grows, so does the dynamic and isolation. Coppola makes it known that for Priscilla, living and being with Elvis means also being with his entourage. They are rarely ever alone, but that doesn’t take away from the isolation that Priscilla feels because when she is alone. She is fully alone with no one. The power dynamic can be seen with Elvis swaying Priscilla to become an addict, and even on occasion being physically violent with her. The film makes it known that while he never hits her, he does throw a chair at her head, which only narrowly misses. The second he does this he runs apologizing to her and Priscilla forgives him immediately because of this power he has over her.

Spaeny perfectly embodies Priscilla. The film illustrates her innocence and willingness to do anything for Elvis and her loneliness in being his wife. Spaeny’s ability to seem simultaneously in love and alone carries an impact that stays even after the film. She shows what deep, young, brutal love can do to someone in a toxic relationship. Spaeny makes you see the reasons that Priscilla stayed in the relationship for so long.

Elordi once again proves that he is an astounding actor. Without any faults, he executed the complex person that Elvis Presley was. Despite not being the star of this movie, he has the audience rooting and falling in love with him even with all his bad qualities. Elordi demonstrates the angry, tortured and addicted side of Presley just enough to show the toxicity that his relationship was with Priscilla, without making Elvis the “bad guy.” The thing that made Elvis so enticing as a person was his fun, charming side that made all the bad qualities disappear — something Elordi portrays perfectly.

The chemistry between Elordi and Spaeny is palpable and makes you understand why they were such a famous couple. It also works to show the power dynamic between the two, with Elordi towering over Spaeny, looking down on her. The duality of the actors makes you question whether their relationship was true love or just toxic love.

One of the most noticeable things about this film is the music. One may expect it to be packed to the brim with Elvis songs, but there is in fact not a single song by Elvis in the movie. This constraint helps to clarify the perspective of the movie and who the star of the movie really is. It also allows the behavior of Elvis to take center stage without his talents being shown. One of the biggest things leaving his music out does, though, is allow Priscilla to be seen as a person without Elvis by her side. It makes her known as more than just the King’s wife.

Overall, this movie leaves the audience rethinking their views on love, relationships, fame and the famous couple themselves. The film achieved making neither Elvis nor Priscilla the monster in the relationship but rather fame and what it does to people. The inevitability of Priscilla leaving is in the air throughout the film, but the exact moment she knows when to leave stands out and wraps the film up perfectly. This movie, though having notes of a love story, is overall the story of the one and only Priscilla.

Rating: 5/5 Stars