How foolish I was to think this film would be full of Elvis Presley’s greatest hits.
Of course it isn’t. Director Sofia Coppola is too wise for that. Her “Priscilla” is about the title character, after all, and not Presley.
This movie shows the darker side of Priscilla’s relationship with Elvis. She was truly a child when they fell in love, and, as she grows up, we see how isolated she becomes through the rest of her teen years and beyond.
Priscilla (the wonderful Cailee Spaeny, “Mare of Easttown”) is sitting by herself in a diner when we first see her.
When she meets Elvis (Jacob Elordi, “Euphoria”) he’s surrounded by people. But he takes a liking to this quiet girl right away.
Elvis is always on the road to make a movie or perform somewhere. But he does call Priscilla when he travels, and he tells her to hold on and wait for him.
It isn’t easy for Priscilla, who ends up attending a private school where Elvis sends her. He grooms her at every turn, whether it’s dyeing her hair or selecting the perfect dress. He crafts her into precisely what he wants in a wife.
Priscilla tries hard to please Elvis, but she finds that he is a person of many moods – many of them, no doubt, fueled by the pills he takes.
He doesn’t want Priscilla to work, because he wants her available when he calls or comes home. When he buys her a puppy, that emphasizes that Priscilla, too, is a pet who must stay within the confines of Elvis’s world.
The film is based on Priscilla Presley’s book “Elvis and Me.” It’s linear look at their relationship from the moment the two meet to Priscilla’s inevitable decision at the end.
The performances are terrific, as is this screenplay, and they make this one of the best movies of the year.
Running time: One hour and 53 minutes.
Rated: R for foul language, sexual situations and drug abuse.
Watch the trailer here.