© MUBI Deutschland / DCM Film Distribution GmbH

Italy/U.S.A. 2023

Opening 4 Jan 2024

Directed by: Sofia Coppola
Writing credits: Priscilla Presley, Sandra Harmon, Sofia Coppola
Principal actors: Cailee Spaeny, Jacob Elordi, Ari Cohen, Dagmara Dominczyk, Tim Post

Priscilla is a docudrama or biopic, which means that actors play roles representing the true stories of real people. Here Caillee Spaeny takes on the role of Priscilla Presley, the wife of Elvis Presley, played by Jacob Elordi. Elvis was stationed in a U.S. Air Force base in Germany at age twenty-four, where he met Priscilla, ten years his junior. After two years of seeing each other, he returned to Memphis, Tennessee, USA, thinking that his life would continue without her. But it didn’t. She follows Elvis to Graceland, where she attends an all-girls Catholic high school. They marry in 1967 when Priscilla comes of age; their daughter, Lisa Marie, is born February 1, 1968. Priscilla always seems to be much smarter than husband Elvis, so that their divorce, six years later, is not surprising. Now Priscilla can concentrate on her own life.

Priscilla’s book Elvis and Me appeared in 1985 and is the basis for this film by director Sofia Coppola. Naturally, music plays a major role. I counted forty-five songs, including well-known ones from Elvis’s career such as “Heartbreak Hotel.” However, not a single song is an original Elvis recording. Priscilla, now age seventy-eight, supported the film as executive producer. It must have been sorrowful to “re-live” some past experiences, e.g., Elvis died in 1977 and her daughter Lisa Marie in January 2023. Filmed in Toronto, Canada, Priscilla premiered at the 2023 Venice Film Festival and then appeared at the 2023 Filmfest Hamburg. One must see and enjoy the film, first because Caillee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi are excellent and second because the Elvis/Priscilla era is a firm part of our history. (Becky Tan)

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