Original title:Priscilla
Director:Sofia Coppola
Running time:113 minutes
Release date:27 october 2023
When Priscilla met Elvis, she was a schoolgirl. He, at 24, was already a world star. From their secret romance to their iconic wedding, Sofia Coppola portrays Priscilla, a self-effacing teenager who slowly awakens from her fairy tale to take charge of her life.

Mulder's Review

Sofia Coppola, a virtuoso at capturing the delicate nuances of human relationships, invites audiences on a spellbinding journey through the twists and turns of celebrity, love and identity in her latest film, Priscilla. Inspired by Priscilla Presley's memoir Elvis and Me, Coppola masterfully navigates the life of Priscilla Beaulieu, played with exceptional depth by the immensely talented Cailee Spaeny. The film is a nuanced exploration of a young girl caught in the hypnotic orbit of the iconic Elvis Presley, played with Donquichottesque charm and dark complexity by Jacob Elordi.

The finesse of Sofia Coppola's direction is evident from the very first images of the film, where she skilfully establishes the atmosphere of a bygone era. Priscilla's journey unfolds through a dual perspective - her own story as protagonist, and a modern lens that provides contemporary insights. This narrative choice not only anchors the story in its historical context, but also serves as a poignant commentary on the enduring challenges of gender roles and power dynamics.

Costume choices, a hallmark of Sofia Coppola's storytelling, provide a subtle yet powerful language. Priscilla's transformation from a young girl wearing complicated costumes to a woman embracing models vehemently opposed by Elvis becomes a visual metaphor for her journey of self-discovery. The film delicately traces the evolution of Priscilla's identity, depicting her not only as Elvis's muse, but also as a woman confronted with society's expectations.

Cailee Spaeny's performance is nothing short of revelatory. Moving seamlessly from adolescence to adulthood, she captures the essence of Priscilla's complex emotions, portraying the character with vulnerability, strength and authenticity. Jacob Elordi, meanwhile, delivers an outstanding performance as Elvis, revealing a darker, more complicated side to the legendary rock'n'roll figure.

Philippe Le Sourd's cinematography envelops the audience in a visually stunning, dreamlike landscape. Sofia Coppola's signature anachronistic musical choices lend the film a timeless quality, bridging the gap between past and present. The deliberate pacing of the narrative allows the toxicity of Elvis' influence to unfold gradually, avoiding the pitfalls of a sensational biopic and instead offering a poignant portrait of a young woman's tragic marriage.

Beyond the central love story, Sofia Coppola's keen observation extends to the societal structures surrounding Elvis, highlighting the influence of controlling personalities such as Colonel Tom Parker. The film deftly navigates the power dynamics of the time, highlighting the restrictive roles of the men and women who shaped Priscilla and Elvis.

While Priscilla refrains from explicitly labeling Elvis as a groomer and Priscilla as a victim, it courageously explores the complexities of their relationship. Sofia Coppola's storytelling prowess lies in her ability to avoid binary narratives and opt for a more nuanced exploration of the human experience. This refusal of sensationalism allows the film to be an empathetic exploration of femininity, autonomy and the eternal struggle for self-discovery.

In Sofia Coppola's hands, Priscilla transcends the boundaries of a traditional biopic, transforming itself into a veritable delicate masterpiece that celebrates female autonomy while revealing the charms and shackles of love in a world where reality and fantasy intertwine. With its lush images, exceptional performances and profound storytelling, Priscilla consolidates Sofia Coppola's place as a gifted director, capable of creating narratives that resonate on both an emotional and intellectual level.

Written and directed by Sofia Coppola
Based on Elvis and Me by Priscilla Presley, Sandra Harmon
Produced by Sofia Coppola, Youree Henley, Lorenzo Mieli
Starring Cailee Spaeny, Jacob Elordi, Dagmara DomiƄczyk
Cinematography : Philippe Le Sourd
Edited by Sarah Flack
Music by Phoenix, Sons of Raphael
Production companies : American Zoetrope, The Apartment Pictures
Distributed by A24 (United States), ARP Selection (France)
Release dates : September 4, 2023 (Venice), October 27, 2023 (United States), January 3 2024 (France)
Running time : 113 minutes

Viewed on December 15, 2023 (VOD)

Mulder's Mark: