Priscilla | Review by: Luke Elisio
The biopic has always been a surefire way to ensure that actors and filmmakers alike win an Oscar. Occasionally it’s well-deserved but more often than not the award goes to those who deliver the same old clichés and tropes of these movies. The name of the game seems to be to exploit the figure the movie centres on all for the promise of a trophy. Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla,” however, is a revelation. Yes, there are familiar hallmarks of even the best of biopics, but this stunning movie is elevated into something much more gripping than the average biopic by commanding performances and sensational filmmaking. Coppola delivers a movie that feels far from generic Oscar-bait and truly has a heartbeat of humanity and sympathy beneath the glitzy surface.
A large part of what imbues this movie with said humanity are the lead performances by Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla Presley and Jacob Elordi as Elvis Presley. The movie hinges on Spaeny’s powerfully subtle performance, one that is sure to captivate from the minute the movie opens on her moving portrayal of the title character. Never before has the subject of a biopic been so tenderly explored. To watch Priscilla grow from a naive child to a woman with an unimaginable burden on her shoulders is mind-blowing. Just as mind-blowing is the sensational Elordi. Partly because of how much he physically resembles Elvis but also because he’s a fantastic actor who effortlessly captures the magnetism and charm that skyrocketed the singer to fame. Elordi masterfully disappears into the role to the point where you’ll easily forget that you’re watching an actor and not the actual King of Rock ’N Roll himself. His is the kind of performance that will have audiences excited for whatever project he takes on in the future. It would be a massive oversight if both Spaeny and Elordi weren’t nominated for Oscars come award season.
In terms of both direction and overall style, Coppola’s movie is beautiful to watch. The way she is able to tell Priscilla’s story and successfully convey the progression of the character through stylistic choices will have audiences enthralled. It’s a fascinating way to tell the story and move the plot along without having to hit audiences over the head with information or exposition. The legacy of Priscilla and Elvis’ relationship offers so much to explore and dissect but Coppola includes only the most poignant and revealing aspects of the famed pairing. “Priscilla” is a breaking emotional journey from the beginning to the triumphant ending. After watching this display of the heart-wrenching toll a demanding partner can have on a young girl, no one will ever look at Priscilla or Elvis the same way again. Certainly no on will look at Spaeny or Elordi the same way again. Hopefully we’ll be able to soon look at them as Oscar winners.
5 / 5 stars
Review by: Luke Elisio