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  • Writer's pictureTierney Deanne

Priscilla



Sofia Coppola wrote and directed this true story about the tumultuous relationship between Priscilla and Elvis Presley. While Coppola receives all of the credit, it was really Priscilla herself telling the story. Priscilla wrote a book titled "Elvis and Me" which is what had inspired this film. This movie brings the words of the book to life, it feels as though live action has simply jumped off of the page. As is with any film portraying written work, there are parts cut out. Of course, it couldn't be a four hour long film. I do find Coppola's ability to maintain the original mood of the novel honorable.


It is glaringly obvious that, as uncomfortable as it may be to an outsider, the love between these two was deep and meaningful. Even once they separated they remained loving friends. To this day, Priscilla does her best to support her ex-husband's legacy in a loving way. The portrayal of Elvis in the book and this movie may not always paint him in the best light, but it isn't in detest that she tells this story, rather in truth.


Elvis was truly a broken man. He never quite grew up on an intellectual level. He was always surrounded by his group of friends, doing wild stunts just to have a little fun. He never needed to worry about typical adult responsibilities as he had so many people working for him to take care of things. He never knew what to do, how to find real happiness. He had all the girls, money, and objects he could ever desire but he was still often depressed. He was never satisfied in his work or his relationships. Instead of being proud of his accomplishments he often looked to others for a sense of achievement in their admiration of him.


Elvis himself was a puppet for his manager, the Colonel. So it is fitting that he wanted a puppet of his own in order to have some sort of control. Elvis chose Priscilla as a sweet innocent child and formed her into his perfect doll. He would pick out her clothes, told her how to do her makeup, and even made her dye her hair. He obviously knew what he was doing as he had limits that he set for himself with her. But, he would also break boundaries with her like giving her drugs and taking her to Las Vegas while she was still underage.


I think one of the most uncomfortable parts of the story is knowing that Elvis' father had to get temporary guardianship of Priscilla in order for her to be brought to Elvis at Graceland from Germany. In my opinion it is almost as though she is just another of his many purchases, his daddy gets the title and he gets to play with the toy. This isn't the only time that Elvis treats Priscilla as less than human. He would basically keep her hidden away at his mansion with her only duty to be at his beck and call. He wouldn't let her have friends from school or attend any other after school activity because she needed to be there for him whenever he needed her. Elvis however did not return the same favor to Priscilla. She was often alone and bored and would go days without hearing from him. Meanwhile she would read tabloids and newspapers about all of his affairs while he was away from her.


I do believe that Elvis truly loved Priscilla, however he loved himself more. He was afraid of the responsibility that came with their relationship. He enjoyed the time she spent with him keeping him occupied and happy when they were locked away in his room for days. When things got more serious he would push away. He tried to kick her out while she was pregnant but then immediately changed his mind. He was clearly conflicted internally about what it was that he really wanted. Elvis refused to make love to Priscilla after she had given birth. This drove Priscilla to the brink of their relationship as she was tired of doing everything for Elvis just so he would ignore her.


Dolly Parton sings "I will Always Love You" over the end credits. This was a beautiful send off to the tempestuous tale of the love between Priscilla and Elvis.

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