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Shining a light on Hingham news

The Harborlight

Shining a light on Hingham news

The Harborlight

Sophia Coppola’s film explores Priscilla Presley’s POV

Sophia Coppola’s film explores Priscilla Presleys POV

On October 27, film studio A24 released its newest film Priscilla, which chronicles the struggles of Elvis Presley’s wife during his tumultuous career. After the worldwide success of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, Coppola took a turn portraying the Presleys’ intense romance. 

One aspect that separated Coppola’s film from Luhrmann’s was the focus on Priscilla Presley rather than Elvis. In Luhrmann’s biopic, Priscilla only appears for ten minutes throughout the two-hour movie, highlighting how unimportant Priscilla was made to feel during her relationship with Elvis. The film emphasizes how Elvis put Priscilla down in their marriage. Elvis kicked her out of Graceland whenever he was mad, and Priscilla was not allowed to get a job because she was expected to be there for Elvis 24/7. Overall, the film creates a tense atmosphere, where the audience can feel the stillness of Priscilla’s life with her. Many scenes depict Priscilla in an empty Graceland while Elvis makes movies in Hollywood. 

The most crucial aspect the film emphasizes is how young Priscilla is during their marriage. Meeting when Elvis was 24 and Priscilla was 14, the film is filled with moments to remind the audience just how juvenile Priscilla truly is. It is not until over halfway through the film that Priscilla graduates high school. This significant detail is juxtaposed with all the adult situations Priscilla is shown to be placed in beforehand.

Senior Elise Eichner noted while watching how she felt, “Priscilla was meant to act Elvis’ age, not her own” -a sentiment that the film works to highlight. Elvis’ expectations of Priscilla materialize in how he expects her to dress. Showing a young Priscilla Presley with full hair and makeup in high school contrasts her age and Elvis’ expectations of her. Although she is young, she has already taken on the role of a homemaker. 

As the film progresses, we follow Priscilla as she and Elvis’ lives diverge. She was quickly sent back to Graceland in Tennessee whenever Priscilla visited Elvis in Hollywood, a key detail Luhrmann’s film kept out. As Priscilla learned, her husband did not want her but only saw her as a commodity, so she took their daughter Lisa Marie and started her own life. 

The film’s final shot is Priscilla driving out of Graceland after she tells Elvis she is getting a divorce, a powerful image of Priscilla fully gaining back her autonomy. Senior Hazel Orth commented on the feminist ideology of the film with the idea that “it is important women’s version of history is told to combat the centuries of silence they have been forced into.” 

Although Sophia Coppola’s new film is not the most action-packed movie to hit the theaters this year, it is crucial in rewriting the history of pop culture to include the women who have been forgotten. Priscilla’s story is one of perseverance and realization, something many women can relate to.

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