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‘Priscilla review’- was there really “Burning Love?”

Photo+courtesy+of+USA+Today.%0A
Photo courtesy of USA Today.

I sat down in the theater with my friends and our overpriced popcorn (obviously I snuck in my own snacks, but don’t tell AMC), and settled in for the hour and fifty-minute movie I had no expectations for.

I could rant to you about movie trailers, but that’s for another article. 

What movie was I seeing on this Friday night in November? I was seeing Priscilla. Frankly, I wasn’t that excited to see it. Not that I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t really know anything about it.

Now, I know as a journalist it’s my job to do my research, but I was just looking for a movie to see and this seemed like a good option.

The movie is about Priscilla Presley and it’s based on her book Elvis and Me which is about Priscilla and Elvis’ life from her perspective. While I haven’t read the book, I did do some internet diving to see how accurate the movie is to the book.

According to elle.com, “Priscilla makes a few deviations from Elvis and Me, and in so far as Priscilla’s personal account is to be believed, the film is an accurate depiction of the couple’s true story”.

But this is my review after all, so I want to give my own personal thoughts on the movie and what I thought of it in regard to the acting, sets, clothes, and my overall vibe I got from the movie overall. Yes, vibes are a key factor here.

I would describe the opening scene as peak girlhood, the excitement of getting ready in your room, like when we see Priscilla, slipping on a pair of white heels with feathers on them. 

As an unapologetically proud teenage girl myself, I could relate to this scene of doing your hair or getting dressed and doing all the things to look your best. Although my room is not this fancy (or neat, I have major laundry to catch up on), I thought it was a good opener to set the period to show that she was just a teenager when she met Elvis.     

Now, I am not a fashion expert when it comes to the 60s, but the outfits worn by Cailee Spaeny, who plays Priscilla, seemed like they were 60s inspired but still seemed to have a modern twist. 

Like this black choker Spaeny wears at the beginning of the movie with a high volume side ponytail felt very 60s Pinterest inspired, not actually taken from the 60s. I think fashion plays a big role in movies that are set in a different period because you are supposed to feel like you are actually in that period and not just watching a recreation of it.

This might just be my ADHD and hyper-fixations on whatever my brain deems worthy of focusing on, but I felt like the fashion in the entirety of the movie was too modern.

Let’s talk about Elvis and Priscilla’s first time they met, oy vey. It doesn’t take more than a quick Google search to know that when Priscilla met Elvis she was fourteen and he was twenty-four. This is extremely illegal and it even surprised Elvis, as seen in the movie when he asks her if she’s in eleventh or twelfth grade and she says ninth.

This definitely set off some alarms in my head, but apparently not in Elvis’. My friends and I all looked at each other in the theater with that ‘call Chris Hansen’ look.

I felt like the development of the relationship between the two of them was kind of rushed, but it made sense for the plot since the life of Elvis was so fast-paced. I would have liked to see them actually get to know each other on a more personal level though.

I think that Elvis was good to Priscilla in the beginning when he promised her dad he would take care of her, but it just went downhill from there. It seemed like Priscilla was pushing so hard to make Elvis happy and he kept taking that for granted.

 She changed her entire life by moving to Tennessee to live with Elvis when her dad was stationed in the military in Germany, which is a huge move, especially for a teenager to manage by themself. Elvis didn’t even seem excited and was basically like ‘I’m leaving to do another movie, peace out’. 

Throughout the course of the movie, Elvis became very unlikeable to me and I wanted to throw a chair at him, like he did to Priscilla. She was just a teenage girl (which is hard enough as is) and he wanted to change her appearance and her personality.

 Priscilla’s character development came more towards the middle of the movie once she was more grown up and was over all of Elvis’s nonsense. Such as how he’s being controlling over what she wears and she tells him she likes how she looks and ignores what he has to say.

 This may seem like a small victory, but Jacob Elordi, who was playing Elvis, did a fantastic job at making me want to shake him and tell him to just stop talking.

The film did a good job of using clothing and setting to portray the couple growing up and growing apart.

 When they were younger, they went on dates like teenagers like going to the movies and exchanging cute Christmas gifts (no, buying someone Starbucks with the gift card you got for your birthday is not a good date idea). 

I liked this version of the couple better because they were actually having fun and just falling in love, but the film used their bedroom in the Graceland house to show that they were growing up and possibly growing apart. 

There’s a montage of the Presleys sitting in their room for what seems like weeks where meals are brought to them, taken away and the cycle continues.

To me, it showed them slowing down from that young teen life and just spending time with one another. While this kind of brought them closer, it seemed like they were also growing sick of each other. 

Ok, so fast forward in the movie a little, they get married and she gets pregnant. I saw her getting pregnant as maybe them being able to reconnect and settle down, but Mr. Sassy Pants Presley had other plans in mind!

Priscilla was such a good mom, though  She was always there for her daughter, Lisa Marie, and I really enjoyed the scenes of them together.

In the end, Priscilla has had enough and decides to leave Elvis and pursue her own life. Finally, I know. But she leaves the house in Graceland and drives away and then the movie is over. 

The ending caught me off guard because I thought something else would happen. Like maybe about how she is doing now in life or any accomplishments that she made, but I think the ending made sense for the plot.

So, final thoughts. I thought this movie was good at telling the story from Priscilla’s perspective. I thought the casting was done very well and the sets were well done. The clothing choices maybe could have used some more research, but overall I enjoyed this movie and would recommend watching it.

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About the Contributor
Sarah Matzkin, News Reporter
My name is Sarah Matzkin and I’m a senior. This is my first year on staff as a news reporter but I also like helping out with KTV live broadcasts. At Prospect I am involved with theater as well as Knights Way. Outside of school I coach cheerleading and love to listen to music (I’m a huge swifte). One fun fact about me is I have a twin brother!

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    Phyllis WittNov 29, 2023 at 1:41 am

    Sarah Matzkin seems ro be an excellent journalist with a very comprehensive movie review. She should continue in this interesting field.

    Reply