Sofia Coppola’s provocative drama is a cautionary tale about fame | Films | Entertainment

There are two sides to every love story. In 2022, Moulin Rouge’s circus ringmaster Baz Luhrmann left audiences all shook up with his boisterous biopic of Elvis Presley. Lost In Translation writer-director Sofia Coppola counters with the provocative drama Priscilla.

Glimpsed through 21st-century eyes, Elvis and Priscilla’s courtship, aged 24 and 14, is at first sight unsettling. Suspicious minds will find evidence in Coppola’s film of manipulation and grooming from the moment the pair first kiss and he pulls away, whispering: “It’s time for you to go home, little one.”

Discomfort is magnified by a pronounced 41cm height difference between lead stars Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi, making her seem doll-like and easily coerced.

Adapted from the memoir Elvis And Me, Coppola’s picture is a cautionary tale about the allure of celebrity, glimpsed through Priscilla’s heavily mascaraed eyes. The script doesn’t depict the young bride as a saint – she is complicit in her corruption and locks herself in a lavishly furnished cage at Graceland while Elvis tours.

Spaeny is mesmerising, elegantly navigating an obstacle-strewn path from adolescence to womanhood via prescription medication, abuse and psychological torment.

Elordi’s Elvis is less eye-catching than Austin Butler’s but he paints with darker hues, enacting violent outbursts and attempted sexual assault. Here he’s a charming devil in disguise.

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