“Priscilla”: the inspiring story of Priscilla Presley

The poster for Priscilla starring Jacob Elordi and Cailee Spaeny
The poster for “Priscilla” starring Jacob Elordi and Cailee Spaeny
Rose Costello

On October 27, 2023, Sofia Coppola’s highly anticipated film Priscilla, the story of Priscilla Presley, was released.

The film is based on the book “Elvis and Me” written by Priscilla Presley, which tells the story of how her life changed at fourteen years old when she met her husband, Elvis Presley. Being the significant other of one of the biggest stars in the world at the time was a huge responsibility, and Priscilla spared no detail when sharing the triumphs and tragedies of that role, as Coppola highlighted in the film.

The film starts with Priscilla living in a military base in Germany when she was just a freshman in high school, as her father was serving there at the time. Elvis was also in the military at the time, and the two met at a party through a mutual friend. From there, the viewers see how Elvis completely changed Priscilla’s life.

From early on in their relationship, Priscilla’s life completely revolved around Elvis. From the clothes she wore to the people she spent all her time with, Priscilla became a completely different woman than the girl she left behind on the military base. Though her life seemed perfect to the public, there was a completely different narrative occuring behind closed doors. Priscilla was expected to be perfect outside and inside the doors of Graceland, and playing this role came with a price.

Cailee Spaeny, a twenty-five-year-old actress, played the leading role of Priscilla Presley and did so remarkably. The movie follows Priscilla through multiple stages of her life, from her teenage years, to her pregnancy, to adulthood. Spaeny was sure to capture all of these stages beautifully, as viewers can see Priscilla mature throughout the film and get to a place where she could finally take back her life.

Spaeny remarks, “I think what we were trying to do [with the movie] is put a human story that is nuanced and complicated on screen.”

Spaeny worked alongside actor Jacob Elordi, who played Elvis. Elordi was sure to perfect all of Elvis’ mannerisms and his famous accent, playing ‘the King’ with the same confidence and power he always displayed to the world. Together, Spaeny and Elordi portray Elvis and Priscilla’s relationship with the beautiful moments the world remembers and the dark parts that were not revealed until much later.

“I loved the film and found Priscilla’s story really tragic but hopeful for others in similar situations,” says Abby Medina ‘24.

Lisa Marie, Elvis and Priscilla’s only daughter, begged the producers not to release the film before her unfortunate passing in January 2023. The film painted Elvis in a way that was different from the father she grew up with, and did not want the public to have this perception of him.

Though the film highlighted Elvis’ darker moments and his unfair treatment towards his wife at times, this story was not supposed to be about him. Instead, it was made to highlight Priscilla’s struggles and what she overcame to be able to stick up for herself. Priscilla was known as a princess to the public, but this title did not make her life as luxurious as it might have seemed. Priscilla Presley was a loyal and extremely brave woman, as portrayed through Spaeny’s epic performance in the film.

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