The drama “Priscilla” shares the story of the iconic couple’s, Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley, relationship through the perspective of Priscilla. The film has a young, romantic feel to it, while also capturing all of the moments Priscilla had to evolve into a mature woman while still a girl, and all of the discomfort that came with it.
Before watching the movie I was unaware of the age gap between the two, as well as how old Priscilla was when she met Elvis. Crunching on popcorn in the theater, I was taken aback when I realized their romance had started when she was 14 and he was 24.
The characters bearing witness to their relationship seemed to engage in light gossip about how young she looked, but beyond the commentary, her age doesn’t seem to cause any major roadblocks in the progression of their relationship. Aside from still being in high school and needing to graduate, her age is overlooked.
When their relationship was in its infancy Priscilla’s mother frustratingly expresses confusion for why Elvis can’t just pursue a partner his own age. Similar to her mother’s perspective, viewers can see the way the growing relationship is consuming Priscilla’s energy and negatively impacting her. This experience worsens for Priscilla when Elvis leaves Germany to tend to his military duties and further his music career.
While time is going by, Priscilla is stuck longing for Elvis. A couple of years go by before she hears from him. After hoping for contact, he offers her what she’s been waiting for. He invites her to his home in Memphis, Tennessee to come spend time with him. She happily accepts.
Watching the scenes of her timidly navigating their experiences together was saddening to watch. She looked so young and out of place in a lot of the settings she was in. Priscilla seemed interested in trying to present herself as older than she was.
I appreciated the inclusion of that aspect of her transition from her school-girl home life to her dating someone famous, who’s always in the public eye. It’s relatable to depict a young girl trying to fit in to the societal expectations she’s supposed to adopt, but the film does this while also providing the unique experience of going through this aspect of girlhood while dating someone who has access to all kinds of resources and is sought after by tons of women.
Not too long after her trip, she’s living with Elvis. Her parents are conflicted with allowing her to do this and her father comes down to Memphis to give her his goodbye hug. She’s still in high school at the time.
If it isn’t clear early on in the movie, Elvis inevitably becomes her life. She’s not allowed to invite anyone from school over to the house, and she doesn’t know anyone or have any friends she can spend time with. Of course Elvis is a busy man, so in a lot of scenes during the early stages of her living in his home, she’s sitting on different couches, trying to study, painting her nails, or playing with the dog Elvis gifted her. While this part of the film is slow-paced, it’s necessary in order to convey Priscilla’s loneliness, and the fact that throughout the whole movie they’ve lived separate lives.
Elvis decided on her look and told her when a dress simply didn’t suit her. He didn’t respond well when she challenged him in any way. Their relationship didn’t seem fulfilling for Priscilla. It was glamorous, exciting and fun. However, at the end of the movie she finally chooses to pour into her own life and happiness.
Growing up meant wanting warmth, affectionand shared experiences in a relationship. Ultimately, after marrying Elvis and having children with him, she left the home she arrived at as a teenager to invest in self discovery. My favorite part of the movie – Priscilla behind the wheel driving past the gate and watching Elvis’ fans trying to peer in.
Her story was just getting started.