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‘I happen to be really fond of your daughter’

‘Priscilla’ delves into the relationship between Elvis and Priscilla Beaulieu Presley

“Priscilla” really was not anything I expected it to be. Going into it I thought it was going to be more Elvis-centered, but he was simply a secondary character. However, Jacob Elordi’s performance did add a required statement to the story line.

The movie is a rewrite of Priscilla Presley’s biography “Elvis and Me” from 1985 in which she describes the burning passion of their love from the moment the flame was lit to the moment it burnt out. Elvis started courting Priscilla when she was just 14 years old. Met with resistance from her parents, Priscilla started to rebel. The two then got married when she was 21 years old, and had their first child not long after. All of these are things many people are aware of. In contrast, this movie goes into the most intimate and crushing moments of their lives as Priscilla grows up, and Elvis grows in fame.

The movie begins with Priscilla Beaulieu (Cailee Spaeny) putting on fake eyelashes and doing her eyeliner, an important repeating scene. The official opening scene is on the US Air Force Base in West Germany where Priscilla is hanging out at the “Eagle Club”, a small café on base. She is approached by a man named Terry West (Luke Humphrey) who introduces himself and asks “Do you like Elvis Presley?” As Priscilla gets home she struggles to convince her parents that she should be allowed to go and that it will be safe. One of her points is that there will be a few other people and the Wests will watch over her, but as she arrives, there are more people than expected.

The party progresses and Elvis takes further interest in Priscilla, asking many questions, but the most monumental being whether she was a junior or senior in high school. The shift in tone as she states that she is in ninth grade is palpable. In this scene we also get Elvis’ one and only performance for the movie.

After arguing with her parents, once again, she convinces them to let her go to Elvis’ again. In this scene is where we get the first real sentimental moment between Elvis and Priscilla in which Elvis states, “I thought they might’ve forgotten about me.” This quote is in reference to the fact that he was drafted to Germany and was worried he might not have his career when he got back. We also learn that a lot of the reason he was drawn to Priscilla was because she was the only girl there, that was not his family or married, from the states. Them both being extremely homesick formed their bond and ultimately led to their legacy. Another point is that Elvis recently lost his mother and his father had already moved on. His talks about his grief and buying Graceland for her are a big factor in what drew Priscilla in to see him as a real human instead of some famous rock star.

As Priscilla’s parents struggle with the idea of her going out so much and potentially falling behind in school, her father decides that in order to keep going out, Elvis needs to meet him and pick her up himself. This leads to the tense conversation of, “What is the intent here Mr. Presley?” in which he responds with “I happen to be very fond of your daughter.” He also goes on to explain how mature she is for her age. The mention of her age, once again, brings the hallmark-like moment back to reality of how weird it really was for Elvis to be pursuing Priscilla.

As Elvis leaves for the states, Priscilla struggles with the idea of not seeing him for a while. Years later, after full no contact, Elvis finally calls her and decides he wants her to visit him in Memphis. This is where the public story starts. Priscilla moves in with Elvis at Graceland, starts going to a Catholic school, and changes who she is for him. A turning point is when she wants to join him on tour and he refuses, telling her to “keep the home fires burning” in which she replies with, “The flame’s burning low. Someone better get home to start the fire.” One of the most shocking moments is when he tells her that she can either have a career or be with him. He restated this in a moment where she was frustrated with being ignored and he says, “Cilla, this is never going to work if you don’t share my interests and philosophies.” Along the way, Priscilla yearning for attention and Elvis having many, very public, affairs is a common theme. And yet, they stay together and even get married. They have their first child, Lisa Marie Presley and eventually their love does, indeed, fizzle out. 

One of my favorite details about this movie is how personal it is. With Priscilla (the real one) being a part of the whole process and giving her approval, it makes the movie so much more authentic. Cailee Spaeny actually sat down with Priscilla to ask questions about her life, but she talked about how she did not want it to feel like she was interviewing her so they mostly just talked about anything and everything.

One of the most outstanding performances was Jacob Elordi’s acting as Elvis and how he strove to exude the confidence needed to be authentic. He stated in an interview that to get the accent down he listened to pretty much every recorded word Elvis has ever spoken. He also said that he cut open his knuckles in the one performance scene on the piano at the beginning of the movie. Overall, the production by the well-known Sofia Coppola is spectacular and her soundtrack choice is phenomenal.

The ending of the movie is a scene described by Spaeny as one of the most emotional. It is the scene where Priscilla drives off after the statement, “If I stay, I’ll never leave” and then the song “I Will Always Love You,” Dolly Parton’s version, plays in which is significant as Elvis sang it to Priscilla as they left the court once divorced. I would recommend this movie to anyone mature enough to recognize that there is more than one side to a story and that their lives were real. Priscilla is still alive, and Elvis’ legacy lives on.


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About the Contributor
Amber Straub
Amber Straub, Reporter
Amber Straub is a senior and first year Beaver Tales staff member. She enjoys writing small works, reading, art, and music. She has three older dogs and five cats total (two of those being rescue kittens). She is also a current member of the Corry Key Club and enjoys helping with volunteer work in her free time.