1. Home
  2. entertainment
  3. news
  4. How 'Priscilla' addresses Elvis and Priscilla Presley's controversial age gap

How 'Priscilla' addresses Elvis and Priscilla Presley's controversial age gap

Olivia Singh   

How 'Priscilla' addresses Elvis and Priscilla Presley's controversial age gap
  • "Priscilla" stars Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla Presley and Jacob Elordi as Elvis Presley.
  • Priscilla was 14 and Elvis was 24 when they met in Germany in 1959.

Sofia Coppola's "Priscilla" puts Priscilla Presley's perspective at the forefront and addresses the controversial age gap in her relationship with Elvis Presley.

"Priscilla," written and directed by Coppola, stars Cailee Spaeny as the titular character and Jacob Elordi as Elvis. The film is adapted from Priscilla's best-selling 1985 memoir "Elvis and Me," and she serves as an executive producer.

As the movie chronicles Priscilla and Elvis' courtship, it also acknowledges the imbalanced nature of their relationship head-on.

At the start of their relationship, various characters comment on how young Priscilla is — including Elvis

The film begins in 1959 in Germany, where Priscilla's father is stationed in the Air Force and Elvis is serving in the US Army.

Priscilla, then 14, meets 24-year-old Elvis after getting invited to a house party. When they first talk, the musician assumes Priscilla is a junior or senior in high school. After she explains that she's in the 9th grade (making her a freshman), Elvis marvels at how she's "just a baby," but also says she has "spunk."

Elvis continues inviting Priscilla to spend more time with him — much to her parents' confusion considering their 10-year-age difference. When Elvis visits her home to meet Priscilla's parents, her dad asks why he's so interested in her. The singer says that she's "much more mature than her age" and he likes spending time with her.

Later in the movie, sometime after Priscilla turns 16, she can't avoid the magazines filled with stories and photos about Elvis' rumored romances with other starlets.

"He's probably with women his own age," Priscilla's mom says.

At another point in the movie, Priscilla fails to fit in with Elvis and his peers when he flies her out to Memphis to be with him. Upon her arrival, the other women in his friend group comment on how young Priscilla is, with one saying she's "like a little girl."

Elvis also calls Priscilla "little one" when she tells him that she'll miss him while he's away in Hollywood.

Although the film doesn't comment on Spaeny and Elordi's massive height difference (she's 5-foot-1-inches and he's 6-foot-5-inches) or integrate that into the story, visually it gives the impression of Priscilla appearing childlike in comparison to Elvis.

Priscilla and Elvis' power imbalance is prevalent throughout the movie

Priscilla has no sense of autonomy or independence in her relationship with Elvis, as he calls all the shots.

Elvis tells Priscilla that he needs her to be available to him at his whims, introduces her to drugs so she can keep up with his partying lifestyle while still being alert during her classes, and tells her that they'll have sex when he decides it's time. (The real-life Priscilla addressed her and Elvis' age gap earlier this year and said that their relationship wasn't sexual at all at the onset.)

Elvis also dictates how Priscilla should look and dress. He tells her to wear blue clothes and says she can't dress in brown shades because it reminds him of the army. Elvis also commands Priscilla to dye her hair black and wear heavier eye makeup to make her eyes stand out more.

Even during a harmless pillow fight with Priscilla, he takes it too far and hits her a bit hard because, as she tells him, he always has to win. His violent nature also comes out when he throws a chair in her direction after she says that she's not too keen on one of his demo tracks.

It's not until later, after leaving Elvis and divorcing him in 1973, that Priscilla can escape his controlling attitude and live according to her terms — ditching the black beehive hairstyle and thick eye makeup for a more natural look.

"Priscilla" is now playing in theaters.

Popular Right Now