I watched ‘Priscilla’ and hated it.

While on the topic of art film, I wanted to bring attention to the film “Priscilla” (2023) which I watched last week. In my opinion, this film desperately wanted to check some boxes from elements that characterize art films, and in doing so, ruined a film that otherwise could’ve been both beautiful and enjoyable.

Bored out of my mind. “Priscilla” (2023) is a snooze fest, no doubt about it. The pacing is slower than a Monday morning commute, and I found myself checking the time more often than being engrossed in the storyline. Maybe I set my expectations too high after the energy of “Elvis” (2022) but this film fell flat. I was practically begging for some excitement – anything to snap me out of the drowsiness that settled in.

Sure, it’s pretty. There are some shots that are undeniably worthy of praise. The cinematography captures moments with an artistic flair, but those moments are like tiny oases in a desert of monotony. You can appreciate the aesthetics, but they’re not enough to redeem the overall lackluster experience.

And don’t get me started on how Priscilla is portrayed. Instead of coming off as sweet and innocent, she was just annoying. The film didn’t do justice to the complexity of her character, reducing her to a mere victim of circumstance. I expected more depth, more nuance, especially considering Sofia Coppola’s track record.

On the flip side, I must commend the film for its bold departure from the Elvis mythos. In choosing to focus on desire and objectification, it sheds light on a side of the story that often gets overshadowed by Presley’s larger-than-life persona. The teenage Priscilla being groomed for a life in the spotlight is a narrative choice that, despite its shortcomings, brings a unique perspective to the table.

The scene where Priscilla sits on the Graceland furniture, rehearsing for an encounter with Elvis, is a powerful moment that highlights the lack of individuality in her world. It’s a poignant commentary on the sacrifices made in the pursuit of fame. Sofia Coppola’s vision is evident in these glimpses of painful memories, creating a mosaic of emotions that, at times, hits the mark.

Yet, the film’s betrayal lies in its overindulgence in surface pleasures. It’s as if the aesthetics were prioritized at the expense of a more engaging and cohesive narrative. While I appreciate the attempt to seduce the audience with visual allure, I couldn’t help but feel ignored and tossed aside, much like the characters on screen.

In the end, “Priscilla” left me torn. It dared to break away from the expected Elvis narrative but stumbled in its execution. The film’s artistic beauty clashes with its sluggish pace and lack of character depth, leaving me conflicted about whether to appreciate its ambition or lament its missed opportunities. It’s a film that’s both visually captivating and narratively frustrating, making it a complex experience that defies easy categorization.

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