Priscilla has finally arrived in UK cinemas, telling the story of Priscilla Beaulieu and her relationship with Elvis Presley.

The film was released back in October in the USA, and, like many award-season contenders, has been released at the start of the following year in the UK.

January and February will be an especially rich time for cinemagoers with the likes of The Holdovers, Poor Things, One Life, The Zone of Interest, American Fiction and The Iron Claw all releasing in the next two months.

Priscilla makes a worthy fit in that sort of film, a confident but grounded approach to a person's life that many may not be familiar with.

A nuanced approach to a complicated relationship

The film begins by following a 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu (Cailee Spaeny) who is living with her family in Germany whilst her father is stationed with the US military there.

At a party on the base, she ends up meeting the then-24-year-old Elvis (Jacob Elordi) who had been drafted into the military and a relationship begins to form very quickly.

After Elvis returns to the USA once his service is complete they lose touch for a couple of years before Elvis invites her over and eventually, she goes to live at Graceland with him.

It's quite apparent to see how Priscilla was groomed by Elvis, but what the film does successfully is make the point without being overly forced about it, taking a more observational approach to the issue.

If not for a couple of comments made about her age by those in the periphery you may well forget the inappropriate nature of how the relationship began.

Overall, the film does show a darker side to Elvis, especially in some moments of cruelty he shows towards Priscilla, but the film is far from a takedown of him as a person.

It allows for a more complex and nuanced portrayal of the relationship between Priscilla and Elvis, as there are plenty of moments of genuine love between the pair, but it does not ignore the issues that were present.

Phenomenal performances from Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi

The film almost entirely rests on the shoulders of Cailee Spaeny who does a brilliant job portraying Priscilla across a range of ages, and lending a genuine sense of authenticity to all of them.

What's especially impressive is what Spaeny is able to capture through facial expressions and body language alone, particularly during her scenes alone at Graceland waiting for Elvis to come back home from shooting his movies or being on tour.

Her isolation and loneliness are incredibly apparent here, basically having nothing to do with Elvis around, a perfect encapsulation of having her life basically having no identity if not related to the King of Rock and Roll in some way.

Elordi also makes for a capable Elvis Presley showing both charm and cruelty very effectively.

Also standing at a huge six foot five inches, the massive height difference between him and Spaeny also acts as a very potent visual metaphor for the age gap between the two characters.

Patient approach to the story

Director Sofia Coppola allows the story to take its time, and it helps reflect the progression in the relationship as it slowly breaks down over many years from the initial joy and passion.

It's basically a complete inverse to Baz Luhrmann's Elvis biopic from 2022, which seems appropriate as that was focused on showing the legend behind Presley as a showman.

Whilst that was all full of pomp and bombast, this is far more patient and intimate and I feel that really works in its favour.

It may suffer from some slight weaknesses in the repetition of its themes and rather abrupt ending but there is so much subtle characterisation and storytelling here that is definitely worthy of praise.

Score: 7/10

Priscilla is in UK cinemas right now