Treat me like a fool

Priscilla Beaulieu was just 14 and Elvis Presley ten years older and already a mega-star when the two met in 1959 at a party in Germany during his stint in the Army. Love at first sight? Certainly something at first sight, He was homesick and lonely and liked her quiet, intelligent demeanor. She, well, she had a chance to hook up with a legend in the making. What could go wrong?

With the greatest of propriety and respect, he introduced this naïve young thing to the kind of high living few ever experience. But also to amphetamines and sleeping pills to help her keep up. He brushed off tabloid rumors of affairs with co-stars Ann-Margaret and Nancy Sinatra as mere Hollywood publicity. But “Cilla” was naive, not stupid. They dutifully married in 1967, but Elvis was apparently tepid on the idea.

Sofia Coppola’s unique, unhurried film chronicles, admirably without fanfare or spectacle but with great truthfulness, how their loving but monstrously one-sided relationship evolved. It eventually became clear that her needs came a distant second to his and she finally decided she’d outgrown her greatest fantasy. A gilded cage is still a cage. In 1972 she calmly packed her bags and drove out through the Graceland gates for the last time. (She studied acting and landed roles in Dallas and, most outstandingly, as Leslie Nielsen’s love interest in the Naked Gun movies.)

Cailee Spaeny quietly nails the title role, and Jacob Elordi gives Austin Butler (Elvis) a run for his money as the King. Excellent oldies soundtrack featuring, amazingly, not one Elvis tune. (113min)