Priscilla movie parents guide and why it's rated R (no, it's not for kids)

The A24-distributed drama Priscilla is now streaming on Max. Can your kids watch it with you?

Priscilla movie on A24
Priscilla movie on A24 /

If you're looking for a recently released drama to watch for your weekend movie night, look no further than Sofia Coppola's Priscilla. The Golden Globe-nominated film was released in theaters in Oct. 2023 and received generally positive reviews for its direction, storytelling, and performances. Cailee Spaeny stars as Priscilla Presley in the real-life story of her romance with Elvis Presley — this time, from her point of view. Based on her 1985 memoir Elvis and Me, Priscilla shines a light on their complicated relationship behind closed doors.

Those very familiar with Elvis and Priscilla's relationship will know that they met in West Germany when Elvis was 24 and Priscilla was just 14; Elvis was in the military while Priscilla's father was an Air Force officer. They connected quickly, though Priscilla's parents couldn't make sense of what a mega celebrity would want with their teenage daughter, and almost a decade later, they got married. Their marriage didn't last long, however, with Elvis' packed schedule of performances and Priscilla's newfound independence in her early 20s driving a wedge between them.

Priscilla is a haunting yet beautiful look at a young woman's innocence lost while trying to live up to the man she worshipped.

The reasons why Priscilla is rated R

Want to watch Priscilla this weekend but unsure if you should with little ones around? Well, the movie is rated R, but honestly, it presumably could've scored a PG-13 rating if there were fewer curse words. So, it really all depends on how old your children are and what you choose to expose them to. Priscilla is rated R, officially, "for drug use and some language." Let's break that down more.

  • Language: The "F" word is said a few times in Priscilla, but not as much as in other R-rated movies.
  • Sensual scenes: Priscilla and Elvis are seen kissing and making out multiple times, and there is a montage of the couple in bed together taking photos on a Polaroid camera while Priscilla wears lingerie. There isn't full nudity, nor are there actual sex scenes.
  • Drugs and alcohol: Characters drink alcohol and consume pills throughout Priscilla. One of the plot points is Priscilla taking sleeping pills and accidentally sleeping for days. In another scene, Priscilla and Elvis take LSD together, though it's depicted as a fun moment rather than a frightening one.
  • Violence: Elvis becomes angry during one scene and throws a chair at the wall, almost hitting Priscilla. In another moment, Priscilla throws a vase at the wall. The two argue and raise their voices multiple times. Toward the end, Elvis tries to force himself onto Priscilla while under the influence but she turns him down and leaves.
  • Mature themes: Priscilla is a mature movie because of its themes of abuse and grooming, which younger audiences might not understand. Pre-teens and teenagers who do understand can likely handle it, but that's up to your discretion.

Take a closer glimpse at Priscilla with the trailer here:

At the end of the day, it's up to you to decide what content your children should or should not be consuming, though I'd rate Priscilla a pretty tame R-rated movie. I'm honestly surprised it is rated R and not PG-13. That said, it's certainly not made for kids, so if the kids in your life are looking for a fun, family movie to watch, this is not it. If they happen to be around while you're watching, however, it's probably okay. There is no gore, no full nudity or sex scenes, and no excessive violence.

If you've decided Priscilla is a no-no for the children in your life, we get it! There are so many other kid-friendly options to stream on Max right now. We'd recommend The Wizard of Oz, The LEGO Movie, Because of Winn-Dixie, and The Peanuts Movie instead, all movies available to watch on Max for kids. The streamer is also home to all of the Harry Potter movies if you'd like to show your kids that beloved series for the first time.

Continue reading The Parent Watch for parent movie guides, parenting tips, and more!

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