In a day and age where the majority of music videos consist of someone standing there singing while random unqualified "video girls" shake their rear ends around them with some gratuitous "bling" to boot, it's nice to not only see a video that creative thought went into the concept, but also where a story is told. Granted, "Hurt" is the type of song that sort of demands a storyline for the video in order to do it justice. Even still, many young artists (who by the way, must pay for their own videos) would've just pulled a cop out and given us some cheap Three minute mess with velveeta cheese written all over it. Christina Aguilera gave us something a bit different.
Teaming up with innovative director Floria Sigismondi to co-direct with her (the same woman who directed "Fighter", Aguilera's best video to date), Aguilera created a heartbreaking tale with beaucoup imagery splashed right and left. Following the circus themed "Enter The Circus" and "Welcome" from her now gold album "Back to Basics", the video has elephants, tight rope, circus performers, tents, and more.
The video's biggest weakness is the sequence with Aguilera under the tent by herself, singing the song. It really serves no purpose and the video would've been nearly perfect without it. The hand movements are too much, her facial expressions are melodramatic, and it's just distracting from the story that's unfolding in the video.
Many people have been ragging on Christina's acting in the video (particular the aforementioned sequence), and although I agree it is quite bad, I must come to the woman's defense a bit. Having to act without any words or action is probably the most difficult thing to do as an actor. Just sitting there in a room by yourself — and you must to emote with nothing but your face (and in this case hands). For someone who's actually an actor it's quite a feat but for someone with little or no experience it's nearly impossible to pull off successfully. But like I said…the entire sequence should've been cut from the video.
The emotional climax (and the most brilliant part of the video) is at the last chorus before the bridge when Aguilera realizes her father has died. The room starts spinning and memories flash left and right. We experience the emotion the way Christina does in the video. Then when the bridge kicks in she sings:
If I had just one more day
I would tell you how much that I've missed you since you've been away
Oh, it's dangerous
It's so out of line
To try and turn back time.
As she sings she runs out of the tent and falls to the ground in grief — holding the elephant necklace her father gave her when she was a child. When she looks up she sees her father in the distance and reaches out for him, only to realize seconds later he's not really there.
It's a gorgeous song with a fitting video that will likely be one of her classic and signature songs years from now. She may not be bringing "SexyBack" or having a case of "Deja Vu", but Miss Aguilera sure is singing her heart out — and I'll take that over brainless Billboard-bait any day.
More pictures from the video are available over at Breath of Fresh Ink.