Over the weekend, I finally got around to seeing Brooklyn, and if any of you aren’t already head over heels in love with Saoirse Ronan, I can only believe it’s because you haven’t yet seen this movie. She has an uncanny strength in stillness, and a depth and power in her eyes that is more moving than anything most other actors can do with their whole faces, bodies, and voices together. Which is probably what takes her latest project over the edge from already moving to upsettingly powerful.
For Valentine’s Day, the Irish musician Hozier (“Take Me to Church”) released a new video and charity single for his song “Cherry Wine.” Both are part of the #FaceUpToDomesticViolence campaign, and all proceeds are going to a variety of international charities providing support to victims of domestic abuse. From Hozier’s official website,
Domestic violence is an ongoing issue in our society, the statistics of which are shocking and the effects of which damage whole families, communities and span generations.
With the song Cherry Wine, I tried to get across the difficulty of coming to terms with and facing up to domestic violence and the dynamic of an abusive relationship.
The video features Ronan as one half of a seemingly loving relationship, who over the course of the song removes her makeup to reveal a black eye. If that premise sounds simplistic, it’s not. It is simple, but it’s not light or reductive. That’s due in part to the beautiful shooting style, the song itself, and also, of course, Saoirse Ronan’s performance.
It’s worth noting here that while the video features a male aggressor, the song itself is told from the point of view of a male victim of abuse.
The way she shows me I’m hers and she is mine Open hand or closed fist would be fine Blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine.We’re internet people, so we’ve all heard women get shouted down while trying to talk about rape or abuse, with blanket cries of “Men get abused too!” This is, OBVIOUSLY, true. But it’s also true that domestic abuse affects and targets the genders differently. And Hozier seems to have handled these issues brilliantly. He has taken a song about a man, made the video about a woman, and with this simple image, given both the respect they deserve, without undercutting either.