Suki Waterhouse has been the face of Burberry and Redken, appeared on the cover of Vogue, Elle, and Marie Claire, and acted in shows like Starz's The White Princess — but there's one thing she hasn't done: star in her own music video. Until now. The 25-year-old released her first single, "Brutally," back in November of 2016, and show she's sharing the music video for the hazy breakup song exclusively with Refinery29.
"Brutally" may be a song about heartbreak, but it's neither happy nor sad to listen to. Instead, it captures that one moment after the end of a relationship when you realize everything is for the best. Waterhouse and director Émilie Richard-Froozan wanted the video to be as personal as possible, which meant stripping things down to the basics. In the end, they decided to alternate between clips from vintage movies and personal videos the star took of herself.
"We took footage from videos I shot on my camcorder that correlated with the essence of the song," Waterhouse explained. "I was filming in moments I was finding hard to sit and be alone with my thoughts and memories, when I look back at the footage I feel an understanding of who I used to be...even if it's very recent footage. It's a record of the tapestry of my life."
The clips from the vintage movies are almost exclusively of couples kissing, but toward the end, things take a darker turn. "Love isn't always safe or pretty. We wanted to be honest," she continued. "Sometimes love can be aggressive and abusive. These images of hard passionate kisses side-by-side with brutal behaviors is what, more often than, not a lot of people experience."
Waterhouse wanted the juxtaposition of these clips to reveal that love is very different than the fairy tale depictions we see in movies growing up.
"We get told these stories and then we get so disappointed," she said. "We hold love to such conditioned narratives, and I'm forever searching for answers in an imperfect structure."
In working out these feelings, Waterhouse crafts a video that perfectly captures the liminal moments of heartbreak, reminding us that it's never exactly good or bad — in the words of Waterhouse, "It just is."