After recently directing the claustrophobic, thriller-like love story Tom at the Farm, it’s only natural that prolific director Xavier Dolan would want to continue to stay in the pastoral milieu with his latest work, the video for Adele’s first single from 25, “Hello.”
With obvious correlations to Lionel Richie’s 1983 song of the same name, Adele takes her lyrics to a slightly less cheesy level, with lamentations like, “Hello from the outside/At least I can say that I’ve tried/To tell you I’m sorry, for breaking your heart/But it don’t matter, it clearly doesn’t tear you apart anymore.” As she walks toward the secluded home she’s staying in, she says, “I just got here and I think I’m losing signal already. Hello?” Losing signal, in this case, means more than just communication, but rather, the loss of being able to reach someone on an emotional level.
The simplicity of the video (flip phones included, much to the dismay of many viewers) allows one to feel the intensity of Adele’s regret, encapsulated by her ripping off the sheets covering the dusty furniture of her country home–as though allowing the dust of her own painful memories to settle as well. As she prepares a cup of tea (she’s British, after all), the flashbacks begin. At first, they’re to when things were good, during a time her lover, played by The Wire‘s Tristan Wilds, was engaged and allured by her. But soon, as she continues to call him on old school phones, the memories turn less pleasant, to the instances when he was becoming disillusioned with her.
The pinnacle of her phone frustrations reach their crescendo when she finds herself in the middle of the woods by an abandoned, grown over pay phone–an emblem of her ex’s ultimate unreachability. As the video concludes with the final moment in their relationship, Adele stares at us forlornly, alone in nature–elegantly contrasting the modern notion of how we communicate with the inability we have to actually speak to one another.