In keeping with Gomez’s music video tradition of self-subjugation, “Hands to Myself” centers around the premise of her obsession with real life model Christopher Mason (acting in the role of a more famous person for the purposes of this video). The latest single from her sophomore album, Revival, is somewhat reminiscent of the concept for Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space,” which makes sense considering the homogenous landscape of music and the fact that the two are friends. Tapped to direct the video was Alek Keshishian best-known for creating the masterpiece that is 1991’s Truth or Dare, the infamous Madonna documentary that attracted Gomez’s interest in Keshishian.
While the plot of the video may be somewhat cliche, there is a distinct sensibility and candor that Keshishian brings to it. Capturing the character of Gomez wrapped up in her own illusory world imagining being engaged to Mason, Keshishian showcases his attention to subtle details, like Gomez wearing an engagement ring in the process of fulfilling her fantasy of being with him as she dons one of his button-up shirts and dances around to music from a strategically placed Beats Electronics (a.k.a. Beats by Dre) speaker–it’s a beautiful thing when Apple partners with people, isn’t it?
Keshishian opens the video on Gomez wearing handcuffs while lying down on what we later presume is a prison cot–which makes all the sense in the world considering her disturbing behavior toward Mason, from the pictorial shrine à la Alison DeLaurentis in Pretty Little Liars to the firm belief that she has every right to soak in his bathtub. And, just as the richness of the color scenes of Madonna’s performances in Truth or Dare, Keshishian imbues the ordinary with subtext, as in the scene where Gomez is walking through the house with a satin sheet (a nod to the “Express Yourself” lyrics?) wrapped around her that looks like the train of a wedding gown.
Ultimately, Gomez’s only marriage is to her insanity, as Mason–instead of being thrilled at the prospect of a naked woman under twenty-five present in his home–calls the police on her. The conclusion of the video, however, shows off that meta spin millennials love so much by cutting to Gomez on the couch with Mason watching the entire display as a movie the two starred in together. If not for the Truth of Dare cinematographic tinge, it would be a rather unrewarding watch.