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Video analysis: Justin Timberlake - Mirrors

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by

LEE Chong

on 6 November 2013

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Transcript of Video analysis: Justin Timberlake - Mirrors

The music video is actually Justin's tribute to his grandmother and late grandfather. The video features a widowed woman reminiscing over her late husband as she floats around the corridors of her home peering into flashbacks of the couples youth. It follows the couple's journey through the more impacting moments in their relationship, from the moment they met to the fights that almost broke them up. The video's theme is is heavily nostalgic and very personal which makes it so enticing to watch. The director Floria Sigismondi managed to explain the storyline with a clear narrative despite the shuffled nature of a music video.
In terms of setting the entire video has three clear different sets. there is the house which includes the bedroom, the corridor, the fun house room and the wedding shop room. there is the pool bar where the couple eledgedly first meet. And there is the mirror corridor that Justin showcases his dancing skills in at the end of the video during the interlude.

in the bedroom the set nothing really changes dramatically, the only differences are the props that are laid out on the set in different styles. The importance of this is to show consistency in the video especially as the characters images change dramatically from young to old with no explicit explanation as to what is going on. It makes it clear to the viewer that the place and characters are the same but only in a different time, where as if the room where to change to a more modern and futuristic style with no fireplace and flat white wash walls with wooden flooring, etc. we would no longer be able to recognize the place, or people as being the same.

As to why the bedroom was chosen as one of the main sets caries a lot of connotations that all have the common theme of the bedroom being a personal and intimate space and a rather vulnerable location where we are watching the characters at their personal and exclusive moments. Its a powerful asset to the video as it harmonizes perfectly with with the mood of the song.
The corridor is a subtly and effective set. although it receives little exposure in the music video, it holds an explanation for the jumpiness of the flashbacks. This mirror-studded, corridor set becomes the characters reflective chamber where she looks through the doorway portals, back in time, and reflects on the moment. The concept is a metaphorical explanation, for of someone looking at a shell being reminded of a holiday they went on years ago.
Video analysis: Justin Timberlake - Mirrors
Mirrors - Justin Timberlake
Props
NVC
Setting
the idea of the fun house setting is a clever and symbolic representation of this couples relationship. funhouses are traditionally a romantic place in american culture, bu they also capture the fascinating, strange and unpredictable nature of relationships. therefore having the crouded fun house setting adds a strong nostalgic and vintaged effect to the video.
it wouldn't be a justin timerlake video without the man himself or his dance moves. during his interlude at the end of the song he's filmed dancing in and out of a mirror hall. its a very basic set thats is shaped in such a way that it creates an illusion of refections and angles
Costume
however, the older version of couple are dressed in prodominantly black clothing. there are connotations of death
throughout the video we see the couple wearing a distinct style that aids the viewer to date the film without having to use subtext.
in these two separate shots the actress is holding her stomach. the first time she holds it is when shes sitting on the bed next to her sleeping partner. we understand from her body language that she is pregnant, but the connotations of the bed help explain this. the second time she is shown holding her stomach is when she and her partner are stood in the middle of a messy room. reading the body language the woman is holding her stomach still so this implies that she has told her partner. we can tell the man is angry by the way his arms are crossed and his back is turned towards us. together with the mess in the room we can assume the man has thrown a tantrum and trashed the room.
later we understand that the couple have made up. the body language has completely changed. the first sign of this is the close up of the man holding the woman's arms. this type of body language is reassuring and comforting. in this second shot they are right up against each other instead of being extremely distant from one another.
throughout the music video there is indirect focus on this blue and red notebook. due to its frequent appernece in the video we understand it holds a lot of importance to the video's story. the book is the perfect prop to show the extents of the couple's romantic dynamic as its not the sort of object that could pass as a special present to a bystander without understanding it's history.
the technique of using a symbolic prop is used well in this video because we are constantly being shown the book in almost every scene which again explains its great centemental value. in addition the choice of the blue spine on the red book was also a good decision technically, due to its eye catching contrast it doesnt take long to find it within each of the shots.
the set for the pool bar has no details in terms of set but uses the few main bits of set furniture to imply whats going on in the scene and let us complete the rest with our imaginations. the dark walls keep the setting quite dim and the red pool tables connote love, passion and reflect a romantic vibe.
throughout the video we see a mix of costumes that represent different stages in the couples lives. the young couples costumes are predominantly white. there are connotations of purity and innocence in the colour white but more importantly we associate white as being a blank colour. therefore we are comparing this fresh new couple to a blank canvas. however this conflicts with the fact that they are ruggedly and scantly dressed explaining that they are in their prime.
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