by Jaime Woo
I’ve been watching the video for Anna Kendrick’s “When I’m Gone,” a cover of an internet sensation involving an old folk song and a plastic cup. The song is sweet and short enough to have you wanting more. It makes sense that it’s become a radio fixture, fitting perfectly within the vein of the Lumineers and Phillip Phillips.
The video’s concept involves Kendrick working in a diner and daydreaming while waiting for her biscuits to bake. It was only on a recent viewing that I noticed the diversity of the patrons in the diners: there are white, black, hispanic, and Asian customers all doing the cup routine. You just don’t see this kind of representation in most music videos—it probably helps that the film Pitch Perfect, where Kendrick first performs the song, also had a healthy amount of ethnic diversity, and the film and video share director Jason Moore.
In truth, realizing the many different faces of the video took me by surprise, because I actually had to purposefully hone in on it. Furthermore, I loved how normal it felt; this was the kind of scene I, living in Toronto, am used to seeing. This video is like the moment you get a prescription updated from your optometrist: everything becomes just a bit clearer. Kudos to Kendrick and Moore, for this video that presents more than it initially appears.