I often write about how I like videos that tell a story. Well, this video tells a story that is directly related to the lyric of the song in question. This video showcases four couples who are all answering the question, as presented in the song “You’re the Best Thing About Me,” of “Why am I walking away.” The first couple in the video, a set of newlyweds, was filmed as they were being separated because one of them was being deployed in the military. Another couple, high-school sweethearts, was separating to go to different colleges. A third couple, this one a family of refugees with children who were being forced to split up (hopefully not permanently) because the husband needed to go find work to support his family. The fourth couple was also being separated because of employment, as one of them was leaving town for a job.
The video shows all of these couples as they are going their own ways, and the heartbreak in the video is palpable. Perhaps saddest of all is that none of the couples are willingly splitting. They all want to remain together, but circumstances are forcing them apart. We, the viewers, get to peek into these people’s lives as they experience some of their hardest days, and it is a romantic, saddening, moving experience.
The video starts out with brief interviews of the four couples where they are talking about their relationships, reliving romantic moments, or describing how much they love each other. We then cut to shots of the couples beginning their last day together. For me these shots, where we see them as couples in a very intimate space, in bed, casting loving but saddened glances each other’s direction, is one of the most moving elements of the video. As I watching the video today in preparation for writing this article, I started thinking about the high-school sweethearts and all the important firsts they shared in each other’s lives. It struck me that their separation was most likely permanent, unlike some of the others in the video, and that they would be going off to live their lives with memories of each other that will never fade. We also get some insight into the male psyche, as the refugee father clearly doesn’t want to leave his family behind. Sadly, he feels that his obligation to provide financially for his family outweighs his responsibility to support them in other ways. I don’t know what I would do if I were in that position; hopefully, I never have to find out.
My personal experience with this video is a strange one. I didn’t give it much thought until I stopped to pay attention, and to put myself in the shoes of the people in the video. Doing that, allowing myself to feel their heartsickness and to empathize, made me really appreciate the video. I like to think that U2 fans are among the most caring, empathetic people in the world, so a lot of us have probably been moved to tears by this video in the past. If you missed the emotions present in this video, I hope that reading this will make you want to go back and watch it again while thinking about being in the same position.
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