Video Review: Eminem & Ed Sheeran “River”

Inside a studio, Eminem sits in a chair, his arms crossed while a filmmaker asks him “what does love mean to you?” He doesn’t answer.

Filmed with a phone in a corner, his girlfriend tells him that she’s always wanted to be with him, regardless of her boyfriend at the time. The filmmaker asks his girlfriend to describe her relationship with ex-boyfriend. They are seen fighting. Her ex-boyfriend, in his confessional, states that she broke his heart. Eminem says his “personal life is not exactly a highlight reel.” Ed Sheeran adds that “you have to have the trust element.”

At night, Sheeran sits in a destroyed bedroom.

Eminen paces in his home, rain pouring inside. He puts his face right to the camera and raps.

Nightcam catches his girlfriend with her hands on her forehead, walking back and forth. Her boyfriend pushes her and throws her onto the floor. Eminem shadowboxes at the gym and hits the punching bag. His girlfriend interrupts him and they talk.

A phone camera captures Eminem and his girlfriend on their first date at a diner. Her ex-boyfriend crosses the street and takes off his jacket. Holding up her phone, she says hello to Eminem as he walks through the door. She says she’s documenting their relationship.

In her confessional, she says that Eminem means everything to her. Eminem records in the studio. In his hoodie, he walks in the rain as a lapis lightning flashes in the sky.

They argue a few months later at the same diner.

Filming herself on her phone, she shows a positive pregnancy test and checks for him at the door. Sheeran walks in the street in the pouring rain. She pushes him in slow motion in the family room. He throws chairs and other objects at the wall.

She tells him she’s pregnant. He says he’s not ready. She responds that he doesn’t want to take responsibility. A young woman walks in the rain, watching a projection of Eminem on the building.

The filmmaker asks him what the song means to him.

Rating: 0/5

A fortysomething man, living with his girlfriend, blaming the pregnancy on her is no better than the ex who slapped her around. Both men swear up and down they love her and then turn around, devaluing her.

Eminem admits to being a mess and someone to avoid. Relationships bring out the worst in him. His answers in the confessionals are brutally honest as he analyzes why his relationships haven’t worked. However, the regression to an irresponsible 20-year-old is a decades old character he has outgrown. It was likely true back in the 2000s. The broken middle-aged man speaking seems to have little interest in letting someone into his heart.

The abusive ex-boyfriend is another layer of unnecessary drama. Like Eminem, he’s damaged man suppressing demons inside of him. However, it doesn’t excuse his behavior.

The young woman is a victim of both men. She views Eminem as her ticket out of a bad relationship. However, she seems to be trying it as leverage it as a career also. Her documenting of the relationship seems to be proof to be put forth in court as she hopes to land a settlement. It’s the closest to a “good person” to be found. The people involved seem to be drawn to dysfunction and chaos without the self-awareness to truly fix their lives.

Director: N/A Year: 2018

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Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo’s love of pop culture began in 1999 with the message boards dedicated to shows on the CW (then WB). She graduated from Oakland University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. When she is not debating whether Dawson should’ve ended up with Joey, she looks at cute dog memes on social media.

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