The bells jingle on the door as a customer leaves the diner. A sign hanging states the capacity of 49 people is allowed while people chat about their day. A server puts a plate with a sandwich between a waiting customer’s arms. A cook adds whipped cream to a sundae. The host fiddles with the cash register, trying to figure out how to get one of the buttons working again.
In the kitchen, a cook finishes an order and taps the bell, signaling to the server that an order is ready. Far back into the kitchen, a young woman (Anna Kendrick) takes the dough out of mixing bowl and puts it on the table. She sprinkles flour over it and kneeds it. She adds some sugar and wipes some sweat of her nose with her arm. Through the door, she can see a regular eating his lunch. He comes in every afternoon, during his break. He works at the bank next door.
With a cup, she makes circles within the dough and stares at her wall of postcards from countries, motivating her to continue. She glances at the cook again and puts the rolls onto the baking pan. Then, she puts them in the oven. She gets the timer and sets it.
She wipes her face again with her arm and turns on the fan. She wrings her hands of the flour and sugar. She rests against the counter, letting the breeze of the wind hit her face. She taps the cup on the table and then her fingers. She claps her hands together and using the cup to create a beat. She starts to sing as the flour blows in the room.
She heads back into the kitchen, where the cook is tapping his knives against the counter. She washes her hands by the sink and wipes her hands on her apron. She takes an order of French toast and serves it to a mother with two children. They continue with the beat she started in the kitchen. She walks past the front counter, where people tap their cups and clap their hands.
From underneath the counter, she gets a tub and begins walking by the tables. A young woman hands her empty cup. She takes another stack from another young woman. Meanwhile, all people at the tables have continued with the beat she began in the kitchen.
With a hand towel, she cleans a spot on table where she watches a group of friends incorporate a complex handclap into it. She nods her head in approval, counting along in her head.
At the front counter, one of the cook is throwing the cup in the air and stacking them as the customers clap and tap their cups. She tosses another cup to him.
Walking back into the kitchen, the cook taps his cup and she returns to her table in the back. She stops and glances again at the man who works at the bank. She looks at the cook, who gives her a dispirited glance back. She smiles at him and walks out the back door.
The diner was supposed to be a temporary job. It was meant as way to work herself through school with some chances to take on more shifts if she needed some extra cash. However, after graduation part-time become full-time and a year or so turned into four.
She began looking for a job six months before graduating, as advised by numerous articles she read. She put her resume into every job portal she could find and kept her phone beside her at all times. First, she tried jobs based on her degree and received little to no calls. She lowered her expectations a bit and the calls for interviews were almost daily. But no job.
She sees the cook, who has resigned himself as a permanent employee of the diner, and believes, despite his culinary talent, he has nowhere else go. She glances at the postcards on the wall, which she hung up back in college of her future plans, and knows it can still happen. The job pays little with hardly any benefits. It’s as though she’s not even working at all. It’s not the life she envisioned for herself. The only way she knows how to get out is to leave and not ever come back.
By not connecting itself to Pitch Perfect, Anna Kendrick is allowed to become another character, inspired by the movie but who is separate from it. “Cups” the video is a somber chapter, providing a pensive context of the song away from its comedic setting. “You’re going to miss me when I’m gone” becomes an anthem for the thankless hours of work she gives to her job and customers who only care if she shows up. It gives her strength to not to let her think of herself as less than and to stop comparing herself to the guy who works at the bank.
One day, she believes, she will walk into the diner as a paying customer, well-traveled and answering questions about how she’s doing with the regulars who saw her for years.
Director: Jason Moore Year: 2013