I was open-minded at first, and I do like looking at Dom. But when I started looking at it more closely and surfing people's responses, I began to have fairly strong opinions.
As a consciousness-raising anti-abuse video, it's not very successful. It concentrates too much on the cycle of violence within the relationship and has no escape, just a burning house. It would have been a lot better with a helpline number such as 1-866-331-9474 (National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline), and a link to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline.
The good parts: Dom, and bringing up domestic violence
- Dom looking hot and sexxoring with conviction, always a good thing in my book
- Dom being serious and acting well (not the same and also good)
- A couple of good Dom interviews on MTV, including kissing Megan Fox is just work (she's married).
- The director, Joseph Kahn said he wanted Dom, "because he's an actor who can bury himself [in his roles]," and "You can do anything with him, and essentially, he's a villain through all of [the video], and I think he did a great job."
- Trying to show the cycle of domestic violence, which is distressingly common in all classes and cultures.
- The audience knows it's real: Eminem fought with his ex-wife violently, Rhianna was in a relationship with a singer (?) Chris Brown, who, during a fight in his car, last year, punched and bit her until she screamed and someone called the police. More: Domestic Abuse Myths: Five mistakes we make when we talk about Rihanna and Chris Brown's relationship). So the reality is negative.
- It's got a catchy melody in the chorus and a rappy rap thing in the verses.
The bad parts: wrong and mixed messages about domestic violence
- Dom and Megan Fox look pretty hot with the romance, sex, and fighting. It's not real violence, which is horrible and ugly.
- Most domestic abusers are men, who generally hold the physical, financial, and cultural power in relationships. Though both men and women fight, men do more damage (over 80% of convicted abusers are men). The video makes the man and woman nearly equal in battering.
- People who recognize Dom as Merry from LotR or Charlie are Lost are predisposed to like him and excuse his actions.
- Dom's acting Eminem's relationship with his ex-wife (though the director says he meant a more generic couple).
- Rhianna's chorus includes, like the way it hurts and love the way you lie. Not exactly liberating.
- Eminem's lyrics end: If she ever tries to fucking leave again / I'mma tie her to the bed / And set the house on fire, and the video has a burning building towards the end. Maybe they meant to indicate it would all end badly, they should split up right away? If so, it fails to work.
- The video starts and ends with the couple sleeping peacefully all cuddled up together: huh?
More views: A Domestic Violence Expert Weighs In On Eminem's New Music Video. A couple of other analyses, both somewhat positive, at Little Pink Book and Reappropriate.
All the intentions were good and worthwhile. All the people involved are young and may not have known much about the topic. It certainly got attention (the biggest YouTube music video so far) and I hope that the audience learns from it, I just worry they won't.