Sam Smith’s I’m Not The Only One was one of the biggest hits from his debut album In The Lonely Hour (2014). Along with a hauntingly beautiful song, also came a music video that could potentially become one of the greatest music videos of the 21st century. Directed by the U.K based director Luke Monaghan, the music video was very well received by a huge majority of the audience and did not create any controversies.
It portrays the life of a married couple where the husband (played by Chris Messina) is cheating on his wife (played by Dianna Agron) with another woman. Even though Dianna knows this and despite the fact that she is hurt, she can’t find the power within herself to leave him. The music video is full of scenes where Dianna contemplates and falls apart psychologically, it also contain scenes where Chris is cheating on her with the other woman.
It is a very widely known video with well over 800 million views on YouTube. It was the fifth music video of the artist’s album. The album itself was 2x Platinum certified by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). By the time the music video was released, Sam Smith was already recognized globally following the breakthrough of his debut album and the music video Stay With Me.
In the first few seconds of the music video, it was shown that the couple lives in a relatively wealthy neighborhood. In the background audio, it is revealed that Chris did not eat breakfast prepared by Dianna and tells her that he is in a rush and leaves. Her hair and make up are done perfectly and they seem like a happily married couple. She walks him outside to his car and waves as he leaves with nothing but a smile on her face until she is completely out of his sight (until this shot).
In this shot, we can recognize sadness, anger and disappointment on her face as if she knows he is leaving to go see another woman. This is the exact shot where the song starts. The piano and drum beats play a sad but beautiful tune for one full measure before the vocals begin. The timing of these two things happening at the same instance creates an incredibly powerful moment, where the sad music meets the sadness that Dianna portrays.
This shot is where the vocals begin. The empty look of sadness in her face comes together with the first line of the song, “You and me we made a vow”. Again, this is a very effective technique that was used by the director of the music video. Just a few moments before this shot, we can see Dianna sitting on the edge of the pool and looking around with many thoughts running through her head. In this shot, she is still confused by her emotions. In the background, the pool full of turquoise blue water represents the range of her emotions confined in a space (which in this case is a pool).
Here and in shots prior to this moment, we can see her attempting to take her wedding ring off while crying unstoppably. However, she is also clinging on tightly to it. Sam Smith sings in the background “I can’t believe you let me down, but the proof is in the way it hurts”. She is hurt but she can’t seem to let go of him. Again, the lyrics “it hurts” meets this exact shot of her crying and sobbing.
This shot is set in the backyard of her house. We can also see that it is in the evening now. She spent the whole day drunk and crying over what he had done to her. However, in this shot, she decides to burn his clothes (not all of his clothes however). This signifies that she is ready to move on and this is portrayed perfectly by the expression of Dianna’s face in this instance. The song, which is at the bridge now, sings “May be I am just not enough”. It again coincides with the shot of her walking out into the backyard to burn his clothes.
This is the final moment of the music video. Chris comes back home and hugs her first and then kisses her on the neck. The hug however, does not resemble a hug that a husband would give to his wife upon returning home. It resembles a hug someone would give when asking for forgiveness. Dianna seems like the bigger person. Chris has his head down and does not look at Dianna in her eyes at all.
She hugs him and let him kiss her on the neck as well. The picture above is the look on her face after kiss and before the music video ends and switches to a black screen. This final moment is meant to signify that she forgives him because she is powerless to the way she feels about him. The look on her face says exactly that. Like the turquoise blue water in the pool that was mentioned earlier, she feels like she is in that pool and she can’t seem to escape. This scene also coincides with Sam Smith singing in the background, “I know I’m not the only one”.
By: Brian Naing