Hozier is no stranger to stirring music video narratives. In 2014, he made waves with the intense clip for “Take Me to Church,” which depicted homophobic hate crimes against a gay couple. Now, the Irish singer-songwriter is tackling the equally serious issue of domestic abuse with his video for “Cherry Wine.”
Oscar-nominated Brooklyn actress Saoirse Ronan stars as a woman who appears to be in a loving relationship with a man played by actor Moe Dunford. Interspersed throughout clips of them kissing and smiling, however, is footage of Ronan sitting in front of a mirror and taking off her makeup. She begins crying as she cleans her face, eventually revealing a badly bruised eye.
On his website, Hozier revealed he wrote the song from the male perspective of an abuse sufferer. “With the song ‘Cherry Wine,’ I tried to get across the difficulty of coming to terms with and facing up to domestic violence and the dynamic of an abusive relationship,” he wrote.
“The song’s lyrics offer a unique insight into an abusive relationship, shining a light on the cycle of ‘justification’ often perpetuated in domestic violence incidents; that public health experts say controls the abused, shames the victim, and shifts responsibility for the abuser’s violent behavior,” the statement continued.
Proceeds from the song will go to domestic violence charity organizations around the world.