boygenius, the indie supergroup featuring Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker, performed a benevolent act of Sapphic terrorism Thursday night by releasing the film, a visual companion piece to their debut full-length album, the record. Directed by Kristen Stewart (yes, that Kristen Stewart), the film is soundtracked by the record’s first three singles: “$20,” “Emily I’m Sorry,” and “True Blue” (plus, a recurring snippet of album opener “Without You Without Them”). Over the course of 14 minutes, the film weaves together three separate dreams by the respective genius, boys, offering up sentimental, slightly surreal vignettes that complement the themes explored each song’s lyrics. Check out our breakdown below.
Following a triptych of the three boygenius members each getting ready for bed, Julien Baker awakens in a race car bed, startled as a cigarette-wielding mother crams food into her mouth. As Baker exits the house, she comes upon younger versions of Dacus and Bridgers, with the older versions of all three women entering and exiting the frames. There’s a VHS quality to these half-remembered memories, and the hard-rocking “$20” adds a sense of urgency to the proceedings. The group works on a pickup truck — “How long’s the Chevy been on tinder blocks?” — and three members slash their hands, clasp them to one another in a blood pact before lighting the old house on fire and escaping in the car.
“Emily I’m Sorry”
Phoebe Bridgers, clad in a white shirt and boxer shorts, stares straight into the camera as it zooms out as she sings the opening lines to “Emily I’m Sorry.” We eventually recognize she’s standing in the midst of a monster truck rally, and it must be pretty cold, because each breath produces a plume of steam. And wait, is that … yes, it’s the pickup truck from the first dream under a pile of other cars and detritus that the monster trucks are jumping over in the background. Bridgers reaches beneath the vehicle to find a gasoline canister, dousing the pile-up as Dacus and Baker emerge to join her. Bridgers finds a match, Baker lights it for her, and the three watch as the flames engulf the space, bringing the dream to an end.
In the final dream, Lucy Dacus gazes out the window of an empty house toward a dead tree, which has a blue cape caught on its branches. Dacus stares at the white walls around her and all the white objects that clutter the space, tossing them out and coming upon a can of blue paint (the same shade of blue, it must be stated, that colored her Home Video era). The blue paint is applied to the walls with abandon, as Dacus smears it with her hands and gets it all over her shirt, tube socks, and body. Her two bandmates join her to paint the room, and in the midst of their fun DIY project, they take a quick break to passionately make out with one another. Outside the blue-painted house, the three sit on the front stoop giggling and taking turns sucking on the same lollipop. The film fades to block and dissolves to the original triptych, although now Bridgers, Baker, and Dacus are not in separate bedrooms, but snug as bugs in a rug, cuddling.