Justin Timberlake’s return to the music industry has been nothing if not grandiose. If the black-tie Grammy performance of “Suit & Tie” with Jay-Z — the lynchpin of luxury rap himself — didn’t signal it clearly enough, then The 20/20 Experience’s sheer immensity surely did. With 10 songs spanning 70 astounding minutes, Timberlake refashioned his brand with a kind of gilded opulence befitting his place among the celebrity elite. It seems fitting, then, that 20/20’s longest song, “Mirrors,” stands out as one of its finest.
The extravagance enshrouding Timberlake’s return, and 20/20 in general, permeates the music video for “Mirrors,” resulting in a strikingly detailed and stirring account of the romantic relationship between Timberlake’s grandparents. At its core, “Mirrors” is an uplifting ode to Timberlake’s other half with an irresistible melody and saccharine lyrics. But where it lacks thematic depth, the music video compensates brilliantly, using the mirror motif to depict the entirety of a relationship — not just the warm feelings Timberlake employs lyrically.
Though director Floria Sigismondi’s decision to use mirrors as a narrative device may be unsurprising, its nearly flawless execution makes it no less effective. Every shot stuns, and the images of youthful zest, adult turmoil and elderly reconciliation impress so deeply that, at times, the song totally takes a backseat. The identical dancing, reflective posing and mirrored perspective obviously recall the song’s title and lyrical themes, but the degree to which they enchant is so great that watching the music video to “Mirrors” renders a profoundly different experience than does simply listening to it. It moves, it captivates, but above all, it shows an artist working with unblemished artistic vision.