We need to forgive Drake for making us sit through his new “short film,” Please Forgive Me. This film has propelled his album Views back to No. 1 on the Billboard charts so he’s probably not sorry but he should be. The first thing he should be sorry for is that he chose a Rihanna knock-off as his love interest instead of Rihanna herself. All of the thoughts you are about to read would be a lot more positive if Please Forgive Me was 21 minutes and 28 seconds of Rihanna and Drake making out. It’s not. Instead, it’s 21 minutes and 28 seconds of Drake trying to convince us that he’s a badass action hero. Remember Drake’s most famous acting role? No disrespect to Jimmy from Degrassi but Rihanna is a more convincing badass any day of the week.
Late Sunday night, Drake released Please Forgive Me exclusively on Apple Music. It features Drake and Budget Rihanna (I’m sure Fanny Neguesha is very nice and she’s stupidly gorgeous but she is not Rihanna. Period) squaring off against a South African crime boss. I only know that piece of the plot because I read it on the Internet. The only things the short film make clear are that some dude wants to pay Budget Rihanna a million dollars to have sex with him and Action Hero Drake agrees to pimp out his girl in order to steal the crime boss’s money. Whatever. The video is pretty much Indecent Proposal if it was directed by Michael Bay. I love the music by producer Noah “40” Shebib but the visual’s only redeeming scene is the dance sequence set to One Dance in Johannesburg and that’s basically a 4-minute music video. Why waste our time with the rest?
The short film is supposedly inspired by Views. That album is a love letter to Toronto. How does a short film inspired by Views, an album where Drake is literally sitting on the CN Tower on the cover, turn into a crappy action movie starring Aubrey, the gangster? What is happening?
Drake’s best video – hands down— is Hotline Bling. The reason that video is so amazing is that Drake is being goofy, nerdy and unequivocally himself. I get that he’s trying to flex his dramatic acting chops here but I just don’t buy it. Views is a great album. Drake is a good actor. This short film was completely a missed opportunity to do something fresh and authentic. Budget Rihanna, the female lead, is basically a prop who DIES in the end. This glorified music video feels like it should’ve been released in the early 2000s when so many hip-hop videos denigrated, disregarded women and had sh-tty plot lines and terrible acting. Please Forgive Me doesn’t feel like it deserves to exist in 2016.
As The Atlantic points out, “the music video is dead, long live the music movie.” The last visual album Apple gave us was Frank Ocean’s Endless. Before that, TIDAL gifted us with Lemonade, the mic drop of visual albums, the visual album to end all visual albums. I wasn’t expecting a Lemonade-calibre mini movie from Drake but I was expecting more than this. Next to Lemonade and Endless or even Kanye’s 2010 music short film Runaway, Drake’s Please Forgive Me is embarrassing.
You can stream the full short film here.
Attached - Drake performing at iHeartRadio Music Festival on Friday.