Upon the announcement of The National's I Am Easy to Find — due out this Friday on 4AD — the band promised a short film that would accompany the record, starring Alicia Vikander and directed by Mike Mills (who directed the 2010s movies Beginners and 20th Century Women). The short film is here, accompanied by reworked versions of five new singles: "Quiet Light," "Rylan," "The Pull of You," "Oblivions" and the album's title track, in addition to the already-released "Light Years."
I Am Easy to Find carries some of the emotional resonance of a Richard Linklater film — think Boyhood or the Before trilogy — condensed into a tight 24 minutes. It finds Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl) in all the stages of a middle-class existence, from birth to death, and briefly delving into each stage — as if watching a supercut of home movies. Rather than pinpoint the emotional heft of a single big life event, I Am Easy to Find takes a sprawling glance at life's totality, each subtitled and carried by Vikander's expressions.
There's an emphasis on the cyclical nature of life: the temporality of close friendships (of which she has four), the turmoils of marriage ("Arguing ... about the same things," the film warns), financial crises and the remembrance of the past.
The National is well-suited to soundtrack these weighty dramas in brief. Sometimes, it plays as mere background music and other times, it accentuates and amplifies Vikander's joys and woes. It's engrossing, lovely and at times droll, as a short film from the National should be.