all too well short film

Taylor Swift has proved herself a talented singer and songwriter, but now, she's established herself as a talented director as well, per contributing writer Grace Feuchter.

Taylor Swift dropped the “All Too Well” short film this Friday the same day she released “Red (Taylors Version)” — and it didn’t disappoint. 

Swift, who directed the short film, is known for having elaborate music videos, and “The All Too Well Short Film” is no exception. 

The short film, starring Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien, is 14 minutes long, with most of it depicting “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylors Version) (From the Vault),” the much-anticipated extended version of Swift’s 2012 ballad. 

The film follows the story of lovers — Him and Her — through ups and downs. The audience sees the start of the romance, when the couple looks happy and in love. We see O'Brien drop Sink's hand at a dinner party, and the song breaks for the first time to show an argument in the kitchen. Following the argument, the song starts playing again, and the audience sees the relationship unravel. 

The film is split into chapters. The final chapter is called “Thirteen Years Gone,” and Swift is playing the female character at a book signing for “All Too Well.” 

Swift is known for leaving Easter eggs in her work to tease future projects or what she’s feeling at the time, and this short film is no exception. The most obvious hidden gem is that Sink is only 19 while O’Brien is 30 years old, a similar age gap to Swift and actor Jake Gyllenhaal when they were dating. The song is rumored to depict Swift's three-month relationship with Gyllenhaal. 

While this has never been confirmed by Swift or Gyllenhaal, there are numerous clues leading fans to know who the song and album are about. Gyllenhaal has received hate online since the release of “Red (Taylor’s Version),” but he’s never spoken publicly about the relationship. 

The 10-minute version gave fans greater insight into this relationship, making hearts break for Swift’s relationship of ten years ago. Some of the most heartbreaking lines are, “You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath,” and “It’s supposed to be fun, turning 21.” 

As fans may know, Gyllenhaal didn’t come to Swift’s 21st birthday party. This also gives the next song on the album, “22 (Taylors Verizon),” a whole new meaning, as now fans understand why she wanted to party so much at 22.

There are other Easter eggs leading fans to believe that “Speak Now (Taylors Version)” is the next re-release to come, including scenes that reference iconic lines from the album. 

Some examples include Sink’s character “standing alone in a crowded room,” making a reference to “The Story of Us” from “Speak Now.” Another example is when Sink and O’Brien are “sitting there by the water. [He] puts his arm around [her] for the first time,” making a reference to “Mine” from “Speak Now.” 

On “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” on Friday, Swift explained how she was once on tour in a bad mood, so she played the same four chords and just started singing. That became the 10-minute version of “All Too Well,” which the sound man happened to record. 

“All Too Well” has been a fan favorite since its 2012 release. Swift explained on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon '' that “ten minutes is absurd, that's an absurd length of time for a song,” so she had to cut it in half for the original album.  

It’s no doubt that Swift has always been a talented singer and songwriter, but she’s now proven herself to be a talented director as well. The short film is shot strategically with actions fitting perfectly into the song lyrics at the time, and the story is beautifully heartbreaking and easy to follow. 

The short film brings its much anticipated fan favorite song to life in a way Swifties have never seen before. The lyrics are displayed gracefully, and the film encompasses all fans thought it would be and more. 

Contact Grace Feuchter at feuchtgi@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter and Instagram @Breeze_Culture.

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