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Kat Riggsby

A Review of Taylor Swift’s Short Film: All Too Well

If Taylor Swift hasn’t proven herself to be one of the biggest stars in the music industry before, then she definitely has now. Taylor Swift is back, and oh boy, is she better than ever. She’s releasing music that Swifties have been waiting to hear for 10 years now, and everybody should be excited. “Red” (Taylor’s Version) is a re-recorded album that has 30 songs on it and spans just over 2 hours. As she puts in a message to her fans at the end of the album, it’s a “fractured mosaic of feelings that somehow all fit together in the end.” Trust me Taylor, as I was listening to this album, I felt all of the feelings. Every single one.

Perhaps the biggest release of the album came with the 10 minute version of her famous breakup/ love song rumored to be about Jake Gyllenhaal (or, “he who shall not be named”). “All Too Well” has been named as Taylor’s favorite song on the album, but one that never got released as a single when the original album came out in 2012. The re-recording was a special process for Swift. She revealed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, that the 10 minute version of the song reflected her exact feelings after the breakup, when she was young and emotional, reflecting on the heartbreak she just faced at such a young age. She said she just started to play some chords on her guitar, and soon her band joined in and created the masterpiece that we all hear for 10 minutes at the end of the album.

The beautifully tragic song reveals stories from her relationship and how she remembers everything. It reflects the happiness and joy from a new relationship that certainly had its flaws as she began to realize the kind of person she was with and the troubles they faced together. Swifties have been waiting for the release of this 10 minute version to expose more information from the relationship.

With the song, Taylor also released a short film that she directed and produced. She announced the short film on Instagram with a video clip of an old car driving through a tunnel of trees as fall leaves fell to the ground. Fans knew immediately the importance of those “autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place”, as they reflected the time period of her romantic affair with whom the song is about, and dropped a little Easter egg from one of the most famous lines from the song.

The film starred Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink. The veteran actor O’Brien perfectly portrayed the man that Taylor was with at the time. With a grown out beard and stoic demeanor we watch as he charms Sink, who with long red hair, represents Swift in the love affair. They’re seen swaying together as the autumn leaves fall around them and the wind blows through Sink’s hair as O’Brien wraps his arms around her. The beginning of the film resembles the first month or two of the relationship as they begin to fall in love with each other (or at least that’s how Taylor had seen it). The chemistry between the 2 actors was perfect and seemed like they both worked really well with each other. The young Swift found herself in love with him, and as she reflects in a new line from the 10 minute version, she was waiting for him to say that he loved her back. “Any time now, he’s gonna say it’s love… You never called it what it was”. It’s lyrics like those that make me realize how great of a songwriter Swift really is. The entire film is a genius idea to make her lyrics come to life for the first time since the song came out over 10 years ago.

The film progressed through their passionate relationship in a continuous flow of motion and long shots. It begins with her placing the famous red scarf down, following the lines, “I left my scarf there at your sister’s house.” Then, it continues with them on a trip, the wind blowing through her hair as he drives the car down a long road. Then, they’re seen dancing with each other, kissing passionately, and holding each other in long embraces. The film continues through the first time that Swift notices a change in his behavior as he drops her hand while they’re eating with a group of his friends. The music pauses and a scene between O’Brien and Sink begins as they’re cleaning up the kitchen after the dinner. Sink is shown upset and O’Brien continues to pry at her to see what was wrong. They start to argue about his change of behavior and how it made her uncomfortable, like she was not even there. The shot never ends, showing the acting prowess of both professionals as they bounce off of each other and portray an emotional and raw fight scene with no breaks or cuts.

As the video continues, the love story begins to crumble. The fight scenes become more prominent, but then we see it finally come to an end. Sink portrays a young and broken Swift perfectly as she sits alone at her 21st birthday, and then stands alone at a party, waiting for him to come. It ends with Swift acting as herself, reading a book called All Too Well as a man wearing a red scarf watches her from the outside of a glass window.

Taylor Swift has long been known as an amazing performer, singer, and songwriter, but with this short film and album release, she truly is on top of the music industry like never before. She painted a beautiful picture of a broken relationship through song and incredible acting. Dylan O’Brien played a once charming man and Sadie Sink embodied the youth of Swift at the time, and the naivety she had for trusting the relationship to ever work out.

The emotions fans felt throughout the film is exactly the reason Taylor Swift makes such heartbreaking music. Her experiences can be connected to people all around the world as her fans listen to each song. The “All Too Well” short film was a masterpiece, and a reflection of the power that Swift continues to have in the music industry. Going forward, I can’t wait for more releases of re-recorded albums from her past.

Isabella Cautero

St. John's '25

Hi! My name is Isabella Cautero and I'm studying journalism at St.John's University in Queens. I love pop-culture, sports, music, movies and so much more. I enjoy playing with my dog in my free time and spending time with my family and loved ones! I'm from Jersey, so my favorite thing to do is go down the shore to my beach house in Cape May!
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