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All Too Well Film Review

Written and directed by Taylor Swift, the singer/songwriter has released a short film for the 10-minute version of her song “All Too Well,” and Swifties all over the world, including myself, have been emotionally playing it on repeat. After she came out with her announcement of releasing rerecordings of six of her previous albums, the next in her catalog was her 2012 album, Red, which was released Friday evening. Along with this album, was an extended version of her most heartbreaking song “All Too Well” and a short film starring Sadie Sink (“Stranger Things”) and Dylan O’Brien (“Teen Wolf.”) 

At the beginning of the short film, we are introduced with a quote from Pablo Neruda that said, “Love is so short, forgetting is so long.” This quote illustrates the emotional journey Sink and O’Brien’s characters take as they experience the highs and lows of their relationship. With each section of the film, Swift shows the couple at different stages of their relationship as it progresses. Starting with a montage of the ecstatic, passionate moments of a romance, where Sink’s character is so entranced by the new love that she asks him “Are you for real?.. I just feel like I made you up.” Suddenly, it cuts to the “first crack in the glass,” where she and O’Brien argue about him acting differently and ignoring her in front of his friends, and when she tries to hold his hand, he drops it and pushes it away. It then follows Sink’s character going through the different stages of grieving the breakup. The film ends with a grown-up version of her character which was played by Swift, and she is at an event promoting her debut novel called All Too Well. O’Brien’s character is shown but from afar looking through the window of the bookstore while wearing her scarf. 

According to a podcast called Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums, that Swift had appeared on talking about the song, she described it being one of the hardest songs for her to write. At the time of her recording the song, she felt like a “broken human” and “feeling terrible about what was going on” in her private life. For years, fans have speculated that the song was about Swift’s brief relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal back in 2011, although Swift has never publicly said it was about him. 

In addition to the heart-wrenching lyrics, the short film beautifully captured all of the fans’ mutual experiences of heartbreak that they have also gone through. While the age gap between Sink and O’Brien has made some feel uncomfortable, the purpose of the casting was to make you feel that uneasiness about their relationship and how wrong it was as Swift and Gyllenhaal were nine years apart. Sink and O’Brien acted incredibly, especially in their intense argument scenes, the viewer felt as if they were watching a once blossomed love gradually deteriorate into a toxic relationship as the flame began to fade.  People all over social media have expressed how connected they feel to the film and how hard it was to see the intense scenes as they could relate to them so much. The new lyrics show a different side to the song, allowing you to hear the pain in Swift’s voice more. By creating this personal and vulnerable film and releasing it for her fans, Swift has given heartbroken souls around the world a sense of closure and a song that encapsulates the hurt and strength many feel after a breakup. 

Tags: Taylor Swift, Red album, all too well, short film 

Anjulina Varghese

Stony Brook '23

Hello! My name is Anjulina and I am a Sophomore at Stony Brook University, majoring in Journalism. I am a huge movie buff and love listening to music while I am studying (Korean R&B is a favorite at the moment!). I also love reading books during my free time and watching period dramas :)
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