Swift’s “All Too Well” short film adds depth to album

The short film is full of references to a former flame and brings the song to life

Isabella Kensler, Arts & Culture Writer

November 12th: a momentous day for the “Swifty” fandom. Not only did Taylor’s version of the re-recorded Album-“Red” release, but so did the short film to her newly published 10 minute version ofAll Too Well.” As a “Swifty” myself, I am absolutely in love with the “All Too Well” short film, as it captures raw emotion to such a beautifully written song and is personally one of my favorites.

“All Too Well-The Short Film” was filmed based on Taylor Swift’s song, starring Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien. Sink stars as the girlfriend, which fans believe is supposed to be Swift herself, while O’Brien allegedly plays one of Swift’s most well-known ex’s, Jake Gyllenhaal. Although Swift never directly stated that the song and film was about her and Gyllenhaal’s past relationship, there is enough evidence and hidden Easter eggs for fans to emphasize the true meaning behind the heart wrenching storyline.

The film begins with the verse, “I walked through the door with you / The air was cold / But something about it felt like home somehow / And I, left my scarf there at your sister’s house / And you’ve still got it in your drawer even now.” As the lyrics are playing, a visual overlaps with the romantic duo walking through the door, where the girl (Taylor) places her woven red scarf on the staircase. Throughout the fifteen minutes of this film, a relationship has been captured through every angle. There are seven scenes, according to notes about the film: “an upstate estate,” “the first crack in the glass,” “are you real?,” “the breaking point,” “the reeling,” “the remembering” and “thirteen years gone.” They represent the development of this hopeless romantic tale from the beginning to end, and even after the heartache. In only fifteen minutes a story is told through the art of music. Yes, there is some dialogue, but the majority of the film is clips overlapping to the emotions of each lyric.

The film is full of allusions to the ill-fated relationship between Swift and Gyllenhaal; everything from the scarf to the fall backdrop are references to their brief romance that made headlines in the pop culture world in 2010. The Gyllenhaal character is portrayed with a number of symbols to make him highly-recognizable, including a beard and Gyllenhaal’s facial hair. Even the age difference between the two actors reflects the real-life age difference between Swift and Gyllenhaal. The red scarf weaves the film together with heightened color and drama.

After various scenes of displaying the falling apart of such a lively relationship, the film ends thirteen years later (in the present). The Swift character changes in the end, and the final scene features Swift herself to represent the growth and character development, that there is always a light at the end. It ends with a beautiful finale with a moment of speechlessness with the older version of him wearing Swift’s scarf from the beginning, while looking through the window of the Swift-character’s “All Too Well” book presentation. 

Overall, I absolutely loved this short film and definitely have watched it more times than I can count. I can really view the passion and dedication Taylor put into this film, and it’s honestly beautiful. I can’t wait to see what other masterpieces Swift has in store for us.