It might seem like the start of another autumn weekend, but for Taylor Swift fans it is anything but that. Coming off Swift’s rerelease of her third album Fearless (Taylor’s Version) earlier this year, the Grammy-winning artist continues down memory lane on Friday with the rerelease of her fourth album, Red (Taylor’s Version). However, this album’s second life feels both more special and personal. This has to do with Swift releasing a short film All Too Well based on the song of the same name on Friday which the singer-songwriter also wrote and directed.
For fans, this is arguably Swift’s most famous song, due to the history it has (presumably being the story of the singer’s short-lived relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal). If you were going to make a film about one of Swift’s songs this would probably be the one to do it with. The roughly 14-minute short film stars Stranger Things‘ Sadie Sink, The Maze Runner’s Dylan O’Brien, and Swift herself.
The film starts out with a quote from poet Pablo Neruda: “Love is so short, forgetting is so long” and then features a new 10-minute version of “All Too Well” in the background throughout. It is broken up into seven small chapters after a brief introduction romanticizing how the love starts. Once we get out of that honeymoon phase we get “An Upstate Escape,” “The First Crack in the Glass,” “Are You Real?,” “The Breaking,” “The Reeling,” ”The Remembering,” and “Thirteen Years Gone,” taking us through the raw emotions of a relationship. The way the story was shot, in a 35-millimeter Kodak film with a lot of extreme close-ups, makes the experience even more personal than it already was.
However, the short film is more than about past romantic failures and how even in our old age we cannot help but think about them. This is a film that recontextualizes how relationships, through all their painful and rose-colored moments, help us grow to be better people. Even though the other person may have hurt us in an unforgivable way, we would not be the same if we did not have that experience to learn from. The bittersweet ending of this particular somber tale reminds us that the other person might have gone through the same revelation as well.
All Too Well makes Swift fans think about a song they thought they knew for almost 10 years in a new compelling light. While this film is packed to the brim with classic Swift Easter Eggs that includes a fun Stranger Things connection other than Sink, the journey that this film takes you on is going to emotionally surprise people. Even long-time fans who think they have taken every emotional rollercoaster with this singer will be taken on a wild intimate ride. The film premiered at New York City’s AMC Lincoln Center theater on Friday with Swift, Sink, and O’Brien in attendance before debuting on YouTube the same night.
Swift can next be seen promoting this release as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live this week with first-time host actor Jonathan Majors and if you have a hardcore Swiftie in your life you may want to check on their emotional well-being after watching this film. Red (Taylor’s Version) is out now and you can watch the full short film down below.