Taylor Swift Releases Her First Short Film

by The Cowl Editor on November 18, 2021

Arts & Entertainment

Taylor Swift Releases Her First Short Film

Adapting Her Most Emotional Song to the Screen

Riley Coyne ’24

The short film, All Too Well, premiered on Friday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. Directed by Taylor Swift, it features Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink as the two main characters. These actors have a large age gap, as O’Brien is 30 years old and Sink is only 19. While it is not a problem considering the two are just acting, this significant difference in age was more than likely intentional on the director’s end. 

The song that inspired the film, “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)” by Taylor Swift, is a heart-wrenching story about a breakup with someone who is “so casually cruel in the name of being honest.” It is no secret that this song is about Swift’s ex-boyfriend, actor Jake Gyllenhaal. While Swift has never openly admitted such, the hints and details left in the song have been enough for listeners to put the pieces together over the years.

Gyllenhaal was 29 and Swift was 21 when the two broke up. This age gap is practically the same as that between O’Brien and Sink. Swift is known for being very particular and cryptic; her fans know that everything she does has reasoning behind it. Even the slightest details will most likely have underlying meanings, which is why fans are certain that O’Brien is acting as Gyllenhaal and Sink is acting as Swift in the short film.

“All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)” plays throughout the film in between dialogue, with the lyrics often aligning with what the actors are doing. For instance, when Swift sings, “There we are again in the middle of the night/We dance around the kitchen in the refrigerator light,” O’Brien and Sink dance in a dimly-lit kitchen with light from the open refrigerator illuminating the two of them.

Montages follow the couple during the highs and lows of their relationship, from a romantic weekend getaway upstate to a heated argument in the kitchen. Notably, the one time the music completely stops is during this scene in the kitchen. Sink’s character expresses how upset and hurt she felt at a dinner party where O’Brien’s character treated her differently around his friends. Shortly after this fight the two break up, and Sink’s character is left heartbroken and grieving over the loss of the relationship. 

The film then jumps to a scene titled “Thirteen Years Gone,” where a grown-up version of Sink’s character, played by Swift herself, speaks at a bookstore about her novel, All Too Well. It ends with the camera panning out and revealing O’Brien’s character watching in the distance, wearing his former lover’s scarf from their very first week together.

Sink and O’Brien did a fantastic job bringing these characters to life and Swift herself openly stated how proud she was of them. On The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, she said that the two “could not have blown me away more” and that “the chemistry between them is on another planet.” This short film was a major accomplishment for everyone involved, especially Swift, as it was the first film she ever directed. 

All Too Well: The Short Film is out now on Youtube, but be warned: viewers are guaranteed to shed more than a few tears.