Just in case anyone is unaware, a week in November had TWO national holidays: Veterans Day on Thursday and the release of Red (Taylor’s Version) Friday, November 12. A week before the album’s scheduled release, Taylor Swift dropped a trailer on YouTube advertising for “All Too Well: The Short Film.” Of course, this is a cultural phenomenon, so here is everything you need to know about the movie.
To get some context yourself, here is the trailer:
All Too Well (The Short Film) | Official Trailerwww.youtube.com
OK, did you watch it? Perfect. Now let's deep dive.
For background, “All Too Well” is largely regarded as one of Swift’s best-ever songs, a heartbreaking encapsulation of a breakup (and before anyone says it, she writes tons and tons of songs not about breakups or even relationships, its just that when she does write about relationships ending it’s done perfectly). The song has been streamed (and therefore probably cried to) over 100 million times on Spotify as of January 2021. It features heartbreaking lyrics such as “and I know it’s long gone and the magic’s not here no more / and I might be okay but I’m not fine at all” and “you called me up again just to break me like a promise / so casually cruel in the name of being honest.” And, with the release of Red (Taylor’s Version), we are finally getting the ten-minute version of the crushing number.
And now we’re also getting a movie.
The song is about her difficult relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal, who dated the then-21-year-old when he was 29. One of the only details included in the trailer is the cast list, and it has made several people uncomfortable as 19-year-old Sadie Sink is cast alongside 30-year-old Dylan O-Brian. It’s supposed to be uncomfortable. The casting reflects the clear age and maturity gap the real-life couple shared and allows the situation to be seen much more clearly.
The film also features a car driving down the road during fall, mirroring the line “we’re singing in the car getting lost upstate / autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place,” implying that the film may be a somewhat literal interpretation of her lyrics. However, 4.5 of those minutes will be completely new to listeners. There’s also the possibility that it’s a longer movie, as “short film” was used in favor of “music video.”
The film will also star Taylor Swift, but if Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brian are the lovers, there is much discussion over who Swift will play instead. She is also serving as writer and director, so the film will be the truest interpretation of how she views this deeply intimate song.
Unfortunately, that’s all we know as of November 5, but the speculation is sure to spiral out of her fans in the coming days before its release. No matter what the film ends up being, I am sure of two things: Taylor Swift’s masterful handling of human emotions will make it a must-experience, and I would not like to be Jake Gyllenhaal next weekend.