“All Too Well: The Short Film” rightfully brought back my sentimental memories from my childhood

The cover photo for the best short film Ill ever see: All Too Well: The Short Film.


The cover photo for the best short film I’ll ever see: “All Too Well: The Short Film.”

A small room in a basement was a wonderland in my young mind. Toys and stuffed animals lined the perimeter of the room. In the corner, there was a computer my best friend and I had easy access to. Thanks to the elementary technology class we were required to take, the only thing we ever accessed was coolmathgames.com and the entirety of Taylor Swift’s discography. 

Red and Speak Now filled the tiny toy room as we played with her Littlest Pet Shops and made scenarios with her Barbies. From a young age, Swift has had the strongest grip on my reality with her celestial vocals and lyrics that we didn’t yet know were about. 

On one of those nights I was over at her house, I was handed two CDs: Speak Now and Red–the two albums that my best friend and I were addicted to–it was chemical. 

I played Speak Now during the day, and at night, I played Red on my shared CD player and radio. Secretly, I was trying to make my brother a Swiftie by playing the songs “All Too Well,” “Holy Ground,” “I Knew You Were Trouble,” and “Treacherous.”

Recently, Swift rerecorded Red and released “All Too Well: The Short Film.” The twelve-minute music video furthers the many underlying themes of age, relationships, and actor Jake Gyllenhaal. The short film is shot with a 35mm camera lens that captures many angles of Sadie Sink as young Taylor Swift and Dylan O’Brien as Jake Gyllenhaal. Similar to the movie Call Me By Your Name (2017), the 35mm camera lens gives the footage a vintage and warm feeling. 

Swift is a genius when it comes to alluding to certain aspects of her relationships. The vintage look the 35mm camera lens gives depicts how the relationship between the two was in the past.  Another vintage aspect of the film was the 1989 Mercedes Benz S-class shot towards the beginning. Swift took to Instagram and posted the Mercedes Benz with the caption, “Remember it.” 

Swift was born on Dec. 13, 1989, and Gyllenhaal was born nine years before on Dec. 19, 1980. The vintage car is a model released in her birth year, and in return, the age issue makes an appearance. A few scenes after the Mercedes Benz, Sink was yelling at O’Brien about how she was the youngest and felt “out of place.” Later in the song, she sings that the punchline of her jokes is that all of his exes stay her age, meaning everyone Gyllenhaal dates afterward are all way younger than him. 

The short film is what the name suggests: it was short, but it was simply mesmerizing watching Sink and O’Brien unravel the deeper meaning in “All Too Well.” The effort they put into their roles is impressive, and it enhanced my love for Swift’s music. 

The short film is what the name suggests: it was short, but it was simply mesmerizing watching Sink and O’Brien unravel the deeper meaning in “All Too Well.”

Even though it has become a trend to hate on Gyllenhaal for ruining Swift at a young age, O’Brien did a beautiful job of portraying a manipulative and selfless figure in Swift’s life. He dressed with very little care for the film, which represents how much Swift had no appeal to his sloppy and lazy way of dressing. 

Sink, however, cared about her appearance and tried to make the relationship a little better. She went as far as putting on Swift’s signature red shade of lipstick that suits the time period: Mac’s Ruby Woo. 

The short film was almost entirely made up of allusions, even if it may not look like it at a first glance. A scene where Sink was riding O’Brien’s back is a secret reference to the infamous photo of Swift and Gyllenhaal captured in Brooklyn, New York. This was at a point in their relationship where they were both satisfied with it before they broke up. 

Besides the actual allusions to the relationship, there were some that referred to the songs on Red: Taylor’s Version. Sink’s red hair is alluded to in “Babe,” and the scene after the split of Sink crying was a big reference to her song “I Knew You Were Trouble.”

I can’t ever get over the thought that Swift puts into all of her projects. They all have a meaning, and I would spend hours trying to unlock the mystery behind them all. “All Too Well: The Short Film” was written and directed by Swift herself, and this is one of the most impressive projects she has released to date. Her ingenuity when it comes to music is unparalleled, and her genius sense of being herself is admirable. 

Even thirteen years later, Swift is making bigger and more impressive moves while Gyllenhaal is fearing from all of the Swifties in his Instagram comment section. Again, Swift just had to include that in the very last scene. The scene is of her and her “All Too Well” book. O’Brien peers into the window with the red scarf that she left at his sister’s house, and he just stands there, looking at her. As he walks away from the window, he is overwhelmed with Swift’s power and creativity. 

Though my best friend’s toy room is well in the past, my indescribable love for every Swift song has stayed and grown with me. “All Too Well: The Short Film” is a beautifully crafted piece of art that deserves every ounce of praise.