Taylor Swift Releases All Too Well The Short Film: 'Feel Your Feelings'
Cozy up with your favorite flannel, and grab a box of tissues — because All Too Well The Short Film has arrived.
On Friday night, Taylor Swift released the 13-minute short film set to and inspired by the new 10-minute version of her beloved deep cut "All Too Well," which appears on her latest re-released album, Red (Taylor's Version).
Hours before the short film landed on YouTube, Swift held a private fan screening in New York City, where she — joined by the project's stars, Stranger Things actress Sadie Sink and Teen Wolf alum Dylan O'Brien — encouraged viewers (who were given preemptive tissues) to "feel your feelings."
The gorgeous short film film, shot by cinematographer Rina Yang, certainly induces waterworks.
As legend has it, "All Too Well" was inspired by a devastating breakup Swift weathered over a decade ago, and over the years, it has become a fan-favorite and one of the Grammy winner's most acclaimed songs, thanks to its vivid, cinematic storytelling. That storytelling is finally brought to the screen in All Too Well The Short Film, in which Sink plays a young Swift and O'Brien portrays her ex-lover, whom Swifties have long suspected to be Jake Gyllenhaal. (Eagle-eyed fans were quick to note that Sink is 19 and O'Brien 30; Swift was 20 and Gyllenhaal was 29 when they dated, and age difference is a theme in the new "All Too Well.")
The film — written and directed by Swift herself — replays memories from the song, while adding some dialogue to provide more context to the already specific lyrics. There is, of course, a trip upstate, on which the couple kiss in the woods and listen to music by a lake. There's the infamous scarf that he kept from one of their first encounters. And there's dancing in the kitchen and card games by the fire.
But we also see the relationship's low points. During one of the added dialogue scenes, the leading lady and her ex get in a heated argument after he, seemingly embarrassed, dropped her hand at a dinner with her friends. When she gets upset, he gaslights her, calling the situation stupid and her reaction ridiculous and selfish. Later, we see as she celebrates her 21st birthday surrounded by friends and no family — but no boyfriend.
The story ends 13 years later, as the heroine (now grown and successful, played by a redheaded Swift) promotes a new book at a reading, where her ex watches on through a window, still wearing her old scarf.
After the N.Y.C. screening, the stars opened up about working with Swift.
"From start to finish, this has just been such a surreal experience, and I'm so glad that we finally get to share this with everyone," Sink said.
After quipping that he was "sorry" about playing the bad guy, O'Brien added: "Taylor, you're a genius, and like the most beautiful person ever. This is really special. I'm still reeling, I can't even believe it. Thank you for letting me be a part of it.
Swift — who performed "All Too Well (10 Minute Version)" live for the very first time after the screening — opened up about the project at the event.
"The most important thing about this particular project is that this is a song that would not be a special song in every setlist I do, in every single list where someone says, "these are the best songs she's done" — that was all because of you," Swift told fans. "A record label didn't pick this song as a single. We never made a video for it. This was a song that started out as a song on the album, just a simple track 5. And you went and turned it into what it is now. It started out as a song that was my favorite. It was about something very personal to me. It was hard to perform it live. Now, for me, honestly, this song is 100 percent about us, and for you."
She also talked about re-recording her albums.
"Getting to re-release these albums is something I wouldn't be doing if you hadn't empowered me and emboldened me to do so," Swift said. "You guys are so amazing about a very hard thing I went through. You guys turned a hard thing into a very, very wonderful experience. Now we're going through the second time with the Red re-release: my version. And so all of this is happening because you made this happen."