“All Too Well: The Short Film is an American romantic drama short film written and directed by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift and produced by Saul Germaine. Titled after Swift’s 2012 song “All Too Well”, the film is based on the premise of the song’s 10-minute version, and stars American actress Sadie Sink and actor Dylan O’Brien as a couple in a romantic relationship that ultimately falls apart; Swift also makes a brief appearance.”

Director: Taylor Swift
Writer: Taylor Swift
Staring: Sadie Sink, Dylan O’Brien, Taylor Swift
Where To Watch: Youtube
Release Date: November 12, 2021

I want to full admit my biases here and say that I love Taylor Swift. With all that being said, All Too Well the extended cut is a marvel in emotional wrestling and turmoil.

It is awesome and perfectly on Taylor Swift’s brand that she shot this on 35mm. The rustier look helps tell the story of sorrow that she endured on and around her 21st birthday at the hands of (speculated….) Jake Gyllenhaal.

There are subtle details in the short film that I really like, and I will just list them off below.

  • The full-circle scarf storytelling with the drop-off on the stairwell and then Jake having it on while Taylor is in her book store telling her story.
  • The sequence in upstate New York is really pretty. It is my ideal type of escape and I am jealous of their vibe. Filming that portion seemed like a lot of fun and a lot improv and just “act cute” moment
  • The corded ear pieces is a time-placer. We know this is in the past and we can pinpoint where it was in Taylor’s life.
  • The tossing of the keys at the three-minute mark is straight disrespectful and made me want to jump through the screen and tackle this disrespectful man.
  • The “you held me lifeless frame” shot with the two of them forehead-to-forehead ha some very good acting in in. Massive credit to Sadie Sink for speaking with her eyes, sneaking glances at him in an inquisitive way knowing that their relationship is not what it seems.
  • Sink, portraying Taylor, is dressed in all black turtleneck during the dinner party scene. While more keen-eyed Taylor Swift fans noticed how Sink is wearing the same exact outfit that Taylor wore in her first TikTok this fall, I had a different inclination. I thought of Amy Adams character for Nocturnal Animals (2016), which is a movie that also stared Jake Gyllenhaal. While Adams wore more of a dress, the hair, lipstick and vibe all check out to Nocturnal Animals, and it is also worth pointing out how the movie is about revenge and ex-lovers.
  • Again, Sink is acting with her eyes around the 6:30 mark. When she is in the arms of O’Brien, she is not looking at him or burying herself into him. Her eyes are open, looking away, and looking worried.
  • “You kept me like a secret but I kept you like an oath.” – DAGGER TO MY HEART!
  • The shot of the pair doing a crossword together: “Fighting with him was like trying to solve a crossword and realizing there’s no right answer”
  • The breaking point…well that was emotional
  • Of course it is a Red type writer. Of course it is.
  • When Taylor is singing about a new hell and Sandi is just wandering around a party not knowing anyone…I could not agree more Taylor.
  • The transition between the coffee gathering with Taylor’s dad to her 21st birthday is actually really nice. Zoom out to zoom in bust same framed shot.
  • I never got the importance of “Plaid Shirts Days” but now seeing all the plaid shirts that Dylan wore and then the shirt Sadie is wearing in the reeling portion
  • The remembering stage is really effective. It made me emotional. It made me really sad. It is reminiscent of looking back fondly on things you may miss but knowing there is nothing you can do about the past.
  • But it is always important to remember that the sadder moments stick with you more than the happy ones in tough relationships. As is the last things shown of Sadie and Dylan acting out their relationship together.
  • Of course it is 13 years later
  • “I’ll get older but your lovers stay my age” reminds me a lot of Dazed And Confused (1993): “That’s what I love about these high school girls man, I get older and they stay the same age.”
  • The Red hue with Taylor Swift appearing is no accident.
  • Red haired Taylor. I am all about it. Really all am.
  • Taylor is talking about her book, because she is still writing her own story.

Selfishly speaking, I love that I saw this on Letterboxd so it counts as a film and I can add it to my list and excel sheet. Was a lovely and glorious day when I typed it in that Saturday morning.

STANKO RATING: A+ (5.0/5 Stars)

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