Romance that did not end ‘All Too Well’


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Singer and songwriter Taylor Swift switches things up in her directing of “All Too Well: The Short Film.”

Delaney Gramlick, Staff Writer

Supposedly inspired by her barely 3-month long relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal, Taylor Swift’s short film recounts their brief and destructive relationship.

Released on Nov. 12, 2021, the highly-anticipated “All Too Well: The Short Film” did not disappoint. Swift’s music and direction in the film come together to create a true masterpiece of emotional chaos and heartache. The film touches on manipulation, intense and repeated verbal fighting and a brutal breakup. Starring Sadie Sink as young Swift and Dylan O’Brien as Swift’s ex-boyfriend, the film highlights the pair’s chemistry, which sets the stage for the depth of the eventual toxicity and misery. 

Though not confirmed, Swift’s film is rumored to be about her ex-boyfriend, Gyllenhaal. Many small details in the short allude to this idea, the most convincing being a simple scarf. In Swift’s song “All Too Well,” the lyrics state, “And I, left my scarf at your sister’s house/ And you’ve still got it in your drawer even now.” The film adaptation of the song also focuses on the scarf: towards the beginning of the film Sink placed a red scarf on a staircase railing, and at the end O’Brien can be seen wearing the same scarf, years later. In real life, Gyllenhaal has allegedly been spotted wearing Swift’s scarf after the pair’s breakup. The intentionality and the heavy focus on the scarf in both the song and the film seems to insinuate Swift was writing about Gyllenhaal. 

From Swift’s incredible musical talent to the beautiful scenery and camerawork, the short film itself is truly a work of art. While creating an elegant short film that was entertaining and engaging, Swift also managed to cover hard topics. A progression of fighting, gaslighting, manipulation and patronization can be recognized as the reasoning for the eventual breakup of the couple in the film. Swift’s film also depicts a sobbing Sadie Sink, an acknowledgment of how painful breakups are, even when the relationship is not healthy. 

A graceful, sophisticated work, serving as a representation of toxic relationships and the eventual acceptance and freedom that comes after the initial pain of the breakup, Swift’s “All Too Well: The Short Film” combines entertainment and information into one must-see short film.