“All Too Well” short film nods to Swift’s past

Emma Polen | layout editor. Along with “All Too Well,” Red (Taylor’s Version) is available for streaming on all platforms.

Emma Polen | layout editor

Nov. 18, 2021

Along with the re-release of her 2012 studio album Red, Taylor Swift released “All Too Well: The Short Film’’ Nov. 12. While the video could still be considered just a music video for the 10-minute rewrite of the breakup ballad, it highlights how talented Swift is at telling a story with her lyrics. 

It is important to recognize the brilliance behind the casting. Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien, who play young Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal, are about 10 years apart. Swift was 20 when she dated Gylenhaal, who was 29 at the time. 

The first shot of the video shows Sink and O’Brien side by side, sharing an intimate moment. Seeing the two together makes a viewer uncomfortable, knowing the previous roles played by these two well-known actors. 

Sink is known for her role in “Stranger Things” where she plays a young teen girl. O’Brien is known for playing more mature roles in recent years. 

This leaves fans to appreciate the age difference as intentionally agonizing to watch. 

In another intimate moment, young Gyllenhaal kisses young Swift with his face upside down to hers, which is representative of the “Spiderman kiss.” Gyllenhaal plays the villain in the most recent Spiderman movie, Spiderman: Far From Home. Coincidence? Nope.

The infamous scarf from the original rendition of the song plays a more important role in the short film, which feels like deja vu. When young Swift first enters Gyllenhaal’s home, she drapes her red scarf over the banister. At the very end of the film, Gyllenhaal’s watches Swift through the window of her book reading — and he is wearing the red scarf. 

Another confirmed non-coincidence is the 1989 Mercedes Benz young Gylenhaal drives in the video — paying homage to her 5th studio album, 1989, which was the year Swift was born. In a comment on a fan’s TikTok about the car, Swift stated that the choice was intentional. She said, “Can’t stop won’t stop being cryptic and weird- that’s just the beginning, it’s gonna be a fun week.”

After her break-up with Gylenhaal in the short film, young Taylor is seen typing on a red typewriter. She appears to be upset, and she rips the piece of paper from the machine and throws it to the floor while Swift sings, “I’m a crumpled up piece of paper lying here.”

In the portion of the video called “13 Years Later,” Taylor, now played by Taylor Swift, walks through her home. In the left-most corner under the stairs is the same red typewriter. This attention to detail proves how Swift’s past experiences in relationships shaped her success years later. 

In the final portion of the short film, Swift herself is reading to an audience from a book she wrote, titled “All Too Well.” The book is not real, but its cover resembles Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Both books have a white tree on a light blue background. The illustrated cover of “All Too Well” also includes a red scarf, comparable to the red hearts on Carroll’s cover. 

Rumors on social media suggest that Swift may actually be in the process of publishing this book based off of the imagery in this scene. In an interview with Jimmy Fallon, Swift admitted that she often hints at upcoming releases too early, saying “Can I hint at something three years in advance?”

Though the artist notoriously plugs the number 13 into every reference she can, fans noticed that it has been 11 years since the breakup, not 13. Because of this, fans speculate that the last scene may be foreshadowing an actual book release in the next two years. 

Five days after its release, the video was still No. 1 Trending in music on YouTube. With all these new Easter Eggs in mind, go back and appreciate the genius behind Swift’s writing, directing and, of course, her music.