Taylor Swift fans might be okay, but not exactly fine at all, after watching the short film based on of her most emotional songs.
After announcing that her next release in the re-recording of her catalog was her 2012 album, Red, Swift treated fans with the re-recorded original 10-minute version of her revered song, “All Too Well” with an accompanying short film, starring Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink, which premiered Friday. The film was shot on 35mm film with Rina Yang as cinematographer.
Throughout the short film, which was introduced with a Pablo Neruda quote that read ” Love is so short; forgets is so long,” Swift chronicled the rise and fall of a relationship between O’Brien and Sink’s characters. The short film opens with Sink asking O’Brien, “Are you for real?… I just feel like maybe I made you up.” In a montage, the film proceeded to explore the couple’s relationship from their first blissful moments of new love to “the first crack in the glass.” In one scene, the music stopped playing as O’Brien and Sink’s characters have a heated argument to which Sink’s character expressed frustration and hurt that he acted differently with her when in the company of his friends, ignored her and, at one point, even dropped her hand. After they break up, the film follows Sink as she mourns the loss of the relationship.
Towards the end of the film, Swift appears as a grown-up version of Sink’s character, as she speaks at an event to promote her debut novel, “All Too Well.” The film finishes with a somber O’Brien watching from afar while wearing her scarf.
The film also featured a cameo by Shawn Levy.
Ahead of the film’s debut, Swift was joined by O’Brien and Sink at the premiere for the short film at New York City’s AMC Lincoln Center theater.
After the screening and a standing ovation, Swift, Sink and O’Brien headed to the front of the theater and shared what the project meant to them.
“From start to finish, this has just been a surreal experience,” Sink said. “I’m so glad we finally get to share this with everyone, and I hope you all enjoyed.” O’Brien also praised Swift for being “a genius” and “the most beautiful person ever.”
Swift has described “All Too Well” — long speculated to be about her previous relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal — as one of the more difficult songs to write. While speaking about the song on Rolling Stone’s podcast Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums, Swift said she recorded the song when she felt like “a broken human” and “feeling terrible about what going on” in her personal life.
“I just ended up playing four chords over and over again, and the band started kicking in…I think they could tell I was really going through it,” she said.
Though the song wasn’t originally a single after the album’s original release, Swift has acknowledged that the song has taken a life of its own among fans.
Before performing the song during her Netflix concert special, Reputation Stadium Tour, Swift explained that the fans helped transform the standout track into something “different” for her. “This song has two lives to it in my brain. In my brain, there’s the life of this song was born out of catharsis and venting and trying to get over something or trying to understand it and process it. And then there’s the life where it went out into the world and you turned this song into something completely different for me. You turned this song into a collage of memories or watching you scream the words to this song,” Swift said.
During an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers amid the release of her re-recorded Red album, Swift said it’s been “really nice to be able to put this album out and not be sad. Not be, like, taking breaks in between interviews to cry,” she said when recalling how sad she felt at the time of the original’s release. “I’m telling you, it’s much better this way.”
Earlier this year, Swift also debuted Fearless (Taylor’s Version) which included unreleased songs and new collaborations. When the re-recorded Red was teased on social media, the singer revealed that the new version “will be the first time you hear all 30 songs that were meant to go on Red.” For this album’s songs “from the vault,” Swift has collaborations with Chris Stapleton, Phoebe Bridgers and Ed Sheeran. She also included her editions of “Better Man” and “Babe”, songs she penned that were eventually recorded by Little Big Town and Sugarland.
Red marks Swift’s second re-recorded album. The singer has confirmed that she will rerecord her songbook which includes Taylor Swift (2006), Fearless (2008), Speak Now (2010), Red (2012), 1989 (2014), and 2017’s Reputation to offset the controversial $300 million deal between Scooter Braun and Big Machine Label Group founder Scott Borchetta. Swift owns the masters to her Lover, Folklore, and Evermore albums, which were released under her new deal with Republic Records and Universal Music Group, and now the recent Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and Red (Taylor’s Version).