All Too Well: The Short Film

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All Too Well: The Short Film
All Too Well short film poster.jpg
Official poster
Directed byTaylor Swift
Written byTaylor Swift
Based on"All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor's Version)" by Taylor Swift
Produced bySaul Germaine
Starring
CinematographyRina Yang
Edited byTed Guard
Production
companies
  • Taylor Swift Productions
  • Saul Projects
Distributed by
Release date
  • November 12, 2021 (2021-11-12)
Running time
14:55
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

All Too Well: The Short Film is a 2021 romantic drama short film written and directed by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was produced by Saul Projects and Taylor Swift Productions, and distributed by PolyGram Entertainment, Republic Records, and Universal Pictures. 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 Sadie Sink and Dylan O'Brien as a romantic couple whose up-and-down relationship ultimately falls apart, with a brief appearance from Swift. It was released to YouTube on November 12, 2021, alongside Swift's second re-recorded album, Red (Taylor's Version).

The film premiered at the AMC Theatres at Lincoln Square, New York City, on November 12 as well, and had a limited theatrical release in major cities. It opened to positive reviews from critics, who praised the cinematography, Swift's direction, and the lead acting performances.

Synopsis[edit]

All Too Well: The Short Film opens with a literary quote from Chilean poet Pablo Neruda: "Love is so short, forgetting is so long". The film chronicles the relationship of two doomed lovers, Her and Him, compounded by an age gap. American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift's 2021 song "All Too Well (10 Minute Version)" plays throughout the film, except during a dialogued conflict between Her and Him.[1] The nearly 15-minute film is divided into seven chapters—"An Upstate Escape", "The First Crack In The Glass", "Are You Real?", "The Breaking Point", "The Reeling", "The Remembering" and the epilogue "Thirteen Years Gone"—each of which represent a formative period in the relationship of Her and Him.[2]

Plot[edit]

The story starts with the couple lying in bed together, Her mesmerized by Him. They travel to upstate New York, where Her leaves her red scarf at a house belonging to Him's sister. Their relationship takes a turn at a dinner party, where Him ignores his girlfriend with a hand gesture, as he is busy catching up with his friends. They fight afterwards; Him is arrogant and dismissive, while a distraught Her is heartbroken but still wants to stay with Him. He apologizes and kisses Her to end the argument, and they dance in the refrigerator light. Him starts to distance himself from Her when she needs him, eventually breaking up with her. A devastated Her weeps in bed, ignoring his phone calls. A montage shows Her alone at parties and miserable on her 21st birthday. Him's life carries on as he walks alone down a Brooklyn street, recalling some of the happier moments in his relationship with Her. The film then jumps 13 years into the future. Her has become an author and is celebrating the release of her novel All Too Well, presumably detailing the heartache of her early twenties, reading it out to an audience of fans in a packed bookstore. Outside, an older Him watches Her through the window, wearing the same scarf she had abandoned 13 years ago.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Swift announced her second re-recorded album, Red (Taylor's Version), a re-recording of Swift's fourth studio album Red (2012), for release on November 12, 2021.[5] It contains both the re-recorded version of the fan-favorite track "All Too Well" and its 10-plus-minute-long, uncut version as a bonus track "from the vault".[6][7] All Too Well: The Short Film is a dramatized account of the incidents and dynamics of the relationship described in the song.[8] Swift said the film was an expression of her gratitude to her fans for their reception to the song over the years.[9]

On November 11, 2021, Swift revealed via her social media accounts that All Too Well: The Short Film was shot on 35mm film by cinematographer Rina Yang.[10] On a Late Night with Seth Meyers episode on November 12, Swift stated she cast Sink and O'Brien because they were the only two people she imagined playing the roles. Swift added that she is a huge fan of O'Brien's works and that she would not have proceeded with making the film had Sink turned down the offer. Swift explained, "I like working with friends or people who I think would be excited about working with me. I've never made a short film before. I needed to reach out to people who would maybe believe that I was capable with it. I'm just blown away by what [Sink and O'Brien] did—they went out and left it all on the field".[11] Swift further revealed that Sink and O'Brien "were so electric and [improvising] a lot of what they were doing that we just couldn't take the camera off [them]".[2]

Release[edit]

On November 5, 2021, Good Morning America revealed a teaser for a short film written and directed by Swift, titled All Too Well, based on the song.[12][13] The teaser featured a vintage car driving down on a quiet road surrounded by autumnal trees, as well as the names of the cast members.[10]

The film's world premiere took place on November 12 at the AMC Theatres in Lincoln Square, New York City[14] with an audience that included Swift, Sink, O'Brien, friends of Swift, journalists, critics, and handpicked fans.[8] Each audience member received an autographed movie poster and a custom packet of tissues.[15] Swift performed "All Too Well (10 Minute Version)" in the theatre after the screening.[16] The film was later released on the same day on YouTube, 19 hours after the album's release at midnight.[17]

Swift will appear at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival for a special screening of the short film and a conversation about her filmmaking process.[18]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Swift's direction was praised by critics.

The film received positive reviews from critics. Variety critic Ramin Setoodeh dubbed the short film "a music video on steroids meets a Noah Baumbach movie".[7] Brittany Spanos of Rolling Stone called it a "dramatic and moving" film that "digs deep into heartache and scarf lore".[19] Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Jessica Derschowitz and Jason Lamphier stated All Too Well: The Short Film depicts a blooming romance, and "how fractured it is before it eventually falls apart".[16] Rhian Daly of NME said the film underscores "the emotional power of [Swift's] storytelling" with a "devastating" cinematography.[20] The Hollywood Reporter's Lexy Perez opined that All Too Well: The Short Film chronicles "the rise and fall of a relationship" between the lead characters, exploring the couple's first "blissful moments of new love" till their downfall and separation.[21]

Shane Romanchick of Collider wrote, "This is a film that recontextualizes how relationships, through all their painful and rose-colored moments, help us grow to be better people. Even though the other person may have hurt us in an unforgivable way, we would not be the same if we did not have that experience to learn from. The bittersweet ending of this particular somber tale reminds us that the other person might have gone through the same revelation as well".[22] Karl Quinn, in his review for The Sydney Morning Herald, complimented the "gorgeously cliched Notebook-style" screenplay, Swift's direction, and the "finely tuned" performances of Sink and O'Brien.[23] Film critic Steve Pulaski said All Too Well: The Short Film is "a bold, brilliant work that illustrates the ongoing maturation of Swift as more than a singer-songwriter" and dubbed her "an impeccably gifted storyteller with her detail-oriented narratives". He also praised Rina Yang's "gorgeous autumnal" cinematography.[24]

Accolades[edit]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Art Directors Guild Awards March 5, 2022 Excellence in Production Design for a Music Video Ethan Tobman, Mila Khalevich, Emil Pilosov Won

Impact[edit]

Publications have described the short film as one of the biggest newsmakers and pop culture moments of 2021.[25][26][27][28] Google searches of Sink and O'Brien reached an all-time high after the film's release.[29] Canadian singer Michael Bublé, in the music video for his 2022 single "I'll Never Not Love You," referenced and recreated iconic "love scenes" from various movies with his wife, Luisana Lopilato; it included All Too Well: The Short Film, with Bublé as Him and Lopilato as Her.[30] The Department of English of the Queen's University at Kingston, a public research university in Ontario, Canada, offers a fall semester course titled "Taylor Swift's Literary Legacy (Taylor's Version)", with a syllabus requiring students to analyse many of Swift's works, such as All Too Well: The Short Film, to understand its literary references and sociopolitical relevance in contemporary culture.[31]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ At the red carpet premiere, when asked if his character was based on American actor Jake Gyllenhaal, whom the song is speculated to be about, O'Brien said that his character's name is Brandon.[3][4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b White, Abbey (November 12, 2021). "Taylor Swift Reveals Story of 'All Too Well' 10-Minute Version". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 25, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Doria, Matt (November 13, 2021). "Watch Taylor Swift's heart-wrenching short film 'All Too Well'". NME. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  3. ^ LaMantia, Brooke (November 12, 2021). "Waiting for Taylor's Version Was Worth It". The Cut. Archived from the original on November 13, 2021. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  4. ^ "Dylan O'Brien Takes On Jake Gyllenhaal Comparisons in 'All Too Well' Short". Extra. November 12, 2021. Archived from the original on November 13, 2021. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  5. ^ Mier, Tomás (September 30, 2021). "Taylor Swift Announces That Her Red Re-Recording Is Coming a 'Week Earlier Than Scheduled'". People. Retrieved November 5, 2021.
  6. ^ Haylock, Zoe; Squires, Bethy (August 6, 2021). "Taylor Swift Made Fans Work to Uncover the Red Bonus Tracks". Vulture.com. Archived from the original on August 5, 2021. Retrieved November 5, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Willman, Chris (November 4, 2021). "Taylor Swift Locks Down Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers Appearances for 'Red' Release Night". Variety. Archived from the original on November 4, 2021. Retrieved November 7, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Willman, Chris (November 13, 2021). "Taylor Swift Offers Peek Into Her Past With 'All Too Well: The Short Film'". Variety. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  9. ^ Derschowitz, Jessica; Lamphier, Jason (November 12, 2021). "Taylor Swift premieres All Too Well short film with performance of 10-minute version of song that inspired it". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  10. ^ a b Bowenbank, Starr (November 11, 2021). "Here's Exactly When (and Where) Fans Can Watch Taylor Swift's 'All Too Well' Short Film". Billboard. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  11. ^ Monteil, Abby (November 12, 2021). "Taylor Swift Opens Up About Making 'All Too Well: The Short Film,' Shades Jake Gyllenhaal During Late Night Appearances". Decider.com. Archived from the original on November 12, 2021. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  12. ^ Martoccio, Angie (November 5, 2021). "Grab Your Red Scarves: Taylor Swift Teases 'All Too Well' Short Film". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 5, 2021.
  13. ^ Willman, Chris (November 5, 2021). "Taylor Swift Enlists Sadie Sink, Dylan O'Brien for 'All Too Well' Short Film". Variety. Retrieved November 5, 2021.
  14. ^ Calvario, Liz; Seemaye, Zach (November 11, 2021). "Taylor Swift Celebrates 'Red (Taylor's Version)'". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  15. ^ Zoladz, Lindsay (November 15, 2021). "Taylor Swift's 'All Too Well' and the Weaponization of Memory". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  16. ^ a b Derschowitz, Jessica; Lamphier, Jason Lamphier (November 12, 2021). "Taylor Swift premieres All Too Well short film with performance of 10-minute version of song that inspired it". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  17. ^ Lynch, Joe (November 5, 2021). "Taylor Swift Reveals 'All Too Well' Short Film Is Coming Very Soon". Billboard. Retrieved November 5, 2021.
  18. ^ Bowenbank, Starr (May 2, 2022). "Taylor Swift to Discuss & Screen 'All Too Well: The Short Film' at Tribeca Festival". Billboard. Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  19. ^ Spanos, Brittany (November 12, 2021). "Taylor Swift Digs Deep Into Heartache and Scarf Lore With 'All Too Well' Short Film". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on November 13, 2021. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  20. ^ Daly, Rhian (November 13, 2021). "Taylor Swift's 'All Too Well' short film highlights the emotional power of her storytelling". NME. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  21. ^ Perez, Lexy (November 13, 2021). "Taylor Swift Releases 'All Too Well' Short Film". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  22. ^ Romanchick, Shane (November 13, 2021). "'All Too Well': Taylor Swift Releases Short Film Starring Sadie Sink and Dylan O'Brien". Collider. Archived from the original on November 14, 2021. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  23. ^ Quinn, Karl (November 16, 2021). "Taylor Swift's All Too Well short film: On controlling the narrative and having the last word". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on November 16, 2021. Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  24. ^ "All Too Well: The Short Film (2021)". StevePulaski.com. Archived from the original on November 13, 2021. Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  25. ^ Andrew, Scottie; Asmelash, Leah. "The pop culture moments of 2021 we couldn't forget if we tried". CNN. Retrieved December 30, 2021.
  26. ^ Ruiz, Michelle (December 15, 2021). "The 10 best pop-culture moments of 2021". Vogue India. Retrieved December 30, 2021.
  27. ^ Ruggieri, Melissa. "Ye's 'Donda' rollout, Adele's triumphant return and more of 2021's biggest music moments". USA TODAY. Retrieved December 30, 2021.
  28. ^ "How Taylor Swift reclaimed 2012 to win 2021". Los Angeles Times. December 17, 2021. Retrieved December 30, 2021.
  29. ^ Flanagan, Hanna (November 23, 2021). "Taylor Swift's Red (Taylor's Version) Causes Google Searches for Red Lipstick and Red Scarves to Spike". People. Archived from the original on November 23, 2021. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  30. ^ Lee Lenker, Maureen (February 22, 2022). "All the romantic films Michael Bublé recreates all too well in his new music video". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  31. ^ "Cultural Studies: Theory into Practice | Department of English". Queen's University at Kingston. Archived from the original on May 9, 2022. Retrieved May 9, 2022.

External links[edit]