Remembering it “All Too Well”
January 7, 2022
On November 12, 2021, Taylor Swift released her rerecording of her version of Red. Along with the album, she released the “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From the vault)” short film. Swifties had a lot to unpack with this short film.
The video stars actors Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien. The video reflects the relationship Swift sings about in the song. The person who the song is said to be about is the famous actor Jake Gyllenhaal. Many hints and clues in the lyrics lead fans to believe this song was about him.
The video starts out with a quote from Pablo Neruda stating, “Love is so short, forgetting is so long.” Swift has said before that this quote has influenced most of her writing of Red. The next scene is of Sink and O’Brien laying in bed facing each other. Sink then goes on to ask, “Are you for real?” She says this because she is so in love with him that she can’t even believe he’s real.
The scene then cuts to the title screen. The next clip goes along with the lyrics, “I walked through the door with you…and I left my scarf there at your sister’s house, and you’ve still got it in your drawer, even now.” Sink walks into the house of O’Brien’s sister and hangs her scarf on the staircase railing, foreshadowing the future of the video.
Next, relating to the lyrics, “…we’re singing in the car getting lost upstate…” the two are driving in the car with the windows down and end up on a walking trail in the woods. She jumps on his back and they are laughing and being playful.
The video cuts to the scene where they are having dinner with his friends, and the words, “The First Crack in the Glass,” appear on the screen. In this scene, the woman goes to grab for his hand to hold it, but he drops it. Next, relating to the lyrics, “…and you were tossing me the car keys…keychain on the ground,” it cuts to a scene where the man seems stressed and gets out of the car yelling on the phone and throws the keys at her.
Going back to the scene where he drops her hand, it cuts to the two in the kitchen as the woman does the dishes. He asks her why she is so angry and she explains that he just dropped her hand in front of everyone and didn’t seem to care that she was even there the whole time. This turns into a huge argument. Finally, the man apologizes and they make up.
The scene cuts and the words, “Are You Even Real?” appear on the screen. In the background, the two are dancing around in the kitchen, only in the refrigerator light. This scene relates to the lyric, “…and there we are again in the middle of the night, we’re dancin’ ‘round the kitchen in the refrigerator light..” Good memories of the two together is what the next clips consist of, relating to her question of if he is even real because it’s too good to be true.
In the next scene, the words, “The Breaking Point,” appear on the screen. The couple seems to be fighting. You can infer in the scene that this is where he breaks up with her, even though it is never directly stated. The scene cuts to the woman crying in bed as he is calling her phone. This relates to the lyric, “…and you call me up again just to break me like a promise..” Next, she appears to be at a party, alone, looking around and comparing herself to the other girls there.
Next, relating to the lyrics, “…you who charmed my dad with self-effacing jokes, sipping coffee like you’re on a late night show…” shows the man and dad of the woman laughing over the table with coffee. The scene abruptly cuts with the woman at the same chair and table, but now with different people at her 21st birthday party. This ties into the lyric, “…but then he watched me watch the front door all night, willing you to come, and he said it’s supposed to be fun turning 21…”
The scene of the woman laying in bed with the words, “The Reeling,” represents the recovering of the heartbreak. Next is the scene with the words, “The Remembering,” with the man walking out in the cold remembering all of their memories together.
In the end, the scene cuts to the words, “Thirteen Years Gone,” with a woman with red hair getting ready for some special event. Then you see that she is at a book reading. The “older” aged version is Taylor Swift. She is representing Sadie Sink thirteen years older. The book is called All Too Well. As she starts to read the book, you can see the man staring outside of the book store’s window watching her, with her old scarf on.
The words that we saw along the video were the chapters of this book. This short film represents exactly the story she was trying to tell in the song. As you watch this, you can truly feel all the emotion. This was written and directed by Taylor Swift, which makes it so much more special.