‘All Too Well: The Short Film’ — romance to ruins

Taylor Swift’s genius further explored


Still from “All Too Well: The Short Film”

Johanna Kaplan

Eloquently stated by poet Pablo Neruda, “Love is so short, forgetting is so long,” this quote kicks off Taylor Swift’s latest project. Upon the release of her newest album, “Red (Taylor’s Version,” Swift graced fans with “All Too Well: The Short Film.”

The film stars Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien as a young couple whose romance turns sour. The production was directed and written by Swift herself and features the ten minute version of her song “All Too Well.” 

The 15-minute film has seven parts — all coming together to tell the story of a crumbling relationship. 

The first few clips showcase the couple’s blissful phase, with plenty of heartwarming affection. These clips are realistic and raw, blending together beautifully to create a vivid emotional experience. All is well for the first two minutes of the film. But don’t be fooled, chaos ensues shortly thereafter. 

The first hint at disaster occurs three minutes in when O’Brien won’t let Sink hold his hand in a public setting. He goes on to completely ignore her, leaving her to feel confused and hurt. 

Tensions build up to a fight scene between the two, where the song stops and viewers are left to watch a heartbreaking moment. Pausing the music was an effective way to grab the attention of viewers. This scene was painstakingly realistic — I even found myself forgetting it was fictional. I became increasingly worried for Sink’s character, who was the subject of gaslighting and emotional abuse. 

This scene was improvised which proves that Sink and O’Brien’s talent for acting is out of this world. They both conveyed their characters’ frustrations with one another flawlessly. Not only this, but they displayed terrific chemistry together, making this duo the perfect casting choice.

Besides the acting, my other favorite aspect of this film was its cinematography, done by Rina Yang. Every shot within this film is absolutely stunning, due in no small part to its lighting and craft. It was shot in a 35mm Kodak film with plenty of close-ups. This allows for an up-close and personal viewing experience. Considering the subtleties and spot-on facial expressions on behalf of the actors, the 35 mm Kodak was a great choice. 

This short film is deeply emotional and does not fall short in conveying its heavy themes to viewers. The sheer brilliance Swift possesses never fails to leave me speechless. Her writing ability not only shines through in songwriting but screenwriting as well. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for the future. 

“All Too Well: The Short Film”: ★★★★★