When Taylor Swift announced that she would be releasing not only a 10-minute version of the fan-favorite song “All Too Well”, but a short film to go along with it, fans were excited to say the least. The film was released the day after Red’s re-release, on November 12th. It stars Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink as they experience a passionate, but tumultuous, relationship. The song, and film, are allegedly about actor Jake Gyllenhaal and his relationship with Taylor in 2010.
The short film was immediately praised for the incredible acting from both Sink and O’Brien, as well as the impressive direction from first-time director Taylor Swift. The film is broken into seven parts: An Upstate Escape, The First Crack in the Glass, Are You Real?, The Breaking Point, The Reeling, The Remembering, and Thirteen Years Gone. The last part shows Taylor Swift taking over Sadie’s role, having written a book titled All Too Well. While she is at a book signing, we see the back of Dylan O’Brien’s character’s head as he watches from outside, wearing her scarf from earlier in the film.
After the initial awe from watching the film wore off, Taylor Swift fans got to work analyzing frames and details for easter eggs. Swift is famous for her easter eggs in songs and music videos, so it’s no surprise that her 15-minute film is no exception. If you don’t feel inclined to analyze the film yourself, look no further. Here is a list of the top 13 most interesting easter eggs found (so far) in Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well” short film.
1. Age Gap
The age gap between the actors playing the couple– Sadie Sink (19) and Dylan O’Brien (30) was a controversial point of the film. Many people felt uncomfortable watching the two actors together with such a distinct age gap, while others argued this was the point. The film is allegedly about Swift’s relationship with
Jake Gyllenhaal, who was about 30 at the time of their relationship, while Swift was just turning 21. This accurate depiction of the age gap was noticed by fans almost as soon as the casting choice was announced. Many argue that seeing O’Brien and Sink together was meant to make the viewer uncomfortable, to acknowledge the unbalanced power dynamic in that relationship.
2. The Shirt
A detail that fans noticed after the film aired was that the flannel we see O’Brien’s character wearing in An Upstate Escape is the same one worn later by Sink during The
Reeling, specifically at 9:47. Some fans say this might even be a callback to one of Swift’s other songs, Last Kiss, which included the lyric:
“So I’ll go, sit on the floor wearing your clothes.”
3. Jake Lyon
It was pointed out that Dylan O’Brien is not credited for the final scene where his character is seen watching Swift from the window. Since we only see the back of his head, you don’t know that the actor changed immediately. Instead, this fact is revealed in the credits when it says: “Him, later on: Jake Lyon”. Of course, fans immediately connected this back to the song’s alleged origins about Jake Gyllenhaal.
4. The Giving Tree
Many people noticed the resemblance between the iconic The Giving Tree cover and the cover of the book seen at the end of Swift’s short film. The book is titled All Too Well, and is assumed to be about the relationships shown in the film. Fans saw similarities between the portrayed relationship and The Giving Tree
As a refresher, The Giving Tree is about a boy and tree he knows for his entire life. Throughout his life, he continuously takes from the tree without ever giving anything back. The boy is also referred to as “boy” throughout the entire story, even after he’s grown into an adult man. Many believe that the story told in the short film resembles this dynamic.
5. Jennifer Aniston
In the new ten-minute version of All Too Well, a certain lyric prompted fans to speculate that Jennifer Aniston has a place in this story. Swift sings:
“Some actress asking me what happened, you. that’s what happened: you”
Aniston allegedly gave Swift advice following her break up with Gyllenhaal in 2010. For this reason, some fans think this line could be about her. There isn’t much evidence to base this off of, but it’s a fun thought!
6. Birthday Scenes
There seems to be a likeness between the birthday scene in the “All Too Well” film and in the “Lover” music video. The “All Too Well” film shows the girl celebrating her 21st birthday, surrounded by family and friends, but her boyfriend is missing. She puts on a smile, but everyone can tell something is wrong. On the opposite end of the spectrum, in Swift’s video for her Lover single, we see her celebrating her birthday with only her boyfriend. Here, she seems to be in a much happier and healthier relationship.
7. All’s Well That Ends Well…
Another connection drawn between All Too Well and Lover is in the lyrics of both songs. Again, these lyrics show Swift’s growth and her entering a much healthier relationship where she is happy.
The lyric from “All Too Well” reads:
“All’s well that ends well, but I’m in a new hell every time you double-cross my mind”
In “Lover”, the lyric is:
“All’s well that ends well to end up with you, swear to be overdramatic and true to my lover”
8. Pablo Neruda
At the start of the film, a quote from Pablo Neruda’s poem Tonight I Can Write, appears on screen. It says, “Loving is so short, forgetting is so long”. This quote was originally used in the liner notes for Red in 2012, when it was first released.
9. The Car
It was confirmed that the car we see in An Upstate Escape is a 1989 model, referencing Swift’s album 1989.
10. References to Other Songs
Although the film is titled after the song “All Too Well”, fans noticed similarities between some scenes and lyrics in other Swift songs. I already touched on the reference to “Last Kiss”, but fans also argue that certain scenes make references to “The Moment I Knew”, “The Story of Us”, and “Champagne Problems”. “The Moment I Knew” is also rumored to be about Jake Gyllenhaal, in this case about him not showing up to her 21st birthday party. As I described earlier, we see this scene in the film. In the middle of the film, we see Sink’s character at a party,
standing alone and visibly uncomfortable. Some fans were reminded of the lyric from “The Story of Us”:
“Now I’m standing alone in a crowded room and we’re not speaking, and I’m dying to know if it’s killing you like it’s killing me”
Finally, during arguably the most intense part of the film, Sink and O’Brien’s characters argue about him treating her differently when they are around his friends. She says, “You dropped my fucking hand, what am I supposed to do with that?”
This line reminded many fans of the lyric from “Champagne Problems”:
“Because I dropped your hand while dancing, left you out there standing”
11. Spider-Man Kiss
Okay, stick with me for this one. In the film, Sink and O’Brien recreate one of the most iconic on-screen kisses of all time, called “the spider-man kiss” as it was first seen in 2002’s Spider-Man Movie between Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. Interestingly enough, Gyllenhaal dated Dunst for two years before Swift. In the Spider-Man movies, Dunst’s character tries to re-create this kiss with one of her other love interests, but is disappointed. Some fans speculate that because O’Brien, who is allegedly playing a character based off of Jake Gyllenhaal, initiates the kiss in the All Too Well film, Swift was implying that Gyllenhaal was trying to recreate a love he’d had in the past with her.
12. The Locket
The locket is a recurring symbol in the All Too Well film. We see it hanging in the car during An Upstate Escape, and we see Sink’s character wearing it at her birthday party. The locket is now being sold as official Red merchandise.
13. Crossword Puzzle
In one of the montages, the couple is seen playing a crossword puzzle together. Fans theorize that this might be a reference to the album’s title track, “Red”. In the song, Swift sings:
“Fighting with him was like trying to solve a crossword and realizing there’s no right answer”
I could go on and on with this list, and I’m sure there will be even more discovered as fans of the singer have more time to analyze the video. For now, these are the most fascinating theories I’ve found. Regardless of which ones are true or intentional, it can be said that the new version of the song and the film have left fans more than satisfied.