Taylor Swift has taken the internet by storm with Red (Taylor’s Version), the re-recording of her 2012 album. This has additional tracks that had never been heard before, including one very important 10 minute version of the fan-favourite All Too Well. Swift has teased for years that there was an original, longer version of the song, which we Swifties have been manifesting to get for a long time. Let me tell you: after hearing it, I might be okay, but I’m not fine at all!
On the same day of release, Taylor premiered her new short film titled All Too Well: The Short Film which stars Dylan O’Brien, Sadie Sink, and Swift, who also wrote and directed the movie. The heartbreaking, beautifully shot video shows a young woman navigating a tumultuous relationship with an older man, ending in a painful breakup and, ultimately, a fresh start. She perfectly managed to translate the vivid imagery of her lyrics onto the screen. Would you expect anything less from Miss Taylor Alison Swift?
And like any piece of content Tay Tay puts out into the world, there are Easter eggs sprinkled all over. Of course, the eagle-eyed fans wasted no time to dive in for a clue-hunting challenge in this nearly 15-minute film.
So grab your red scarf and keep scrolling to discover any detail you might have missed the first time around. And be prepared to get in your feelings all over again!
1. The Cast’s Ages
Before we even get into the video itself, Swift made a very deliberate choice casting the roles in her film. It’s been a long-held belief by fans that All Too Well was written about the singer’s relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal. Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien play the love interests in the “All Too Well” short film. Sadie is 19 and Dylan is 30, which is very similar to Taylor and Jake’s age gap when they dated. Coincidence? I think not. This age difference works as an effective symbol for the power dynamic that a young woman would face against a man going into his 30s.
If the film’s visuals don’t illustrate the age difference enough, the song itself has additional lyrics like, “I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age” and “You said if we had been closer in age maybe it would have been fine”.
2. A 1989 Mercedes-Benz
The Easter eggs continue and go as far as the props used in the film. The car which the main characters drive upstate is a Mercedes-Benz manufactured in 1989. Apart from 1989 being Taylor’s birth year, fans are speculating this reference to be a nod to the next possible re-recording of her biggest pop album 1989. Swift seemed to confirm this theory by commenting on a fan’s TikTok.
“Can’t stop won’t stop being cryptic and weird- that’s just the beginning. It’s gonna be a fun week 😆😆😆😆“.
3. Sadie’s Full Wine Glass at the Dinner Party
During the majority of Swift’s relationship with Gyllenhaal, she was 20 years old, while he was 29. She once told Rolling Stone in 2012 that she had her first drink ever on her 21st birthday. “I knew I couldn’t get away with it until then”, she said. “I didn’t really care to know what I was missing, and I knew it was illegal, and that my luck would be that I’d get caught.”
As the camera pans around to Dylan and his friends laughing and talking at the dinner party, almost everyone’s wine glasses are half or completely empty, except for Sadie’s. The wine glasses serve to hammer home the idea of the age and maturity imbalance between the couple.
4. The reference to “Champagne Problems”
During the dinner table scene, Her reaches for His’ hand. But he mindlessly drops it, amplifying her feelings of exclusion. Following this, while arguing in the kitchen, at one point she furiously yells, “You dropped my fucking hand.” This might be a callback to the lyrics of Evermore’s Champagne Problems, “Because I dropped your hand while dancing.”
5. The Colour Contrast in the Kitchen
Of course, the short film wouldn’t be complete without the couple “dancing ’round the kitchen in the refrigerator light,” would it? If you look closely, you can notice the contrast between the blue refrigerator light behind Dylan and the warm golden sunlight through the window cast over Sadie.
An eagle-eyed fan pointed out on Twitter that this might be a visual representation of the characters’ personalities. The blue light represented his coldness and the yellow hue represented her warmth of love. While dancing, the room was completely yellow and suddenly the blue colour was added, meaning that Dylan’s character was beginning to fall out of love.
6. Solving a Crossword
We see that O’Brien and Sink’s characters spend one scene lounging in bed and laughing over what sure looks like a crossword puzzle. Sounds familiar? It is a subtle nod to a lyric from the album’s title track – “Fighting with him was like trying to solve a crossword and realizing there’s no right answer.”
7. The Birthday Party Scene
In an interview with Yahoo, Taylor previously said “The Moment I Knew was a song about my 21st birthday party, which was the worst experience ever.” She was dating Gyllenhaal at the time, who was a no-show to the festivities. The birthday party scene in the short film brings to life this very narrative of the 17th track on Red.
8. The Gift Wrapped in Red
A Swiftie pointed out on Twitter that a gift box wrapped in red in the birthday party scene had featured in a TikTok of Taylor’s 21 days before the album’s release.
This box also later appeared in the I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version) music video. Inside was the same red scarf that Sink wore in All Too Well: The Short Film, which Swift famously says she left at her ex’s sister’s house. It is evident from this visual connection that the song was inspired by the same man as All Too Well.
9. Same Plaid Shirt
The fifth chapter of the short film, “The Reeling”, sees Her struggling to move on from the relationship post-split. As she’s tossing and turning in her bed, she’s seen wearing His plaid shirt from their “Upstate Escape” at the beginning of the video. This is a clear reference to the song’s lyrics: “After plaid-shirt days and nights when you made me your own”.
10. Swift could be hinting about a book in her real future.
Tay Tay might have chosen to fast forward 13 years simply because it’s her lucky number. But some fans think it holds more significance than what meets the eye. All Too Well was only released in 2012, which leaves three years unaccounted for. Interestingly, in a Jimmy Fallon interview, Swift mentioned that she’d like to explore the possibility of hinting at something three years in advance.
All of this boils down to one theory. Taylor Swift is getting ready to release a book in 2025 – perhaps meaning 13 years after the first release of All Too Well. She’s an amazing storyteller, and would no doubt come up with an amazing plot full of metaphors and symbolism.
11. The Book Cover Design
There’s even more hints to 1989 (Taylor’s Version) in here. The cover of the main character’s All Too Well book has a striking resemblance to one version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. This could be a potential Easter egg for what’s coming next.
Moreover, Taylor has a song titled Wonderland which explores a similarly doomed relationship on borrowed time. She also used Alice in Wonderland-esque language in her interview with Jimmy Fallon, like “down the rabbit hole” and “we’re all mad here“.
12. The Note Taylor Left in the All Too Well Book
Swift seemed to have teased the All Too Well book as well as the lyrics to the song in her TikTok montage about fall posted in October. She included a short snippet of her writing the words, “Just between us, did the love affair maim you too?” We now know this is from All Too Well (10 Minute Version). And the book she’s writing in is the blue-covered All Too Well novel.
13. The Casting of “Him, Later On”
At the end of the film in the “Thirteen Years Gone” segment, we see a man from the back wearing Swift’s old scarf, gazing at her through a window. According to the credits, the actor playing the role of “Him, later on” is Jake Lyon. This could be a dig at Jake Gyllenhaal and his lies.
For such a simple shot where the man’s face isn’t even visible, it doesn’t make much sense to go through the trouble of casting a different actor. Taylor could have easily filmed the back of Dylan’s head and no one would have noticed. But she purposefully used someone else with a very interesting name.
Watching this film, I’ve sung, screamed and cried. It truly is a masterpiece. And what makes it so great is the way Taylor included all the small details, references, and Easter eggs. HER MIND. Honestly!
Did you come up with any other theories from All Too Well: The Short Film? Let us know in the comments below.
If you liked this, check out our blog on 13 Taylor Swift songs that prove she runs the music industry.