Sorry Harry. Put on some Wrangler's and a flannel. You know you want to! And Chris P., please 86 that shoulder length hair-do. It makes you look like a lady tennis player. Or more precisely: Baba Wawa.
Time for a Liberace break!
First of all Taylor: GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY HALL PASS, BEEOTHCH!
Oh, I mean...Ms. Swift, would you kindly step away from the Gyllenhaal? Oh wait, you did...but then you didn't...because you re-released this song that is purportedly about him and your apparently traumatizing break-up. You also made a video about it. Oh, wait, I mean a "short film." A short film, set to the song, more or less, which, technically is a long-form music video; is it not? Well, before I launch into my criticis--uhh, "analysis" of this project; let's all watch it shall we? So, grab yourself a cup of coffee. One cup of coffee (I'll get to that later) and we'll meet back here in about fifteen minutes!
Taylor made some recordings earlier in her career over which she did not have complete creative control. So, now that she's a SUPERSTAR and has the creative power, she re-recorded some of these songs and released them on a new album. One of these songs is "All Too Well"; which, as I've mentioned, is supposedly about her break-up with Jake Gyllenhaal back in 2010. She was 20ish at the time and he was almost 30 (my facts might be faulty here; but we're not talking about the Magna Carta, right?). Apparently, Jake has denied that the song is about him. But if you watch Ms. Swift's "short film," it seems as though she's doing everything she can to bolster the implication that it's about Jake. She mentions in the song that her paramour has a "sister." Now, we all know Jake has a sister. In fact, a famous sister. Not quite of the magnitude of her brother; but a star none the less. However, if the song isn't about Jake and is perhaps about John Mayer, another of Ms. Taylor's boyfriends; he has a half-sister. But wouldn't she have written the lyric as "half sister"? Probably not. And she's had quite a few male companions, many, I assume, who have a sister. I would do the research; but I'm not quite that invested in this. I am neither a "Swiftie" or a "Tayordle." Don't ask.
Her music seems to be exclusively about young, white, teen-age, first-world girls and their problems with boys. Which I guess would be her problems. And boy, does she seem to have problems! However, in her defense, she is a Sagittarius (as is Jake (and yours truly). We archers tend to grow restless and move on from relationships when we realize that they're not really working. Taylor knows this; which is why I thinks it's rather unfair (and decidedly un-Sagittarian) to still be bitching about a failed relationship from more than a decade ago. Actually, she's milking it, isn't she? According to my niece, the video--err--short film is loaded with "Easter eggs."
The Red Scarf
So, according to my niece (her name is Kasey), the red scarf in the video is a metaphor. Or a symbol. Or whatever. And what does it represent? Nothing less than Ms. Swift's virginity!!!
They are known as "Him" and "Her." And then, later on, there's "Her Later On" and "Him Later On." So are "Him" and "Her" supposed to be some sort of archetypes? Well, since Taylor wrote it and directed it, her choice to make them anonymous seems to me a rather bald attempt at trying to get people to try and guess who "Him" and "Her" actually are in real life. Which, if you ask me, is more than a little coy. I think we can safely assume that "Her" is meant to be Ms. Swift, as Ms. Swift actually plays "Her Later On" later on in the movie. She's inexplicably made herself an authoress in the context of the film. She's written a rather slim tome entitled "All Too Well" which features a wintry tree with a red scarf caught in one of the branches. We see her reading to a group of moony women who seem to hang on Her Later On's every word...although we never hear these words. Is this a soft launch for a new career for Ms. Swift? Novella-ist?
Sure, let's go with that.
Let's take a bit of a deeper dive into the short film that is "All Too Well," shall we?
So, our couple, so deeply enamored of one another, take "An Upstate Escape" in the first section of the film. This is where Her sings to us that she left her red scarf at Him's sister's house and that he still has it in his drawer. Well, if they broke up; how could she possibly know this?
Cut to an oh so perfect, vintage Mercedes sedan coursing down a sylvan back-road as autumn leaves swirl in the wind.
So, like, what's going on here? Is it me or do these photos seem staged? Like, they are totally aware there's a photographer lurking around. They could've ditched him or her down a back-alley...or lost them in the park...or jumped in a cab. Or called an Uber. Oh, wait, did they have Uber in 2010? It just screams "Photo Op" to me. I mean, they were out and about long enough to get a cup of coffee. A single cup of coffee. We're they sharing it? Whose coffee is it? They are both holding it at different times. Who shares a cup of coffee? I mean, on a first date? Where does the shopping bag go? Did they get the one cup of coffee and then pop into a bodega to pick up a can of Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce, because it just didn't seem like Thanksgiving to Taylor without it? Is there a box of Stove Top stuffing in there? Or maybe it's a pumpkin pie because absent minded Jake forgot to stop at the bakery and pick up the one his sister had ordered. But maybe Taylor is allergic to pumpkins so they got Key Lime instead...? I mean, the more I look at it, the weirder it seems. Like in that last photo. Here Taylor, hold our coffee because my other hand is full and I want to hold your hand over my shoulder...damn, this bag is heavy...did we really need six cans of cranberry sauce? I mean, don't get me wrong...I love cranberry sauce as much as the next guy...but I mean, this is enough to last us until Thanksgiving of 2021...
During the Upstate Escape, we see Him and Her arriving at the grounds of what I think we're to assume is his sister's property. We get a classic walking in the autumn woods love-fest and then an extended kiss where the camera swirls around the couple. A nod to Brian De Palma perhaps?
The next section of the film is "The First Crack In the Glass." We see "Him" and "Her" at a dinner table. Him is regaling the guests with an apparently hilarious anecdote, as Her sits to his left. Rather far to his left, as though she's isolated from everyone else. Her takes Him's hand and he rebuffs her and condescendingly pats her paw. She throws him some Fire and Ice red-lipsticked shade as lyrics talk about his mother talking about Him's stint on a Tee-Ball team.
Couple of problems here. Firstly, no one at the table could possibly be Him's mother, as the actors all appear to be in their mid to late 20's. And I highly doubt that Jake Gyllenhaal, who was born in 1980, would have been on a Tee-Ball team, as that sport didn't become popular on a wide scale in this country until at least the 90's. I mean, maybe Jake played tee-ball when he was a teen-ager...I'll allow Ms. Swift the benefit of the doubt here.
Next, we're back in the Mercedes. Him seems perturbed about something and as Her climbs out of the front passenger seat, Him tosses the car keys at her. Or onto the ground at her feet. It's rather ambiguous. I mean, was he tossing her the keys and she forgot how to catch things; or is he angrily throwing them at her feet. And if so, why? The story-line of the film gives us no indication and the lyrics from the song are equally ambiguous: "...And you were tossing me the car keys, "Fuck the patriarchy" Key chain on the ground..."
I mean, what does that mean?
Next we watch as Him angrily shouts into a smart phone and then looks at Her portentously. Then, we come to our first dialogue scene.
CUT TO: INT. KITCHEN -NIGHT
HER is at the counter, scraping dinner plates as HIM joins her with more dirty dishes and places them in the sink.
HIM: Why are you so pissed off?
HER: Who said I was pissed off?
Oh, wait a minute...I just learned from HIM himself that nothing in the movie was scripted and that HIM and Her improvised all the dialogue; which, if true, begs the question as to how Ms. Swift claims "writer" credits. But I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. Mr. Dylan O' Brien, who plays HIM and we're to assume Mr. Gyllenhaal, has also played a teen-age werewolf at some point in his career. He uses the F word a good dozen times in this scene and sports a beard and comes across not unlike a twenty-something werewolf.
And then again:
To be continued...in a whole different blog...because, believe it or not, I've got a lot more to say about this! So, see my NEXT BLOG!