10 minutes is a long time for a song, but Taylor Swift’s 10 minute version of All Too Well wasn’t a song—it was a story.
More importantly, the song was a lesson, illustrating Taylor Swift’s unhealthy relationship, almost to warn her audience as much as to provide them with a relatable tune.
In late 2010, Taylor Swift, who was 20 at the time, began dating Jake Gyllenhaal, 29 at the time.
Their relationship lasted around three months and the Red album features details about its life.
Arguably most famous, at least in her re-release of the album, is All Too Well, a song that shook listeners the first time around, but kept true fans up until midnight on November 12, 2021 to hear an extended version.
With the original clocking in at 5 minutes and 26 seconds, a 10 minute and 10 second version painted a much more vivid picture of what went wrong.
Further, this story was accompanied with the release of a short film, featuring Sadie Sink as Taylor and Dylan O’Brien as Jake.
It was in this film that the story was brought to life and the song was exposed for being far deeper than a simple breakup anthem.
Perhaps the most evident foreshadowing occurred at the dinner scene, in which Taylor was next to Jake and both were surrounded by laughing and giggling characters as the words, “The first crack in the glass” were painted across the screen.
Taylor looks visibly uncomfortable, and Jake is oblivious, wine glass in hand. When he puts the glass down, Taylor reaches for his hand looking for reassurance, and he drops her fingers back on the table, rejecting her request.
Seems simple. Not a big deal. Right?
Wrong. This comes back to haunt him later.
In the next scene, the lyrics, “You were tossing me the car keys/Fuck the patriarchy,” are recited as Jake becomes visibly angry, parks the car in the middle of a forested road, and proceeds to toss Taylor the keys to get back in the car as he yells at whoever is on the other end of the his cell phone.
The contrast between the beauty of the setting and what can only be described as the sheer ugliness of Jake’s nature, create a dichotomy that embellishes the way that he used intimidation to manipulate her behaviour, almost disciplinarily.
Eventually, he hangs up the phone and gets back in the car, where he and Taylor are seen, foreheads pressed together, sharing a moment of calm, as if tensions had not been high just minutes prior, as the music comes to a halt.
At this point, in the absence of music, Jake’s behaviour at the dinner table is brought up after he accuses Taylor of acting “pissed off” while cleaning the dishes after the party. She expresses concerns about how he ignored her the entire time, and did not make her feel comfortable.
It was in this moment that Jake said, “I don’t think I’m making you feel that way, I think you’re making yourself feel that way,” after Taylor expressed to Jake that he was making her feel stupid, that we can clearly see the ignition of what some would consider gaslighting.
From skipping her 21st birthday to using affection and empty apologies to silence her concerns regarding his behaviour towards her, Jake displayed countless red flags, which all became much more visible following their breakup, in which Taylor quotes Jake with the line, “You said if we had been closer in age maybe it would have been fine.”
And yet, after recovery, Taylor still came out on top and proceeded to tell her story.
Elegantly crafted and eloquently executed, All Too Well’s newest identity was everything its audience needed from one of the most respected and credible names in music and its public eye.
A warning, lesson, and message of hope, just like her relationship with Gyllenhaal, it will be remembered all too well.