To celebrate the release of Red (Taylor’s Version) and the short film that accompanies its 10-minute version of fan favorite “All Too Well,” Taylor Swift held a screening of the film — which she wrote and directed — for fans in New York on Friday afternoon (Nov. 12), capping the event with the debut performance of the epic take on the 2012 track.
Fans gathered at the AMC Lincoln Square location in Manhattan and were ushered into one movie theater, where tracks from Red (Taylor’s Version) played onscreen, causing mass sing-alongs to re-recorded versions of “22,” “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “Holy Ground,” among others. Attendees were also handed a packet of All Too Well-branded tissues upon entry, just in case the short film’s emotion walloped them a little too hard.
When Swift arrived at the screening, she introduced the short film as not just a testament to the enthusiasm around her process of re-recording her first six albums, but as a tribute to the longtime fan support for “All Too Well,” a non-single from Red that has morphed into one of her most fiercely beloved tracks.
“I think the most important thing about this project is that this is a song that would not be a special song in every setlist I do, in every single list where someone says what are the best songs she’s ever [made] — that was all because of you,” Swift told the fans in attendance. “That was because you chose this song. A record label didn’t pick this song as a single, we never made a video for it. This was a song that started out as a song on the album, just a simple track 5. … And you went and turned it into what it is now, which honestly, it started out as a song that was my favorite, it was about something very personal to me, it was very hard to perform it live. Now, for me, honestly, this song is 100% about us and for you.”
Before the theater darkened and the short film began, Swift encouraged fans to “feel your feelings” as they watched. “You do not need to be stoic, serious, or anything that you are not if that is not how you want to feel during this. Be yourselves. I love you. I’m going to watch this with you.”
Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien star in the All Too Well short film as a couple whose idyllic romance unexpectedly sours. The 10-minute Swift song soundtracks their tumult, then drops away for an extended interlude focused on a post-dinner argument. At the screening, fans audibly gasped at insensitive remarks made by O’Brien’s character. When the lights came up, multiple audience members were utilizing those branded tissues and choking back sobs.
Swift welcomed Sink and O’Brien up in front of the screen when All Too Well concluded, and the actors praised Swift for her artistry and insight, with O’Brien calling her a “genius.” Then, Swift did something unexpected: She set up a mic, grabbed a guitar, and performed “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” for the first time ever.
Fans in attendance sang along to every word of the version that had just been released hours before. The entire occasion felt intimate and singular, as if Swift knew exactly what type of audience she needed for a film project and performance this singular.
The All Too Well short film will premiere online at 7 p.m. ET on Friday. Swift will also perform “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live on Saturday.