Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well: The Short Film” sparks controversy

Jessie Gesund, Writer

After the release of Taylor Swift’s short film for the 10-minute version of her song “All Too Well,” the media went into a frenzy discussing the age gap between the two lead actors. Swift’s fans, more commonly known as Swifties, used social media to share their views on the so-called controversy.

The 15-minute film, written and directed by Swift, stars “Stranger Things” actress Sadie Sink and “Teen Wolf” heartthrob Dylan O’Brien. It takes viewers on the journey of one of Swift’s past heartbreaks, which is rumored to mirror her three-month relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal.

Sink, who is 19 years old, and O’Brien, who is 30 years old, play the parts of two individuals in a romantic relationship, with a variety of shots ranging from them kissing and cuddling to them yelling at each other and ultimately ending the relationship. The 11-year age gap between the actors caused some discomfort to the audience, and Swifties had something to say about it.

The age gap between Sink and O’Brien is said to represent the age gap between Swift and Gyllenhaal. At the time, Swift was 20 years old when she dated 29-year-old Gyllenhaal.

Lyrics in the song such as, “You said if we had been closer in age maybe it would have been fine, and that made me want to die” suggest that the age gap between Swift and Gllenhaal played a large factor in the collapse of their relationship.

Fans on social media discussed if it was right for Swift to display this age gap in her film, feeling conflicted as to whether or not she should have casted Sink and O’brien.

“Taylor Swift casting Sadie and Dylan was just a perfect choice. You’d first think ‘wow she’s a kid and the age gap is kind of uncomfortable’ and then you realize [that] Taylor was around the same age, and it just makes you feel more for her as a 20-year-old girl,” one Twitter user said.

Not to mention the actors, who were hand-picked by Swift, are of legal age and would theoretically be able to date in real life.

Although, their main purpose was to give fans a new, troubling perspective of Swift’s brief relationship, showing that the age gap was, at the time, unnoticeably toxic for the couple and not just Swift “going after older men.”

The difference in age between Sink and O’brien is supposed to make viewers uncomfortable. A large amount of the responses from fans are them reflecting on their own relationships and breakups.

“Wow, wish I [was able to listen] to Taylor Swift when I was 17 so I had something to tell me the 9 year age gap with my then 26-year-old boyfriend was a bit weird,” a Twitter user said.

Swifties are able to decide for themselves whether the age gap was acceptable. However, the casting of the actors wasn’t in their hands. The final cut of the film goes to show that the representation of the age gap was detrimental to the story line and gave viewers a clear understanding of Taylor’s feelings throughout an unhealthy relationship.