Tag Archives: review

All Too Well: A Love Letter to Inequality

Whether you’re a Swiftie or an innocent bystander whose TikTok For You page has been hijacked by Swiftok, you might have stumbled across the cinematic masterpiece: All Too Well: The Short Film. The film acts as the music video for the 10-minute version of the marquee song from Red (Taylor’s Version). Swift wrote the song about her relationship with ex-boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal and many fans across the country related to its sincere and gut-wrenching lyrics, but this did not spare the short film from criticism.

Taylor Swift; courtesy Universal Pictures

While the singer is re-releasing albums to create her music the way she intended, Swift was accused of holding grudges and parodied for being vindictive and petty.

 The short film puts those critics to shame by taking the audience on a visceral journey of a toxic relationship through the eyes of the young woman subjected to emotional trauma. Audiences are able to visualize the intricate imagery embedded in the lyrics of the song. Those who criticize Swift for holding a grudge are able to see how deeply painful the act of remembering this period of her life must be, and those who accuse her of fabricating details are reminded that one never forgets trauma inflicted upon them.

The film has sparked a conversation about age gaps in relationships and their impact on an individual. Swift, herself has been criticized for dating Conor Kennedy, who was four years younger, and Taylor Lautner, who was three years younger. However, the bigger criticism was the fact that Swift was an adult dating a teenaged Lautner. It is also worthwhile to note that comparing these relationships to the one with Gyllenhaal is unfair and inherently sexist, especially since their relationship had a nine-year age gap.

Power inequality in a relationship is often experienced when one partner has more power over the other’s emotions, financial security, or life in some severe cases. The inherent toxicity in Swift and Gyllenhaal’s relationship stemmed not only from their age gap but the fact that Swift was in her early twenties while Gyllenhaal was nearly in his thirties. The profound life changes between those decades not only shape you as a person but alter your perspective and outlook on life. Furthermore, there is a profound difference in confidence and comfort with yourself between the two ages. This means the older partner always has the upper hand in contrast to the volatile and emotional younger partner in the relationship.

A scene in the middle of the film highlights this imbalance in the relationship as the younger actress (played by Sadie Sink) fumes about how her older boyfriend failed to pay attention to her during a dinner with his friends. He dismisses her concerns and anger, calls her selfish, and gaslights her emotions. While the fight is resolved after he apologizes, a particularly telling moment is when the young girl says she feels embarrassed and her boyfriend says nothing. His refusal to admit he was wrong and that he has a responsibility to not make her feel isolated, shows he truly is an emotional manipulator whether it is unconscious or not.

The film does a fair job to portray him not as a villain, but rather as a damaged man who is unable to recognize his problematic behavior due to his own trauma. Despite criticism, the film captured the truly flawed nature of human beings and is a  warning to be wary of relationships with age gaps at different stages of their life. It is not different life aspirations as the final nail in the coffin of these relationships, but rather the older partner’s ability to manipulate the younger one’s emotion because they have experienced similar emotions and feelings in the past.

Disney+ a Year Later — Is It Worth It?

We all waited in anticipation on Nov 11, 2019. As the next day would be the launch of the highly anticipated new streaming service from Hollywood’s biggest studio — Disney+.

I remember vibrating with excitement as I typed in my information to create my account. It reminded me of the excitement of buying tickets to see “Avengers: Endgame,” without the anxiety of seats selling out. To commemorate the event, I made Iron Man my profile picture. But now, it’s been over a year. The excitement has worn off, the hype has gone down, so it’s time to reflect and ask ourselves. Was it worth it?

In short, yes. However, it did take a while for audiences to reap the benefits.

Disney’s pride and joy is their catalog, and it’s the main force driving audiences to their app. All the Pixar classics, throwbacks to Disney Channel favorites and Earth’s mightiest heroes. It’s safe to say you can never run out of things to watch.

That is, if you’re not looking for a new original series. In that department, it’s safe to say that Disney is lacking.

Now we all know about their crown jewel, “The Mandalorian,” the western inspired Star Wars series has been the top dog of Disney+ since it’s premiere last year. There’s also “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” and “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” That’s about it in terms of their major new original series.

“Star Wars: The Clone Wars” barely counts considering it was originally made by Cartoon Network, but was canceled when Disney bought Lucasfilms. Unreleased episodes were put onto Netflix as a new season. Then Disney finally decided to revive the show for its final season to draw fans to the app.

Two new series and a new season isn’t too bad. When Netflix first started they only had a few original series, “House of Cards” being the most notable. Amazon Prime Video has a few gems too, “Fleabag,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and “The Boys.”

Is Disney only having three new series really that bad? No, but only one of them has expanded to general audiences – “The Mandalorian.” The other two are for more niche audiences or teenagers and young adults. 

In this day and age, new original series are they key to getting audiences to subscribe to a streaming service. One would think Disney would have plans to roll out more original series to compete with  Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

But, Disney could afford to not launch without a vast collection of new content.

They say nostalgia sells, and Disney has nostalgia on lock. 

Many signed up so they could rewatch shows like “Kim Possible,” “That’s So Raven,” and “Hannah Montana.” (Enormous joy ran through me when I heard the “Wizards of Waverly Place” theme song after all these years.)

This was a chance to return to the shows that made our childhood, to be a kid again. For so long we’ve searched for websites that had the entire series or begged Netflix to add the show, but now we have it all in one place. Although I’m still waiting for “American Dragon: Jake Long” to be added.

Millennials aren’t the only ones who benefit. Parents now have a plethora of Disney & Pixar classics to distract the little ones for a few hours.

With the acquisition of 20th Century, audiences can watch icons such as “The Simpsons,” and holiday favorites like “Home Alone.”

The list goes on and on, and not to mention the celebrity collaborations with Beyoncé and Taylor Swift on their projects “Black is King,” and “Folklore: the Long Pond Studio Sessions,” respectively.

Clearly, Disney should not worry that they don’t have enough for audiences to watch. 

If audiences are craving for new content, they do not have to wait much longer.

When President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, announced the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s phase four lineup, there were several limited series planned for Disney+.

After delays due to COVID-19, the first one up is “WandaVision” premiering on January 15 2021. Coming afterwards will be “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” “Loki,” “She-Hulk”, and “Ms. Marvel,” all of which are scheduled to complete or begin filming in 2021. 

Image courtesy of Marvel

The MCU shows will be a game changer for Disney+, attracting general audiences who love the films and Marvel fans who don’t want to miss a thing.

Signing up for Disney+ on Nov 12 2019 meant waiting a while before we got to the good stuff, but now it’s all about to pay off.

Featured image courtesy of Star Wars: The Clone Wars