Daydream with me as I create movie plots based on T-Swift lyrics
By: Mariana Schuetze
Songwriting and storytelling are often intertwined. I’ve noticed that a lot of my favourite songs tell a story. The songs that I can't get out of my head are usually the ones that make me daydream. Those are the songs that bring me into a new world, make me create characters in my head and make me feel as if I was watching a film. As a storyteller myself, I am here to share with you what I think these lyrics could look like as a movie.
And since we're talking about storytelling in songs, why not focus on one of the best songwriters of our generation? So… welcome to my list of Taylor Swift lyrics as movie plots.
"I'm spilling wine in the bathtub. You kiss my face and we're both drunk." - “Dress,” off of Reputation
“Dress” is one of Taylor's sexiest songs. Therefore, I picture "Dress: The Movie" as an R-Rated Netflix Original. Imagine that a 22-year-old woman is our main character and she loves to party. Coincidentally, that’s exactly how she meets her latest romantic interest,“Flashback to when you met me. Your buzz cut, my hair bleached.” This relationship is definitely the most exciting one that she’s ever had. She’s always been the kind of person who can have fun anywhere and with anyone. But with this new partner, she’s on a non-stop fun ride. The movie, then, will follow our main character on all her exciting escapades, with her newest beau as well as her old lovers.
"Our secret moments. In a crowded room." The climax of this movie is during one of their biggest adventures. During a role-playing game, our main characters end up at a fancy hotel bar, pretending to be strangers. In some ways, they recreate their first meeting,and with all that tension between them still there, they end up having the time of their lives as they get to know each other in different ways. They then go up to the hotel room and repeat that first night together all over again. As you can imagine, this scene definitely solidifies the movie’s need for an ‘R’ rating, as most of our main character’s activities are not very PG-13. Still, by the end of the film, we see all these electrifying adventures transform into an intense and beautiful relationship. “My one and only, my lifeline.”
"Mr. Looked-Me-in-the-Eye-and-Told-Me-You-Would-Never-Go-Away" - “Mr. Perfectly Fine (Taylor's Version) (From the Vault),”off of Fearless (Taylor's Version)
Opening scene: Sharing looks from across the hallway on the first day of freshman year. He was a junior and “way too cool” for our main character. But, at a house party, he (secretly) proclaimed his love to her and promised that they would be “together forever.” Of course, they were together for the rest of their… summer. Once school was back in session, the boyfriend moved on to focusing more on his friends and hobbies. Every day after school, he would either be on the field practicing soccer or in a garage rehearsing with his band. After a while, and with the help of many journal reflections and some ice cream, our main character is able to translate all the emotions she’s feeling —rage, anger, happiness, disgust, sadness, envy, and relief — into art. As a painter, she soon discovers a way to overcome her first heartbreak. Although she painted a lot more as a young girl, she had to let her painting aspirations go due to her new relationship. Now, alone, she is back to using art to capture her emotions on a canvas.
Throughout the new school year, she starts focusing on painting and soon becomes quite popular. Everyone at the school wants her to paint their notebooks. She starts selling some of her paintings and even gets an art piece shown at a local gallery. This movie is about her adventures during that year, including the challenges, the achievements and the failures. Her first sold piece is titled “Mister Perfectly Fine.” A portrait of just a plain white guy, with a perfectly fine smile, on a white canvas.
“Were you standing in the hallway with a big cake? Happy birthday” - “coney island (feat. The National),” off of evermore
This film, to me, is more of an Academy-Award-Nominated type of movie. It is quite dense, and it will undoubtedly put you through a rollercoaster of emotions. Our main character, the boyfriend, fell out of love. He was once deeply in love, but one day, his heart just stopped feeling the same. This movie takes you through his thought process and many therapy sessions that led to him breaking up with his girlfriend of four years. At his birthday party.
She was right there, with his friends behind her, holding a birthday cake. At his surprise party. That was literally the moment where he thought, “Oh shit, I do not love her as much as she needs me to…” In some ways, this song does make me feel a little sorry for the guy, which is why I picture this film from his point of view (also, just to, like, shake things up). By the end of the film, you will probably be asking yourself why you were rooting for this guy and also what you were doing watching this movie anyway?
“I’m doing good I’m on some new shit” - “the 1,” off of folklore
From its very first lyric, “the 1” reads a lot like a coming-of-age narrative. The main character just graduated from university. They studied English and now work as a writer for a literary review magazine. During their time in school, they were in a long-term relationship. Soon after they both graduated, the relationship fell apart. They loved their partner immensely, but they realized the relationship was contained to the confines of the university environment. So, they quickly left and moved on with their life, though they still miss those fun times. “We were something, don’t you think so?”
As a working adult, fresh out of university, they are building their life; working, living by themselves and meeting people around town. “I’m doing good, I'm on some new shit.” By the end of the film, we’ll have learned from them, laughed with them, cried with them, and we’ll eve get to see them finding themselves and their “new shit.”
"Barefoot in the kitchen. Sacred new beginnings. That became my religion." - “Cornelia Street,” off of Lover
To continue the pattern of giving each song a movie genre, this quote reminds me of a rom-com scene. Just two kids dancing barefoot in the kitchen, praying that the moment never ends. In this film, we see the couple meeting for the first time. It was love at first sight, of course. Then, it goes right into their first night together — when they went back to her place on Cornelia Street. The film is entirely set on that fateful night. ow they took a taxi back home;How they talked and talked for hours, but it was also minutes and seconds and years — all at the same time. Then they drank more. They danced. They sang. They slept together. It is beautiful and fun and exactly what you expect from a Taylor Swift-inspired rom-com.
And, like a true rom-com, this movie ends on a hopeful note. You do see what their life can look like after the date is done, but in the very end, she wakes up in her bed still on that date, and wonders what the future holds.
“Karma is the breeze in my head on the weekend” - “Karma,” off of Midnights
And last but not least, a truly fun film. This is that one film you always watch with your friends when you’re a little wine drunk on a Thursday night. That one film that doesn’t fail to put a smile on your face and make you want to get up and just dance. When listening to “Karma,” not only did its stories feel like they could truly be from a film about two people just having fun, but it also sounded like the perfect soundtrack for those moments.
In “Karma: A Trip to Remember,” the main character goes on a trip with her friends to Las Vegas. There, they meet so many people and make up entire life stories of the characters they pretend to be at the bar, a game they often play when they travel to spice things up —especially since they will (most likely) never see these people again. Oh, but there is one rule: no phone number or IG handle exchanges allowed.
One time, our main character pretended to be a massage therapist to famous people. She told her "victims" all the people she'd met while working: Rihanna, Olivia Rodrigo, Michelle Obama, Chris Hemsworth… They were all very impressed. That's why she always ended up with the person she wanted. But tonight, as she is pretending to be a wine sommelier at a Michelin-star restaurant, she meets an ambassador to the Queen. They hit it off and it’s all fun and (actual) games until she actually falls in love with this “victim” — who was also pretending to be someone they weren't. Karma.