Taylor Swift Era: Speak Now
Alternate programming: Talk to Me
This A24 horror film is still in some theaters, but you can also rent it on demand. Sure, in the title track “Speak Now,” Taylor is referencing the moment in a wedding ceremony where the officiant gives objectors a chance to make themselves known, whereas the phrase “Talk to me” in the movie sends people to an underworld filled with terrifying demons stuck in limbo—but they both involve vocalizing, and therefore, I think the comparison works. Just know that while Speak Now is from one of Taylor’s most princess-y eras, Talk to Me is positively dripping in blood.
Taylor Swift Era: Red
Alternate programming: The Royal Hotel
I don’t know why exactly, but I just feel like Red-era Swift would really dig this thriller from director Kitty Green, about two young women (Julia Garner and Jessica Henwick) traveling in Australia who are forced to take a job at a remote bar when they run out of cash. The bar is full of drunken men who pose either literal or hypothetical threats to the pair, and the atmosphere of tension is almost overwhelming. It’s like the incarnation of “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
Taylor Swift Era: 1989
Alternate programming: Stop Making Sense
Look, there’s another concert film currently in theaters, and it’s from the ’80s, the decade that also gave us the year 1989! Stop Making Sense, directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Talking Heads, was originally released in 1984, but it’s back in theaters in a glorious 4K restoration. There’s a reason this is widely regarded as the best concert film of all time, and it’s not just for David Byrne’s big suit: It’s a pure encapsulation of what happens when musicianship and cinema collide.
Taylor Swift Era: Reputation
Alternate programming: Anatomy of a Fall
In the Reputation era, Swift was a woman defending herself against vicious rumors. This Palme d’Or–winning 2023 film from director Justine Triet is about a novelist, Sandra (Sandra Hüller), who is accused of murdering her husband after he falls from their chalet in the French Alps and dies. Sandra, like Taylor, is a writer who dabbles in autofiction, and her own prose is used against her during the trial. The film is also just simply a brilliant, tricky depiction of a woman whose personal life is dissected in the public eye. Sound familiar?