Taylor Swift’s video for “Blank Space” finds Swift on a beautiful estate, wearing stunning gowns, and completely embodying her lyric “darling, I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.” It is, as it’s intended to be, hilarious.
“Blank Space” has been called Swift’s Gone Girl moment. She goes full Amy Dunne, who (spoiler alert) acts like the “Cool Girl” until deciding to reveal her true nature and brilliantly manipulate everyone around her. “Like Amy, she’s stripping away the romantic sheen she’s given all her relationships in the past,” Esther Breger wrote in The New Republic. “If everyone thinks she’s a psycho bitch man-eater, then that’s exactly who she’ll be.”
Swift’s video plays precisely into this. It opens in a fantasy world that’s a more grown-up version of the realm on display in Swift’s “Love Story” video. There are even horses. (One of Swift’s adorable cats also makes an appearance.) But then things turn. Swift becomes a raging force, hacking into a portrait of her lover, cutting Mean Girls-esque holes in his shirt, bashing his car with a golf club, and poisoning an apple.
But she’s also having fun with it. Note the twinkle in her eye as she writhes on the floor, a moment perfectly captured (and Gone Girl-ified) in the following tweet.
Swift has spent years being the “princess” to some guy’s “prince,” but in “Blank Space” she’s taking control over her image, appropriating the media narrative that she’s a handful who can’t keep a man. Played straight, the video is an unflattering portrait of a woman going nuts—but Swift is smarter than that, and it comes off as a meta commentary. Swift plays with her image a lot on 1989, but while some have pointed out that her version of how she’s perceived is slightly off in, say, “Shake It Off,” here, she gets it right.
Unfortunately, Yahoo released the video ahead of schedule so it’s not currently available. Director Joseph Kahn tweeted:
In fact, the video’s subsequent disappearance may be the best example of how deft Swift is at controlling what she puts out.
Update: Here is the video.