Taylor Swift Explains Symbolism to Martin McDonagh

He’s not getting it

Film 101

If there is one thing to know about Taylor Swift, it’s that the woman loves when something has a deeper meaning. She loves an easter egg, a metaphor, a cryptic Instagram post, things of that nature. This appreciation for symbolism will undoubtedly extend to her burgeoning career in le cinéma, for which she is laying the groundwork now by campaigning her ass off in hopes of a short film Oscar for directing “All Too Well: The Short Film.”

The latest stop on the campaign came today in the form of a “Directors on Directors” conversation with Martin McDonagh for Variety. Two writer-directors discussing their break-up films — it makes sense if you squint. The Banshees of Inisherin director was incredibly generous to Swift, asking her all sorts of questions about her directing process and allowing her to position herself as a serious lover of film — she even says she loved both parts of Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir! But it’s clear that these two auteurs take very different approaches to their work.

Taylor Swift seems to be pretty straightforward in her use of visual metaphors. For instance, she tells McDonagh that in the video for “Anti-Hero” her character bleeds blue glitter because she is “not normal.”

Later, Swift wonders what the various motifs in Banshees could mean, metaphorically speaking. At one point, she appears to crack the code:

Watching “Banshees” — first of all, it’s such a special film. I’ve been talking about it with my friends. I talked to a friend of mine who’s a therapist, and she was saying, “If someone brought in this dream to me and said that ‘I’m wanting to cut my finger off,’” she would say, “You feel like your aliveness is being cut off by a part of your life and this art represents the fingers.” What do you think the fingers are a symbolism for?

Everyone put in your answers now. Is it “an aliveness being cut off”? Does Brendan Gleeson’s mangled stump symbolize his freedom from Colin Farrell being annoying? Do the fingers represent both the Irish Civil War and traditional Irish masculinity? Or is the number of digits that get cut off (five in total) a reference to the fact that McDonagh has made five films if we include his short film Six Shooter?

Here’s what McDonagh said:

I don’t know. I just thought it was funny.

There you have it, everyone. McDoniacs finally have their answer, and we can finally put all the fan theories to REST. Swifties, get ready. When Swift debuts her feature film, it will be chock full of symbolism that will make anyone’s therapist friend say, “There’s a lot going on there…”