Opinion: This movie has been “Everything Everywhere All at Once”


Art Credits to Grace Tan ’24!

Angie Yang '24

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Everything Everywhere All at Once!

In my household, I’m the one who watches movies over and over again, reliving the plotlines, falling in love with the characters, and crying for absolutely no reason. So it came as a shock when my sister constantly badgered us to watch Everything Everywhere All at Once (EEAAO). To be honest, I wasn’t the most excited. After watching the trailer, I was weirded out by the confusing multiverse, the hot dog fingers, and all those googly eyes. It took some nagging, but finally, my family sat down to watch the movie. For some of us, it was our first time, some our second, and for my sister, her fourth. Little did I know that two hours later, I would have laughed about a Ratatouille spinoff, cried at rocks talking to one another, and marveled over all the possibilities the multiverse explores.

The movie was produced by A24 and directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert known as the Daniels. The $25 million budget film has over $100 million in earnings after being released. As the movie is sweeping nominations and wins across all significant awards, it’s amazing how such an indie film, produced by a smaller team and budget, struck a chord with so many people.

The story follows Evelyn, portrayed by Michelle Yeoh, who struggles to navigate the complex relationships in her life. She faces the pressure of a divorce from her husband, Waymond, portrayed by Ke Huy Quan, the expectations of her own father, Gong Gong, portrayed by James Hong, and the turbulent relationship with her daughter, Joy, portrayed by Stephanie Hsu; All while being tasked to save the multiverse from Jobu Tupaki and bring balance back.

After finishing the movie, I was left in confusion, processing all the parts together, reeling from the whirlwind of emotions felt, and trying to make sense of certain aspects of the film. It’s impossible to capture the utter craziness and meaning of the film in a short article. EEAAO transcends cultural lines and generations. It pushes the masculine identity. It’s beyond a coming-out story. It explores the intense parent-and-child relationship that is all too familiar for many. It explores a world of possibilities. It explores the power of kindness and love.

The film features three generations of the family and how they navigate the generation gaps between each. It’s often easy to forget that our parents are sons and daughters as well. As the plotline focuses on Evelyn, we see how her hopes to meet her father’s expectations impact her relationship with her own daughter Joy. This is exemplified in the first scene introducing Gong Gong, when much to Joy’s frustration, Evelyn introduces Joy’s girlfriend as just a friend in fear of what her own father would think and her own unacceptance of her daughter’s queer identity. Our headstrong Evelyn seems to tremble at the voice of her father, a contrast to the lecturing mother that she is to her own daughter. 

Instead of choosing action-packed fighting, Waymond chooses love as the way to fight. In their marriage, Evelyn is always in charge while Waymond is seen as the one who just follows what he is told to do. Evelyn wonders what her husband would be if she wasn’t there, but fails to realize all the things he takes care of to make things run more smoothly, whether it be convincing the tax auditor to give them more time or easing tensions between Evelyn and Joy. Evelyn’s Waymond is seen as feminine, timid, and weak. Alpha Waymond, another universe’s version of Waymond, is a stark contrast to the main Waymond. He is the traditional hero: action-filled, strong, and decisive. In actuality, he is a jerk, leaving Evelyn to fend for herself and all the chaos that was caused because he simply gave up on her. In another universe where Evelyn doesn’t marry Waymond, we meet an elegant, charismatic Waymond, who instantly captures our hearts. In this universe, They are a story of love that could never have been. As the two reconcile in this universe, Waymond tells Evelyn that “even though you have broken my heart yet again, I wanted to say, in another life, I would have really liked just doing laundry and taxes with you.” And that universe is the one Evelyn lives in with a husband she deems too weak. The one where Waymond is finding the words to ask for a divorce. The one where he feels as if their love disappeared. The one where Waymond fights back one googly eye at a time, each googly eye serving as a constant reminder to live life in the present with kindness and silliness. 

In contrast to the googly eyes, the everything bagel becomes synonymous with Jopu Tupaki, the antagonist who threatens to disrupt the whole multiverse. Believed to be mean nihilism, the everything bagel is “All The Pain And Guilt You Feel For Making Nothing Of Your Life Goes Away – Sucked Into A Bagel.” Upon meeting Jopu Tupaki, Evelyn realizes that she is her daughter, Joy. Joy struggles with balancing her queer identity and feeling accepted by her family. Instead of the usual coming-out story of self-discovery, this story showcases the familiar truth that acceptance can be hard to get after coming out. It exemplifies the tensions between generational beliefs and acceptance. In her frustrations and constant wanting to prove herself to her parents, she adopts a nihilistic worldview, a sort of desperation that can be easy to fall into. As Evelyn takes down Jopu Tupaki to save the planet, she and her daughter also learn to accept one another and mend their relationship.

Not only does EEAAO feature many well-developed, complex characters and relationships, but EEAAO also offers an interesting take on the multiverse. For every decision one makes that steers them off of a certain trajectory, a new multiverse is created that reflects the outcome if another option was chosen. It appeals to my hidden voice that’s always there wondering what would happen if I did things differently. There is still room for a lot of craziness between the process of verse-jumping and what some of these universes are. In order to verse-jump, an absurd action must be done to tap into the mind of another universe’s self, this ranges from a paper cut to a profession of love. The universes get wild as well, the most notables are one where everyone is a rock and one where people have the hot-dog finger. These moments make you wonder: “What the heck am I watching?” When you strip away the craziness and imagination, these side storylines represent apparent truths that are just as important as the main one. 

The beautifully written movie is a must-watch for anyone and offers a refreshing break in the movie scene. Everything Everywhere All at Once is a masterpiece filled with chaos, commotion, and candor.