Everything Everywhere All At Once is Everything You Could Want in a Movie

5/5 Falcons


Natasha Butler-Rahman

Everything Everywhere All At Once presents features of the multiverse

Jinho Lee, Contributing Writer

Everything Everywhere All At Once is definitely a lot of different things at once. Following the contention between a first-generation Chinese mother Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) and her lesbian daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu), it’s a new take on the intersectionality of race and sexuality. It speaks on divorce and the complexity behind the love and disdain that Evelyn and her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) share with each other. But above all else, it’s a film about humanity.

The film opens as Evelyn and Waymond are running their struggling laundromat. Family dynamics seem tense as Waymond is filing divorce papers, and Joy is trying to get her family to accept her girlfriend, Becky. As the family has to meet an IRS inspector for an auditing of the laundromat, Waymond’s body is temporarily taken over by Alpha Waymond, a more self-assertive version of Waymond from a parallel universe. Waymond explains to Evelyn that in his parallel universe Evelyn discovered the power of ‘verse-jumping’: the ability to swap with the knowledge and abilities of a “you” from a parallel universe. Alpha Evelyn from his parallel universe pushed Joy too far in an intense verse-jumping experiment, which gave Joy a god-like ability to experience every universe at once and transcend matter at any given moment. Alpha Joy, now Jobu Tupaki, has created a black hole that could destroy the entire multiverse, and it is now up to Evelyn to stop her.

This film pushes the theme that even while there might be no significant meaning in humanity, everything that exists still has humanity.

While the concept of the multiverse has been popular in film lately, Everything Everywhere All At Once succeeds in keeping the idea from feeling redundant through its unique themes. With millions of possible universes and outcomes, it can seem impossible to find meaning in continuing to lead the life that one does. After Evelyn experiences other universes where she finds success and glamour, she finds herself struggling to carry on in her own circumstances. The film alludes to the beautiful and dangerous realization of the infinite nature of the multiverse; the consequence of this discernment can make each action feel minuscule and meaningless. However, this film pushes the theme that even while there might be no significant meaning in humanity, everything that exists still has humanity. There are universes where the people you hate are your loved ones, including formidable enemies like IRS inspectors and rude laundromat customers. The film features a scene where in an alternate universe Evelyn is a rock, yet is still able to communicate love to the other rocks around her—this scene is able to use humor to convey the ridiculousness of the multiverse, while also being unexpectedly emotional in its larger messages of the persistence of love.

This introspectiveness in the characters of Everything Everywhere All At Once is very masterfully done, and every character is given complexity through being given choices that could alter the course of their lives. Throughout the film, Evelyn is left with one choice—-choosing to stay with her loved ones regardless of what circumstances or universe she’s in. To viewers this is expressed plainly by Evelyn: “There is always something to love. Even in a stupid, stupid universe where we have hot dogs for fingers, we get very good with our feet.”

This piece also appears in our May 2022 print edition.