Column | Simultaneously loving and hating ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’

By Lucy Bridges, Staff Writer

Released in March 2022, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” has garnered a great deal of support and accreditation over the past year. This film shows strong Asian representation in the film industry as it has accumulated over $100 million in the box office and recently won seven academy awards at the Oscars this March. This picture is an ambitious and unique creation that, for some, may raise a question: Did I love or hate “Everything Everywhere All at Once?”

The sci-fi film was directed and written by Daniel Quan and Daniel Scheinhart and starred a phenomenal cast of prominent Asian actors: Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu and James Hong. Supporting actors include Jamie Lee Curtis and Harry Shum Jr. 

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” can be described exactly as it sounds. The chaos and madness of the story is simultaneously a spot-on description of the intricate and dynamic relationship between immigrant mother Evelyn Quan, played by Yeoh, immigrant father Waymond Wang, played by Quan and their American daughter Joy, played by Hsu and a completely confusing look into the idea of the multiverse. 

The film is broken down into three parts: Part I: Everything, Part II: Everywhere and Part III: All at once. Part I: Everything sets up the background of the immigrant family and the personal conflicts that they are facing: Evelyn and Waymond’s struggling marriage, Joy introducing and assimilating her girlfriend to her family and the family’s struggles with the obstacles of being immigrant business owners in America. 

Part II: Everywhere shows how Evelyn is to be the savior of the multiverse. The pure creativity that is needed by directors and writers Quan and Scheinhart is reflected, as the pair have essentially created an entire multiverse where there is a different form of each individual in every universe, from which Evelyn jumps to and from. Part II: Everywhere was a jumbled mess of jumping between multiverses as characters developed hotdogs as fingers and a fear of a massive everything bagel. 

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Part II: Everywhere makes for an irritating and confusing plotline, leaving the audience to unscramble who is who, what is real and where people are. But plot questions like these make the movie’s title completely accurate and transparent with the audience, in a way letting viewers know that they may not understand all that is happening. 

Part III: All at Once shows Evelyn trying to make things right with her daughter and her daughter’s alter ego in the multiverse, Jobu. Part III paints a realistic picture of a family who is experiencing struggles, as the ending is a varied array of relationships and conflicts ending with “our problems are not fixed, but we are okay” instead of “everything is perfect, and there are no more problems!” 

All storyline chaos, confusion and hotdog fingers aside, there are many things to love about “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” The cinematography of the film is sensational, as the directors are able to incorporate hundreds of different shots, props and movement sequences into one scene. But what stands out in this action packed, sci-fi film is its ability to make people want to laugh and cry. 

The humor was unexpected, but incorporates effective breaks in the storyline. Not many movies are able to be simultaneously action packed, hilarious and movingly wonderful, but the mother-daughter and husband-wife relationships in this plot result in a stunningly well made movie in both a physical and emotional sense. 

The camera shots are jarring, the plotline is a huge mess as the audience tries to piece multiple different universes together and if you don’t pay close attention, you can easily miss the direction of the plot and the point of the entire movie. However, each one of those disorganized plot elements makes “Everything Everywhere All at Once” an incredibly brilliant curation of thoughts about what is out in the universe, a detailed depiction of the complicated dynamic of being an immigrant family in America and an honest piece of art when put together. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is a refreshing purposefully chaotic film and is most certainly deserving of its seven Oscars wins. 


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