It was one sunny afternoon when my friends and I decided to see a movie. Already running late, we rushed to the theater with our pre-purchased tickets to the latest movie “Everything Everywhere All at Once”… only to be turned away because I forgot my ID and they required them for this rated-R film. It was nice to know I still passed as a plucky 16 year old, but annoying as it meant driving all the way back to my dorm and back. Finally, we arrived at the theater with Michelle Yeoh sitting in the IRS offices projected onto that silver screen. And within the next two hours, my friends and I’d experience the most confusing, convoluted, and mind-boggling film we had ever laid eyes on, and it is not because we missed the first 15 minutes (although that didn’t help).
If you’ve been on Tik Tok this past month you have probably heard about this new movie “Everything Everywhere All at Once” that has given so many people a new outlook on life. After seeing all the people crying on my for you page, I had the urge to go see if it was as groundbreaking as everyone made it seem. So, I went to the movies, cried my eyes out, and now I’m here writing about it to tell you it’s a must-watch movie.
Coming from the independent film world, I was utterly flabbergasted at the production and story that this film told. Melding genres between science fiction, drama, comedy, and action is a difficult task in itself. But, creating a meaningful story within that is far more impressive. It follows a struggling Asian-American family, with an emphasis on the mother, who owns a failing laundromatt. The mother, Evelyn, is rigid in her traditional ways and struggles to accept her daughter, Joy, for her queer identity and relationship. Plus, she experiences her own relationship issues with her husband, who seeks divorse in the beginning of the film. It, at its heart, works to establish an environment we can all relate to.
Then, through parallel universes, wacky science fiction tropes, and a whole lot of kung-fu action, Evelyn comes to the realization that in the vastness of the universe, nothing really matters. She sees her issues slip away into the bottomless sea of our living reality and accepts the chaos of the universe.
I think most people can relate to the feeling that ‘nothing really matters,’ especially through the past couple of years. Even before COVID, most people searched for their purpose and deeper meaning, whether it be through volunteering, religion, philosophy, or anything that connects us to that higher feeling — that we do something meaningful with our lives. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” challenges this societal pressure to find your meaning by promoting the idea that nothing really matters… unless you want it to.
In the end, Evelyn chose to stay and fix her relationships; she chose to stay with the family she had come to know, love, and rely on. By shutting out the madness and chaos of life, she was able to focus on what mattered most to her. That was what was so inspiring to watch: seeing this character bogged down by life only to choose to stay in its horrible, unfortunate, tumultuous, and beautiful reality. This movie showcased strength to be ourselves, how to stick up for the ones we love, and fight for the relationships we cherish. And, those are choices we have to make everyday — choices that will inevitably change the course of our life forever.
At the end of the movie, after being confused, laughing, and crying, I realized that this movie is a layered depiction of the struggle of being human. It provides a message that is beautiful and relevant to any viewer. So, I encourage you all to grab some popcorn, M&Ms, and your friends and watch as this movie potentially changes your perspective on life.