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REVIEW: “Everything Everywhere All at Once” opens the door for experimental cinema

REVIEW: “Everything Everywhere All at Once” opens the door for experimental cinema - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

This image released by A24 shows Stephanie Hsu, from left, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in a scene from "Everything Everywhere All At Once." (Allyson Riggs/A24 via AP)

The idea of a “multi-verse” seems impossible to believe. Do you wonder how different your life could be if things didn’t happen the way they did? How can there be another universe with people like us? The “what if” question will keep you up at night wondering how impactful your decisions can be. That’s what the film “Everything Everywhere All at Once” does.

Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), Waymond Wang (Ke Huy Quan) and Joy Wang (Stephanie Hsu) have brought a unique way to display family problems in the middle of a multi-verse battle. To say this movie is interesting is an understatement.  

When watching, you will experience laughter, sadness, anger, anxiety and confusion, all while being in the midst of a midlife crisis.

The reason this movie is so captivating is each scene shows the audience a new visual expression and it is done in a way you don’t have time to comprehend what you just saw because it cuts to the next scene right after. 

I saw myself getting emotionally invested in these characters as they developed over the course of two-and-a-half hours. 

Many may think this movie is long and strung out but when talking about the multi-verse, which is the idea that there are multiples universes with different versions of ourselves, you can’t be bland or boring, so “Everything Everywhere All at Once” does its due diligence. 

**Spoilers Ahead**

This movie follows Evelyn Wang, a woman who is dealing with the stresses that come from her family’s failing laundromat, questions regarding her marriage with her husband Waymond, having a father who disapproves of all her life choices and her broken relationship with her daughter Joy.

In the midst of being audited by the IRS, Evelyn is visited by an alternate version of her husband who has traveled from another universe. 

Evelyn is fighting between two realities. She finds herself in a meeting with an auditor and in a janitor’s closet with a traveler from another universe. 

The way that the movie is shot is really what impressed me the most. Creating a visual that depicts you being in two different universes isn’t as easy as it sounds. It is like Evelyn’s life is a perfect glass picture but when being split into another universe, the glass shatters into two. 

While all this is happening, her meeting with the auditor is on a downward trend. With her inability to focus, the auditor is not giving her family the benefit of the doubt. Her husband from her real-life manages to find a way to buy time to fix the issues with the IRS. 

Evelyn punches the auditor in the face because of her paranoia and difficulty deciphering which reality she is stuck in. The avalanche of realities starts to become more clear to her.

Sitting in the theater, it is like you’re figuring out what is happening at the same time as Evelyn. You don’t even have time to buy popcorn or go to the bathroom because you will risk missing an important piece of the puzzle. 

This new version of Waymond explains to her she has to save the millions of universes she is in. What does he even mean? She didn’t know, and everyone in the theater couldn’t grasp the direction in which this movie was heading in

Moving forward, you see how different Evelyn’s life could have been if she had changed one single decision. In one universe, she was a famous singer while in another she’s romantically involved with a woman while having hotdog fingers.

This movie makes you question your decisions. Not just recent decisions but decisions you’ve made over your lifetime, ultimately causing you to have a midlife crisis

The “villain” in this movie was a mystery for more than half of the movie, but it ends up being a darker and angrier version of Evelyn’s daughter, Joy. Though, in this reality her name is Jobu. 

The idea of making the daughter the villain is genius because it showcases one of Evelyn’s biggest mistakes, which is not accepting her daughter for who she is. 

Jobu wants to get her mom to enter this bagel-shaped blackhole, which symbolizes destroying all of reality, but most importantly, it will destroy her from existence.

You’d have to see the movie to visually understand what a bagel-shaped blackhole is because I won’t give it the justice it deserves. 

Throughout these realities, you see Evelyn and her daughter have this underlying tension that needs to be resolved. 

Joy/Jobu wants to run away from the stress, she feels as if she has disappointed her mom by being who she is, someone who is a lesbian and has grown farther away from their Asian culture, one that is very traditional.

Traditional homes are the hardest to grow up in because you feel like you are walking on eggshells. You will always feel like you can’t be your true self, that you have to provide an image that will get you the approval of your family rather than making yourself happy. 

Evelyn fears she has become her father, a man who disapproved of every single thing she has done in her life. She is ashamed to tell her father that Joy is a lesbian because she fears the consequences that can come with it. 

You start to see that through all these obstacles Evelyn goes through, she starts to realize how the life she has now is more meaningful than what could’ve been. 

The message from that scene is one of the more emotional parts of the movie that even brought tears to my eyes. Ironically, your emotions are split, on one hand, you feel grateful for the life you have and on the other, you feel your life could be better. 

Evelyn finds a way to get Jobu not to fall into the black hole, foreshadowing the actions that take place in Evelyn’s real life. Joy wants to leave because of the tension with her mom, she’s in the car with her girlfriend with the intention to leave and never come back. 

Evelyn then has a moment with an alternate version of her father where she explains how she can’t allow herself to raise her daughter the way that he did to her. 

This moment was something I didn’t know the movie needed until it happened. Just as Joy feels with her mom, Evelyn feels that way with her dad so this movie is monumental in their mother-daughter relationship. 

Evelyn’s epiphany causes some of the best character development within herself, her husband and her daughter.

Her husband, who she resented through much of their marriage, has become someone she learns to love. She starts to see how her actions have affected her daughter in a way that has ultimately made her distant.

In the end, you see how all the problems that once haunted them have gradually been resolved. Evelyn finally tells her father that Joy is a lesbian. They meet with the auditor who was still upset about the punch but sees that they have made progress that will avoid them from being audited. 

Ultimately, you see the appreciation and gratitude Evelyn sees in her life. 

This movie is destined to win many awards for its groundbreaking visuals and storytelling. The message hits home for me and many others who find themselves underappreciating the life they live. 

Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu were beyond amazing in this movie. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear them get nominated for many of the prestigious awards for their roles. 

Find time to head to the local theater and watch the brilliance of this rollercoaster ride of a movie. 

About the Author

Raul Trey Lopez
Raul Trey Lopez is a communication senior at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. He is a first-generation college student. In his spare time, he likes listening to music. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a career in journalism while also maintaining his family flooring business.

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