What Is The Movie Everything Everywhere All At Once About?

by Barbara

Everything Everywhere All At Once” is a film that defies conventional genres, blending science fiction, action, comedy, and drama to create a unique cinematic experience. Released in 2022, this movie quickly became a cultural phenomenon, praised for its creativity, depth, and emotional resonance. Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as “Daniels,” the film explores profound themes through an inventive narrative structure. This article delves into the movie’s plot, characters, themes, and reception, offering a comprehensive overview of why “Everything Everywhere All At Once” stands out in modern cinema.

Plot Overview

The plot of “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is intricate and multi-layered, intertwining various storylines across different universes. At its core, the film follows Evelyn Wang, a Chinese-American immigrant who runs a laundromat with her husband, Waymond. Evelyn’s life is mundane and filled with the stress of managing her business, dealing with her demanding father, Gong Gong, and navigating her strained relationship with her daughter, Joy.


The story takes a dramatic turn when Evelyn discovers that she is at the center of a multiverse and is tasked with saving all realities from an impending threat. This revelation comes during a visit to the IRS, where she encounters a different version of Waymond from another universe. This alternate Waymond informs her that an evil entity known as Jobu Tupaki is threatening the multiverse, and only Evelyn can stop her.


Character Exploration

Evelyn Wang

Evelyn Wang, portrayed by Michelle Yeoh, is the protagonist of the film. She is a middle-aged woman struggling with the burdens of everyday life. Her journey from a beleaguered laundromat owner to a multiverse-hopping hero forms the heart of the movie. Evelyn’s character is relatable and complex, embodying the themes of regret, resilience, and redemption.


Waymond Wang

Waymond, played by Ke Huy Quan, is Evelyn’s kind-hearted but somewhat ineffectual husband. In the film, he appears in multiple versions, each from different universes, showing different aspects of his personality. The primary version of Waymond is gentle and optimistic, often contrasting with Evelyn’s more pragmatic and weary demeanor. His alternate version, Alpha Waymond, is resourceful and brave, helping Evelyn navigate the multiverse.

Joy Wang/Jobu Tupaki

Stephanie Hsu portrays Joy, Evelyn’s daughter, who also plays the antagonist, Jobu Tupaki. Joy’s relationship with her mother is fraught with tension and misunderstanding. As Jobu Tupaki, she represents chaos and nihilism, having developed the ability to experience all possible realities simultaneously. Her character explores themes of identity, purpose, and the search for meaning in a seemingly indifferent universe.

Gong Gong

James Hong plays Gong Gong, Evelyn’s father. His character symbolizes the traditional expectations and cultural pressures Evelyn faces. In some universes, Gong Gong is supportive, while in others, he is stern and disapproving, highlighting the multifaceted nature of family dynamics.

Themes and Symbolism

“Everything Everywhere All At Once” delves into several profound themes, using the multiverse as a metaphor for various aspects of human experience.

The Multiverse and Choice

The concept of the multiverse in the film represents the infinite possibilities of life paths and choices. Evelyn’s journey through different realities underscores the impact of choices on our lives. It explores the idea of what could have been, a theme that resonates deeply with viewers who often ponder their own life choices and alternate possibilities.

Family and Generational Conflict

At its heart, the film is a story about family. The relationship between Evelyn and Joy is central to the narrative. Their conflicts and eventual reconciliation reflect the generational gap and cultural differences that many families experience. Evelyn’s interactions with Gong Gong further highlight the challenges of living up to parental expectations and the struggle to balance tradition with personal aspirations.

Identity and Self-Acceptance

Joy/Jobu Tupaki’s character arc is a poignant exploration of identity and self-acceptance. As Jobu Tupaki, she grapples with the overwhelming nature of her multiverse experiences, leading to a sense of existential despair. Her journey mirrors real-life struggles with identity, mental health, and the search for meaning.

Love and Connection

Throughout the chaos and action, the film emphasizes the importance of love and human connection. Waymond’s kindness and optimism serve as a counterpoint to Evelyn’s initial cynicism. The resolution of the film, which hinges on understanding and empathy, reinforces the idea that love is a powerful force that can transcend even the most daunting challenges.

Visual Style and Cinematography

“Everything Everywhere All At Once” is visually stunning, with a distinct style that enhances its storytelling. The film employs a mix of practical effects, innovative camera work, and vibrant visuals to create a sense of otherworldliness. The transitions between different universes are seamless, often using creative editing techniques to maintain the narrative’s coherence despite its complexity.

The use of color and lighting also plays a significant role in the film. Different universes are distinguished by unique visual palettes, helping the audience navigate the multiverse. This visual diversity not only adds to the film’s aesthetic appeal but also aids in storytelling by providing visual cues about the nature and tone of each universe.

Music and Sound Design

The film’s music and sound design are integral to its impact. The score, composed by Son Lux, is eclectic and dynamic, reflecting the film’s genre-blending nature. The music ranges from orchestral pieces to electronic tracks, each tailored to fit the mood of specific scenes. The sound design is equally meticulous, using auditory cues to enhance the sense of immersion in the multiverse.

Critical Reception and Cultural Impact

“Everything Everywhere All At Once” received widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike. It was praised for its originality, emotional depth, and performances, particularly Michelle Yeoh’s portrayal of Evelyn. The film’s ability to balance complex themes with humor and heart resonated with viewers, making it a standout in contemporary cinema.

The film also sparked discussions about representation in Hollywood. With a predominantly Asian cast and a story that touches on immigrant experiences, “Everything Everywhere All At Once” was lauded for its contribution to diversity in film. It demonstrated that stories rooted in specific cultural contexts could have universal appeal, breaking down barriers and expanding the scope of mainstream cinema.


Behind the Scenes: The Making of the Film

The making of “Everything Everywhere All At Once” was a labor of love for the directors, Daniels, and the entire cast and crew. The directors are known for their imaginative approach to filmmaking, previously showcased in their film “Swiss Army Man.” For this project, they drew inspiration from various sources, including classic sci-fi films, martial arts movies, and existential philosophy.

Writing and Development

The script for “Everything Everywhere All At Once” underwent several iterations. Daniels aimed to create a story that was both entertaining and thought-provoking. They wanted to explore deep philosophical questions through a lens of absurdity and humor. This balance is evident in the final film, which manages to be both intellectually stimulating and wildly entertaining.

Casting and Performances

The casting process was crucial to the film’s success. Michelle Yeoh was cast as Evelyn, bringing a wealth of experience and gravitas to the role. Her performance is a tour de force, capturing Evelyn’s vulnerability, strength, and growth. Ke Huy Quan’s return to acting after a long hiatus was also a highlight, with his portrayal of Waymond earning widespread praise.

The directors encouraged improvisation and collaboration on set, allowing actors to bring their own interpretations to their characters. This approach fostered a creative environment that enriched the film’s performances and overall dynamic.

Special Effects and Editing

Given the film’s ambitious scope, special effects played a significant role in bringing the multiverse to life. The effects team used a combination of practical effects, CGI, and innovative editing techniques to create seamless transitions between universes. The editing, in particular, was a monumental task, requiring precision to maintain the narrative flow amidst the film’s complex structure.

Themes Explored in Depth

Existentialism and the Human Condition

At its core, “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is a meditation on the human condition. Through Evelyn’s journey, the film explores existential themes, questioning the nature of reality, identity, and purpose. The multiverse serves as a metaphor for the infinite possibilities and paths in life, each choice leading to a different outcome. This concept resonates with existentialist philosophy, which emphasizes individual freedom, choice, and the inherent uncertainty of life.

Evelyn’s encounters with various versions of herself force her to confront her own regrets and unfulfilled aspirations. She grapples with the “what ifs” of her life, mirroring a universal human experience. Her ultimate realization that every experience, no matter how mundane, contributes to her identity underscores a key existentialist tenet: the significance of personal choice and the search for meaning.

Intergenerational Trauma and Healing

The film also delves into the theme of intergenerational trauma. Evelyn’s strained relationship with her father, Gong Gong, and her daughter, Joy, highlights the cyclical nature of familial conflicts and expectations. Gong Gong’s traditional values and high expectations create pressure on Evelyn, who, in turn, struggles to connect with Joy. This dynamic reflects the broader immigrant experience, where cultural and generational gaps often lead to misunderstandings and conflicts.

Throughout the film, Evelyn’s journey towards understanding and empathy becomes a catalyst for healing these intergenerational wounds. By recognizing her own flaws and embracing her daughter’s individuality, she breaks the cycle of trauma. This resolution emphasizes the importance of compassion and communication in overcoming generational divides.

The Power of Empathy and Connection

One of the film’s most powerful messages is the transformative power of empathy and connection. Waymond’s character embodies this theme, consistently advocating for kindness and understanding. His approach contrasts sharply with the chaos and aggression often displayed in the multiverse. Through Waymond, the film suggests that empathy is not just a passive emotion but a powerful force capable of effecting change.

Evelyn’s eventual embrace of empathy allows her to connect with Joy/Jobu Tupaki on a deeper level. By seeing the world through her daughter’s eyes, Evelyn understands her pain and disillusionment. This shift in perspective is crucial in resolving the central conflict, reinforcing the idea that empathy can bridge even the widest gaps.


“Everything Everywhere All At Once” is a cinematic triumph that combines an imaginative narrative with profound themes and exceptional performances. It challenges traditional storytelling conventions, offering a fresh and engaging perspective on the human experience. Through its exploration of the multiverse, the film delves into existential questions, family dynamics, and the power of empathy, making it a poignant and thought-provoking work.

The film’s success is a testament to the vision and creativity of Daniels and the dedication of the cast and crew. It stands as a landmark in contemporary cinema, pushing the boundaries of genre and narrative structure. For viewers, “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is more than just a movie; it is an emotional journey that resonates on multiple levels, leaving a lasting impact long after the credits roll.

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