Everything, Everywhere, All at Once (2022)

Matthew Ron Valeriano ’24

A couple of months ago, I wrote a review stating that Bullet Train was the best comedy-action movie I’ve seen in 2022, however, I have changed my mind since then. I recently saw a movie that captured my attention in all aspects: the action scenes, the fantasy, the character’s journey, and the moral lessons. That movie, Everything, Everywhere, All at Once (2022), is a fantasy movie that portrays a modern, real-world family with their cultural identities, differences, ups and downs, with touching character development for each of the  family members.  

 This movie centers around a working-class, Asian-American family who go through challenges with finances, fights, generational differences, all  while adapting to new changes. One of the most inspiring characters is the protagonist, Evelyn Wang, who’s trying to keep her laundromat afloat while being behind on tax payments. Her family includes her husband, Waymond, her father, Gong, and her daughter, Joy, who each bring their personalities, perceptions, and stories to the movie’s plot. The mother, Evelyn, begins to awaken to versions of herself in different dimensions, which allows her to grow stronger and gain appropriate abilities depending on the situations she encounters. This power, however, requires her to withstand two realities at once. This makes her look delusional and distracted at times in front of her family, but she still takes these risks trying to save the universe. The action comes when Eveyln must learn to fight and battle against multi-dimensional versions of IRS agents, her traditional dad, loving husband, and LGBTQ+ daughter, breaking generational cycles and stigmas in the process. The action is so worth watching as Eveyln fights beings and travels beyond her world.

Culture is important in this film  because the family must fight against traditional views of their Asian culture and background, which ultimately affect the way Eveyln handles challenges throughout the movie, including arguing with her family. The inclusion of Kung Fu, and communicating solely in Mandarin with her husband, was necessary for capturing the unique, immigrant identity of the family.

The side characters contribute to the plot and character development of the protagonist. Her husband, Waymond, is the love of her life in every dimension and ultimately shows her how to confront her problems not with fighting, but with love. Her father, Gong, represents a generation before hers, which she had to break with to progress forward so she doesn’t treat her daughter the way her father treated her. Her daughter, Joy, representing a generation after hers, who struggles connecting with her mom because she doesn’t understand who she is, allows Evelyn to begin to change the way she thinks, talks, and takes action.

The movie excellently portrays how different paths and choices can lead to varying outcomes, and how you should appreciate your paths in life no matter what. Even in an alternate world, where you could’ve been a better or more successful person, you shouldn’t regret the path you are on and the people you are spending moments with, because it would be at the cost of something else. Evelyn saw worlds where her life could’ve been ‘better’ if she had simply made other decisions, but these reflections also allows her to realize that she is truly on the path she’s supposed to be on.

This movie catches you by surprise, makes you laugh and cry. It’s a well-written movie with a loveable cast and a well-thought story and message. I can see why this movie dominated the Oscars and Golden Globe awards. This is an absolute, without a doubt, 11/10. If you truly want to see a heartfelt, action-packed movie that keeps you entertained, this movie is perfect for you.