Everything Everywhere All At Once is a film that comes along once in a line time. Masterfully written, edited and put together it’s one of my favourite films of all time already.
I’d heard about how good it was from several people but unfortunately due to its staggered release schedule, it didn’t get released in the UK until mid-May. Often I find when films are hyped up like this that they fail to deliver but not only did this live up to my expectations, it completely surpassed them.
After rewatching it for a second time I thought I’d go through why I love the movie, some of the hidden things in it you might have missed and also talk about what I took from the ending.
Now throughout it, we follow Evelyn, a laundromat owner who’s not only struggling financially but also with her family. Her husband Waymond has filed for divorce, her father sees her as a disappointment and Evelyn struggles to accept her daughter’s sexuality and girlfriend.
After being called in by the IRS her husband’s body gets possessed by someone claiming to be from the Alpha Universe that wants her to help him stop a great threat known as the Jobu Chewbacc…Jojo Jubicki…sorry Jobu Tupaki who it’s revealed is Alpha Joy. In the Alpha Universe, Evelyn discovered how to jump from universe to universe and she also pushed her daughter into doing this.
Unfortunately, it fractured her mind and Alpha Joy now lives in every universe everywhere all at once. Witnessing everything, Alpha Joy realised that nothing mattered and she put everything onto a bagel which created a black hole to destroy the entire multiverse.
I love this idea and Howard Bloom actually theorised that the universe itself was shaped like a bagel which is a nice little detail. Bagel shapes litter the movie and even in the opening shot of the film we see the family singing karaoke in a circular mirror with the glass in the centre of it.
After this switches, we then get a circular fan with a circle in the middle, a circular light with an inner ring and another circular mirror. You might also notice the Googlie eyes on the pillow which becomes important later on.
Waymonds face is reflected in the mirror next to him showing how they are separate and foreshadowing Alpha Waymond existing in another universe. Later on, when Evelyn and Joy are in this room the security camera feed switches for a second and we see the circles of the Universe before Waymond is taken over by the Alpha version of himself. There’s then the laundromat itself, which is littered with these circular holes that create the doors of the machine. We’re even introduced to Joy staring into the black abyss of one of these as the clothes spin around the centre foreshadowing her arc.
At the IRS Waymond uses an umbrella with doughnuts on it and we discover that Evelyn has several hobbies that she’s tried to claim as business expenses. This idea of her being multiskilled is of course reflected in the alternate lives she leads. There’s the circular mirror beside Diedre’s desk and also the ring around her necklace. On the way there we pass someone twirling a pizza sign and later on learn that Evelyn almost would’ve become this person had there been a slight change to things. Diedre at the IRS also circles the receipts with black rings and yep…it’s all connected.
The dialogue is extra sharp too with Evelyn saying she wonders how Waymond would’ve survived without her but we learn that he would’ve become a successful businessman had they never moved to America together. Her goodbye to Joy in the opening is also shot in the same way as it is at the end. There are also the lines about her constantly being pulled away whilst she’s literally pulled away and I could probably spend an hour talking about all the connective tissue this film has.
Message and Characters
Now though we’ve spent this opening just talking about the details and imagery that is used throughout, what the film also excels at is its overall message and character development. This is very much a story about families explored through the multiverse. Evelyn is constantly distracted with her business, trying to be a good but strict parent and also how she feels she failed her father.
She can’t keep her focus on anything and thematically this is shown through the film by her constant reality jumping. Evelyn’s mind is always somewhere else and even when the IRS conversation is happening early on she’s distracted by the conversation with Alpha Waymond. The ending comes full circle for this moment and we once more catch her in the office being distracted by the idea of the multiverse. However, she grounds herself and makes sure that she’s present in the moment, enjoying all the highs and lows that life offers.
As many of you know I’ve just had twins and even though I love spending time with them I have to admit I can often get distracted by my phone and working on the channel. This is very much my alternate life that takes me away from being present in the moment but movies like this remind us to keep our focus on what’s really important.
What Does the Bagel Represent?
Now not only is this a journey for Evelyn but it’s also one for her daughter Joy. Though we’re told that she’s travelling through every version of the universe to kill all the Evelyns that she comes across, by the midpoint of the movie we discover the truth.
Alpha Joy actually wants to find a version of her mother that can travel through the multiverse to the level that she can. Finally, she’ll have some common ground with her and very much gain the mother that she was unable to have in all of the universes where she was pushed out of her life. She just wants someone who can understand the emptiness within her and also emphasise what it’s like living a life where she’s unable to find a true connection.
We are told by Alpha Joy that she put everything onto the bagel but when she’s listing off the contents of this she states it’s things like:
“All my hopes and dreams, all my report cards, every breed of dog, every last personal ad on Craigslist…”
The opening of these items pulls from her life and it very much represents the hopes and dreams that she had but was forced out of having through Evelyn pushing down the path she wanted for her. This black hole very much represents the pain within her and thus it’s become an all-consuming void that will destroy all meaning in the multiverse.
The film culminates with Joy wishing to travel into this, a metaphor for her becoming lost forever in the nihilism of what she feels inside. Evelyn however realises that she also can make everyone happy and all those that have tormented her throughout the movie become people that she transforms by using their innermost desires to transform them.
This is something that she experienced in some ways.
Evelyn and Waymond’s Relationship
Upon gaining the abilities of the Jobu 2pac…she too almost lost her way, giving in to the feeling of meaningless that she discovered.
However, Waymond pulls her back and she realises that she loves him in every universe.
Yes, that’s a Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness reference and also isn’t it weird how both the main characters in that movie also get eyes on their foreheads.
But I digress.
Waymond constantly talks about unconditional kindness and throughout the movie he demonstrates this at several points. There’s the complaining customer that he dances with at the Laundromat whilst Evelyn is distracted and of course his speech about being kind. Though Evelyn looked down on him and thought that he was naive, she now sees that he’s someone who will be there through it all. Even though there’s a universe where he went off on his own to become a success, he still came back to her. There’s also the universe where she’s in love with Diedre showing that even those she’s an enemy of could potentially be the best thing that ever happened to her if she alters her perspective.
Waymond shows her unconditional love throughout every universe and this show Evelyn that empathy is the way to finding a connection. This is why he style of fighting changes for the final battle and she instead employs love and kindness to help who she can.
It’s the same strategy she uses on Joy and in the carpark, Evelyn finally sees things from Joy’s point of view and she understands that she has to at least give her the chance to leave should she wish to.
Now, this is shown by her travelling away, her rock falling off the cliff and also her going into the Bagel. Finally, she’s allowed her daughter to stand on her own two feet, however, she also asks for the same understanding from Joy.
Throughout every possibility, they’ve managed to become every version of themselves but they haven’t been able to put themselves in the other person’s shoes.
Finally at this moment though they do and both realise that they could be anything anywhere but they’d rather be with each other in that moment there. All they really have is each other and though they could run away and escape this, it’s where everything is truly all together and they are with each other.
Even the movie star Evelyn who’s known nothing but success and admiration would rather work in a laundromat if it means she got to have him as a husband and Joy as a daughter.
I’m not…I’m not cry…I love you Raccaccoonie.
-Evelyn almost let Joy go but the pair both reveal that in all the endless possibilities that they’d rather be together. Finally, the family is as one and whereas in the opening we had Evelyn around the table on her own, here the family are around her.
Googlie Eyes Symbolism
Another thing I noticed was that there are now 4 sets of googlie eyes.
We have the ones above the coat hangers on the left, two just about the security feed and also one over Joy’s shoulder.
This clearly also represents the family and whereas in the beginning there was one, they are now all together.
Life is complete for them and rather than all living in feelings of disappointment, they’ve started this new year with each other accepting things the way they are and making the best of it.
Evelyn and Waymond share a kiss for the first time in a long time and finally there is a feeling of contentment in the entire movie and it shows the journey that she has gone on. Throughout every universe, Evelyn has experienced other things but here in this moment, she knows she truly belongs. The movie very much carries the message of making the best of it.
Why I Loved It
Now, this is why I love the film because, on top of all the cool effects and references, there’s a heart to it that isn’t really matched in most other movies. Beyond its story though the film also excels in other areas like its editing, score and action. There are so many new and creative things that they do in this film and it’s constantly awash with so many aspects that haven’t really been used all that much in the film. Even aspects like the aspect ratio constantly switching gives this feeling of otherworldliness and I love how you can often forget that most of this is taking place inside the IRS building.
There’s so much going on with the film and even after discussing all of this, I feel like I’m still just scratching the surface. There’s so much complexity here but there’s also the simplicity at the core of it that this is a film about family.
It’s fast and furious but also heavily layered with amazing acting, and a career-defining performance by Michelle Yeoh and also Ke Huy Quan. He’s been massively overlooked in Hollywood and after his appearance in Temple of Doom and The Goonies he was pretty much cast to the side.
However, he’s come back with an incredible performance that very much grounds the film and it brings in the incredible visuals of it to lace it with a feeling of humanity.
The movie excels at everything it attempts to do and I’ll be shocked if it doesn’t sweep the next Oscars. For me, it has the best editing, best cinematography, best directing, best original screenplay, and the lot. This is an incredible film and it’s easy to score it a perfect…
I’d of course love to hear your thoughts so make sure you comment below and let me know you punk.