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Culture > Entertainment

4 Interesting Symbols in Everything Everywhere All At Once

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Riverside chapter.

There are spoilers ahead for the symbols within the movie! Take this as a warning!

“Everything Everywhere All At Once” is one of the weirdest movies I have ever watched in the best way possible. It directly addresses immigration, societal issues, and Asian family dynamics that range from acceptance to homophobia. As a bonus, it also has some of my favorite Asian actors such as Michelle Yeoh and Stephanie Hsu. With so many moving parts and overstimulating scenes taking place, I made the executive decision to watch it twice in one week, and found myself mesmerized by all of the interesting details that I missed. Here are some of the most influential symbols in the film:

Googly Eyes

The googly eyes are one of the first details that I noticed upon watching the film for the first time. We see Waymond (Ke Huy Kwan), Evelyn’s (Michelle Yeoh) husband, place them around the laundromat and upstairs apartment. Whether it can be seen as a sign that he was there, or something deeper like his optimistic perspective is a whole different topic. However, the way Evelyn utilizes the googly eyes at the end of the movie to symbolize a figurative “third eye” was a beautiful detail, as it showed character growth and the accumulation of knowledge on how to view life as a whole. I would also argue that it encouraged Evelyn to approach life with love and optimism. 

Cafe Bagle Coffee Laptop
Michele Hu / Spoon

Everything Bagel

This was arguably something that I had to ponder, as the everything bagel that Jobu Tapaki covered pretty much…everything! From a cultural standpoint, I interpreted the bagel as a way of showing the good, the bad, and the ugly that came with Joy’s (Stephanie Hsu) life as she grew up with a myriad of expectations from her mother leading to mental health issues. The notable lack of understanding and acceptance between the three generations within Evelyn’s family also worsens this divide, prompting her to isolate and resort to constantly jumping in between different realms to escape speaks volumes on how Asian Americans feel alienated from older generations and seek comfort elsewhere. This was a great way to explain the complications of growing up in this kind of environment!

Ratatouille: Raccoon Version

I saw the introduction of the raccoon adaptation of Ratatouille as a comical way to integrate relatable conversations in Asian households. It reminded me of all the times my Filipino mother would mispronounce certain words, misunderstand American phrases, and often blend between using pronouns such as “he” and “she.” The writers of the film, the “Daniels,” actually confirmed this is what inspired the integration of this detail in an interview with the LA Times

The Clay Pot

While this only came up in conversation between Evelyn and Waymond, I found it fascinating that the explanation of “verse jumping” was simplified down to a clay pot slowly breaking. The term “verse jumping” pertains to the way Evelyn is able to jump between the different dimensions and take control of her alternate bodies. For instance, she can jump between her own world and a world where she becomes a world renowned actress specializing in kung-fu. When thinking about sci-fi films that look into the multiverse, it gets a little complicated when you think of a figurative web that is full with alternate realities in which different outcomes play out. Given Evelyn’s influence within the multiverse, it also explained how she felt as she explored the different realms. This also coincides with the visual effects of mirrors and glass breaking into shards of various sizes. 

This movie brings so much to the table to the extent that one can spend months analyzing every single scene. It may be confusing and take a while to understand, but it is also one of those life-changing movies that prompt people to analyze the lives in front of them and reflect on how their decisions impacted their outcomes. I hope to hear more of what people have to say about the symbols and implications of this film in the coming months, if not years!

Kayla Batchelor

UC Riverside '23

I'm an English major that is dedicated to writing about mental health, entertainment, relationships, politics, LGBTQIA+ issues, and literature.