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How ‘Everything, Everywhere, All at Once’ Changed My View On My Relationship With My Mom

Spoilers ahead!

I have…a complicated relationship with my mom. Growing up as a child of immigrants, a lot of my childhood felt very different from the average American experience. Though I’ve come to accept many parts of my unusual upbringing now, sometimes it feels like my mom is still stuck in the past. Watching Michelle Yeoh’s hit Everything, Everywhere, All At Once really brought to light my mom’s potential experience as an immigrant to this country.

Different Avatars of Mom
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In this scene, Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) sees all of the multiverse lives she’s led flash before her eyes in a montage. This clip powerfully displays the dreams she could’ve been living but doesn’t in her reality. Though this montage looks absolutely hilarious without context, I think it’s a really artful way of describing the thoughts and dreams a lot of our mothers had before moving to a new country. I know for a fact mine really wanted to go into research and have her own lab, and though she’s working towards those goals now, she still is “behind” many of her peers that stayed back in India. It’s a difficult thing to grapple with, and I think seeing this in a film really opened my eyes to it.

Sometimes mom wants to have fun too
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Prior to this scene, the male chef’s pet raccoon, serving the same purpose as the rat from Ratatouille, is kidnapped. Evelyn Wang decides to ignore her inclination to be a bystander and instead climbs on top of the chef, acting as the rat from Ratatouille, to chase after and save his pet raccoon. This is not only another HILARIOUS scene that had me cheering to the end, but also humanizes Evelyn as more than a mother. I just totally love how happy Michelle Yeoh’s character looks here and it leaves me wondering when was the last time I saw my mom like that? I think this scene offers a very subtle way to showcase the energy and determination of moms to help out those they care about, no matter how silly the problem.

once she chooses her battle, her fight Is relentless
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I’d regard this as the climax of the movie, a point where Evelyn stops fighting the nonsense throughout the plot and truly and fully embraces it. The googly eye on the forehead is a symbol of her just deciding to trust the system instead of fighting it. I feel like moms, in general, have so much to battle through every day, that sometimes it’s hard to figure out what matters the most in the long term. Is it worth fighting every day with your moody teenage daughter? Maybe, who knows! I do know though, that once you gain the trust of your mom, she really is there for you every step of the way. Kudos to Michelle Yeoh (and googly eye) for portraying it in such a beautiful way. Sometimes our moms just learn to embrace the nonsense, with a good heart.

If you haven’t seen this movie, what are you waiting for? It’s both a hilariously wacky film and a real tearjerker! I know Mother’s Day is long past, but I think this movie is a really great option to watch with your mom year-round. Who knows? Maybe you’ll come out with a new understanding of your relationship, just like me.

Somashree is a 3rd year Economics major minoring in Environmental Systems and Society and Digital Humanities. She's a huge cinephile with a special affinity for historical dramas (eg. The Crown or Bridgerton). She also loves learning languages and hopes to learn at least 4 languages by the end of the decade.
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