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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

Everything Everywhere All at Once is a thrilling, ambitious, convoluted portrayal of the crushing pressure of the American dream and the dynamics of immigrant families. 

Everything Everywhere All at Once is a global sensation, earning over $135 million worldwide and becoming the most awarded film of all time, with 165 awards from major critics organizations and awards bodies. Everything Everywhere All at Once begins with a portrayal of the fraught dynamic between Evelyn Quan Wang – an overwhelmed Chinese immigrant and co-owner of a laundromat being audited by the IRS – and her husband and daughter, Waymond Wang and Joy Wang. At the IRS office, a version of Waymond from an alternate universe warns Evelyn of an existential evil that threatens to destroy existence and asks for her help. The story that follows is action-packed, theatrical, and a bit goofy, but its core premises are tender, painful, and heartwarming all at once. 

The genius in Everything Everywhere All at Once lies in the film’s presentation of the painfully relatable relationship between Joy and Evelyn. Joy traversed the entire multiverse to find a version of her mother who understood her and came up short. It’s impossible not to sympathize with her heartbreak, resentment, and nihilism; the viewer is overwhelmed with sadness for Joy’s circumstances – utterly desperate for her mother’s approval, but pessimistic about the prospects that her mother truly loves her. At the same time, it’s equally impossible not to commiserate with Evelyn, who also exists in a difficult position. (Seriously, if a version of my husband from an alternate universe told me that I was uniquely capable of saving the universe because I was so bad at everything I attempted, I’m not sure I’d help him at all.) Evelyn eloped with Waymond and moved to the United States, inviting the judgment and disappointment of her demanding father. Evelyn blames Waymond for her poor relationship with her father and cannot understand his goofy nature. She pushes Waymond away as a result, leading him to ask for a divorce just to get some attention from her. Joy and Waymond are similar in this respect; they both yearn for Evelyn to see them and understand them. Any child can relate to this struggle. How often in adolescence do we pray that our parents will eventually see us as living, breathing people rather than an amalgamation of the sacrifices they made for us? 

What sets Everything Everywhere All at Once apart from other movies that attempt to illustrate this picture is that Evelyn apologizes for her shortcomings as a parent and decides, herself, to make this apology to atone for a fraction of the pain that she has caused her daughter. She saw what she could have become, from the most successful version of herself to the cruelest version of herself. She saw the immense pain that every version of her daughter experienced – enough pain that her daughter no longer finds a point in existence at all. Evelyn’s apology – her acknowledgement that she wasn’t the best parent, and that she, too, was in pain which unknowingly furthered a cycle of generational trauma so characteristic of modern families – was a balm on the hearts of adults everywhere. The genius in this movie is that the characters are Asian, and it is such an authentic portrait of the Asian-American experience, but these characters didn’t need to be Asian to give this film weight. The weight of this film, the reason that it is so profound, comes from its ability to balance the impermeable sadness that trauma brings against the rare moments of levity in life. Joy finds a reason to care and to try, and so does each and every viewer. 

The film has a predominantly Asian cast, and its main characters are played by actors and actresses that Hollywood has overlooked in one way or another. Ke Huy Quan, who played Waymond, and Michelle Yeoh, who played Evelyn, both have remarkable stories of success because of this film. It is proof positive that Asian characters are not one dimensional, and Asian performers are capable of weighty, profound performances. In its immensity and complexity, Everything Everywhere All At Once has set a new bar for storytelling and inspired Asian writers, performers, and people. 

Nadaroopa Saraswathi Mohan is a student at the University of Florida. She was born in India but raised in Boca Raton, Florida. Nada is interested in politics, women's rights, and literature. In her free time, she reads, writes, and listens to music. Her favorite musical artist is Mac Miller.