By Crystal Olague || Staff Writer
*THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SLIGHT SPOILERS*
This past weekend, I had the lovely opportunity to watch Everything Everywhere All At Once thanks to the Asian American Alliance. This movie has been on my watchlist since the second I saw the trailer, and as a self-proclaimed cinephile, I was desperate to see this movie. Before seeing it, I watched a movie commentary about what takes place and what to expect from this movie. Based on the reviews and commentaries that I read, I knew that my heart was going to be broken coming into this movie.
This movie tells the story of a Chinese family living in America struggling financially to keep their business, a laundromat. The very first scene is between Evelyn and Waymond, who are husband and wife, under an enormous amount of stress as they sort through hundreds of documents for their taxes, prepare food for Evelyn’s very strict father, help out customers in the laundromat, and also prepare for their daughter, Joy, to come visit.
At first, it seems like the biggest issue that is present in the family is their taxes and not being able to file them correctly. At a closer glance and paying attention to Joy and her relationship with her mother, it is quite easy to see that the main issue that is clouding the family is generational trauma and parents’ disappointment in their children. From the very first introduction between Joy and Evelyn, we can see how disappointed and ashamed Evelyn is of Joy. Our first encounter with Joy is when she enters the laundromat and brings her girlfriend in with her. The look on Evelyn’s face revealed how she felt about Joy and her girlfriend, and to add on top of that, when Evelyn is telling her father that Joy is here, she describes her girlfriend as Joy’s “friend” which further highlights the disappointment apparent in both Evelyn and her father.
I won’t spoil too much more about what happens in the movie, but we watch Evelyn have to fight off an evil that is spreading across the multiverse, and she is the only one who can stop it. We learn that evil is Joy from a different universe, who is so hurt by the relationship she has with her mother that she is going across all the universes and destroying everything because of how much pain she is in. It ends with Evelyn and Joy having a conversation and actually hearing each other out. One of my favorite quotes from that scene was, “I’m tired. I don’t want to hurt anymore and for some reason when I’m with you, it just hurts the both of us. So let’s just go our separate ways. Just let me go.” You may be confused why I love this quote so much, but let me explain.
Being the child of immigrant parents, especially being a daughter, is one of the hardest things to do. I say this because being a daughter of immigrant parents, there are so many things expected of you that you must do or else you will be seen as a disappointment. It’s even harder when you look at the relationship between mothers and daughters because your mother is supposed to be your number one fighter. She is supposed to love and care for you. She is supposed to be there for you when no one else can. She’s not supposed to be the reason why you hate yourself or believe that your life doesn’t matter. It is so hard knowing that these are the people you are supposed to love unconditionally, but they are the reason for all the pain and suffering that you experience. We all go through this pain, but we choose not to speak about it because of the fact that we are supposed to love them no matter what they say to us and that our family can’t be the reason for our pain. I watched this movie and cried because while I was watching it, I reflected on the relationship between my mother and myself. It was so hard trying to dissect how we work and what it means. I recommend this movie to everyone, even those who also have “mommy issues,” because there is so much that you can relate to and learn from the movie, just like I did.
Junior Crystal Olague is a Staff Writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.