Everything Everywhere All At Once by Cami M. '23
a free early screening from lsc and a q&a with the directors
This past Sunday, I walked out of an early screening of Everything Everywhere All At Once hosted by MIT Lecture Series Committee (LSC).
MIT LSC hosts a lot of very cool early screenings as well as just high quality screenings of movies and projects them in 26-100. I’ve gone to a couple of screenings and events in the past in an effort to see more movies (I watched Fresh with Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones a couple weeks ago and also went to the Bo Burnham-Jonny Sun event I blogged about my freshman year) and this was a super unique opportunity since the writers/directors of the movie, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, were there to do a Q&A event after the screening.
LSC provided dinner beforehand as well as popcorn and refreshments which was really great and so many people showed up to watch the movie!
As for the movie itself, I sobbed like a little baby throughout the entire thing. I won’t write too, too much about the movie since I think everyone should see it for themselves but this movie truly felt like it came at the right time for me.
Everything Everywhere All At Once is a sci-fi action adventure comedy about a Chinese American woman traveling through the multiverse and seeing her other lives. The movie tackles a lot of different ideas, like immigrant mothers and generational trauma, being queer in a traditional Asian family, nihilism and the meaninglessness of life, and finding meaning in a meaningless life. It felt less like a movie and more like an experience. I didn’t feel as if I was watching the movie but the movie was kind of just happening to me. It is suffocating and intense and gut-wrenching and funny in the best way possible.
It features an interesting take on the multiverse. During the Q&A, the Daniels talked about how they wanted to create a movie that really dug deep into this concept of the multiverse and how multiverses alone destroy narratives, rendering the individual choices and decisions of their characters useless. And it’s true, we see our main character view her other versions of herself and realizes that the decisions she as accumulated in her life have created branches and branches of split lives of herself, and she has ended up in her worst timeline. Though meant to be comedic, I found this sentiment especially resounding, where her alternate-universe husband tells our main character that she is living her worst life possible, giving her endless possibility to become something better and greater. It is only up from here.
Not only does the film tackle this difficult idea of multiverses, but also addresses an onslaught of relevant familial issues. It was heartwarming to see not only queer representation in such a big film, but also watch a movie that tackles generational trauma from the perspective of the Asian immigrant mother as opposed to the child. Daniel Kwan touched a little about this in the Q&A, reflecting on his own experiences growing up as the child of immigrant parents. Watching this movie for the first time with his parents felt like a turning point in his relationship with his family. Something healing.
And yes, while it did feel like this movie was doing so much at once, it felt fitting. After all, the movie is quite literally titled Everything, Everywhere, All At Once.
This movie hit me like a fucking truck. I don’t quite know why in particular, but for a while I’ve been questioning my place at MIT and my purpose in what I’m doing and where I want to go and where I see myself. I study and study and work and do all these things but know that at the end of the day nothing will make a difference and I’ve been wrestling with these feelings. What is the point? What is the purpose? and where do I go? And I think this movie felt like an answer to those questions. I’m not sure what that answer was, but it felt like a big turning point in my life for…something.
In the Q&A after the screening, Daniel Kwan perfectly captured this feeling, saying that he’s been “waiting for a movie to change [his] life.” And I feel like, in a way, this movie has been something I’ve been waiting for a while. It felt like it was finally absolving me of my issues, wrapping me in its chaos and comedy and telling me in a big loud yell “It is okay not to know. It is okay to be nothing. It is okay to just be. Yes, the world is meaningless and nothing matters, but you can find the community and find the people you are willing to be in that nothingness with.”
Overall, Everything Everywhere All At Once is a movie that will stick with me, that will haunt me in my bones. For a movie that’s about nothing truly mattering, I felt like I had a purpose or some greater understanding of what the fuck was going on in my life after watching. I highly recommend you give it a watch! The fight scenes were brilliantly choreographed and so visceral and comical, yet perfectly balanced out by the touching moments surrounding family and expectations and relationships. It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry, it’ll make you question your life and your purpose. It is absolutely mind-boggling and absurd and I adored every moment of it.