Everything Everywhere is a Cinematic Masterpiece — Zena’s Library & Reviews
I know this movie has been on every film website and in everyone’s minds this last month or two, but I had to write about it because today was my second watch (my first watch was in a decent movie theatre not far from here). Having an audience around me really helps my enjoyment of Everything Everywhere at the Same Time. Tonight I got to watch it online with some pals.
This film is so layered. I love it when something that’s sweet and family-oriented enough to make it mainstream can be so intelligent and weird, too. Here are all the major themes Everything Everywhere at the Same Time plays with.
Films that prioritize or utilize family elements sometimes make me feel weird and left out. I don’t have a close or interesting relationship with any family members. Most of my life I’ve felt neglected and abandoned by them. But this is why Jobu Tupaki is such an intriguing villain to me. You rarely see this dichotomy in cinema, where the mother is the heroine and the daughter is the villain. Not unless you’re watching some Exorcist-type shit. In Everything Everywhere we see sides of this daughter/mother relationship that aren’t usually explored, done well : Mother Hero But Shit Mom & Person, Daughter Bad But Hurt And Honestly Kinda (Extremely) Relatable. They are torn apart by worlds of pain and yet they come together.
Absurdism in Comedy
The comedy in this is perfect. I laughed hard through so many of the uses of absurdist humour and nihilism. For one, hot dog fingers, I mean… what? Everything on a bagel, Raccaccoonie. I think there were also elements taken from the whole “Chinese people making fun of Chinese people” thing that was sort of endearing to watch as an outsider to those cultures. I appreciate that the writers didn’t try to downplay cultural elements in the name of Americanism, but I’m also betting people didn’t think it was going to be as big of a hit as it has been.
Yin and Yang
Everything Everywhere utilizes the science-fantasy genre so perfectly to capture some really interesting philosophical elements. I read somewhere recently about the way Yin and Yang works in this film and I found that it really helped my understanding of it. Yin and Yang is the notion of Darkness/Light, Female/Male, and in this film Everything/Nothing. Taken into the context of the multiverse it becomes fascinating. On one hand we have our villain who has put “everything” in one place in order to die and become something else, finally. It can seem self-destructive, but it is also about the inherent balancing act our world, and universe, play in order to keep chaos from taking full reign.
Jobu doesn’t frame it this way, she frames it as boredom, as everything being too much. She mentions being pushed towards this by Evelyn. And we see this notion of everything being too much in the whole film, really. Because Evelyn is juggling so many things at once, she fails to “be good at any one thing.” This is her strength — it means she can start again. In the same way Jobu can start again if she ends her life, if she ends the universe, and the same way that nihilistic meaninglessness can give us meaning because it means we get to choose who we want to be and what we want to matter.
There’s a reference to our world being off, seeming like it’s on a wrong path, neighbours don’t trust each other anymore. Just today I was skimming through various feeds trying to catch up on what news I was supposed to be paying attention to. Is the war in Ukraine vaguely coming to a close yet? How are the hospitals in Ontario doing with wait times? Are we getting replacement nurses any time soon? How many cases of monkeypox are there now? Are we at our 7th or 9th Covid wave? Are crime rates really soaring in our cities? When is the housing market going to stop climbing? Is there any way to end the rampant homelessness happening in our cities? Is the opiate epidemic slowing down or climbing? Have we reached the inflation peak yet? How much is (insert resource here) now?
And I’m not joking, this is where my head is on a day to day basis. Where I live, there have also been massive anti-Covid and restriction protests that despite restrictions no longer being there keep on happening. So I think about where we are right now, the trajectory of where we’ve been for a long time, and I think about something like 2019, the year the world decided to get up off its ass and protest climate change apathy. I don’t know if you remember that, but I do. I remember hope, I remember seeing kids in groups all over town with their Extinction Rebellion signs. Today this is a vague memory because everything else happened after.
But my little meaningless life? Still gets to be one of choice. My life doesn’t matter at all, factually, and still gets to matter if I want it to. This is what this film is saying. We get to be drivers of change, instigators of chaos, meandering animals. We can be lonely daughters, full of every burden and yet still make choices. What choice, then?
And you guessed it, a perfect score from me.
You can read more of my thoughts and reviews on cinema in the cinema category.
Originally published at https://zenaslibrary.com on July 18, 2022.