Everything Everywhere All At Once is a movie released in 2022 and immediately considered one of the weirdest and most complex releases of the year. The reason is clear: it’s a movie where the characters frenetically travel through a metaverse, with different alternative realities where every character has other skills, achievements, and resources. Things get so mixed up that it becomes hard to understand the real meaning of the movie. But the metaverse is only a narrative trick: after all, the film is about family, relationships between parents and children, and attitude towards life and others. Let’s explain what really matters about the plot and the ending.
You can watch the official trailer for Everything Everywhere All At Once here on Youtube.
What is the multiverse?
Yes, the heaviest visible presence inside the movie Everything Everywhere All At Once is the multiverse: a theoretical construct according to which every single decision we make can give birth to a different, alternative reality where things go differently, where we become other people. Theoretically, all these extra dimensions could be there, each one existing separately, and there could be a way to get in contact with the other universes.
Given this assumption, the movie puts the concept of “Verse jumping”: every character could do something considered weird in a given moment (that’s a narrative trick to make the movie funny) and contact another version of themselves in a different universe. Evelyn, the movie protagonist, learns this technique and immediately overuses it, creating massive confusion. She believes she’s in a Multiverse war against Jobu Tupaki, a villain who wants to destroy the multiverse and kill Evelyn, considering her the worst enemy.
The truth, though, is that Everything Everywhere All At Once is not a movie about the multiverse, and we understand that for the way it comes to its ending. We can go as far as stating that the existence of a multiverse is just in Evelyn’s head and represents the confusing way she’s trying to deal with reality, wondering about all the different possibilities that she could have achieved if her choices were different, and believing that she is the worst version of herself she could ever be. From this point of view, someone believes that the movie is about depression, or mental illness, as these are the kind of thoughts depressed people have.
But at its actual core, Everything Everywhere All At Once is a movie about family, relationships, and attitude toward life. Let’s see why.
Why Everything Everywhere All At Once is a movie about family
After we enter the logic of the multiverse, where every different possible version of ourselves brings a new piece of a greater puzzle, we start understanding the bigger picture, made of the elements that stay the same through all realities. At the bottom of the movie plot, we have a daughter, Joy, who’s lost: she’s in conflict with her mother, and she’s trying to obtain her unconditional love, but she struggles. In the worst universe of all, Joy becomes her mother’s worst enemy, a villain who wants to destroy everything because nothing really matters.
For a certain moment, we start believing that Joy/Jobu Tupaki’s intention to enter the black bagel is a metaphor for suicide. But we soon understand that it’s more than that: in the confusion the movie brings, Joy wants to destroy the world, but she also wants to cut the connection with her mother and go her own direction. She says she wants her mother to come with her and expresses her core wish to be understood by her: Joy is simply a young daughter who wishes her mother could see and feel what she sees.
On her side, Evelyn is very demanding. In the other universe, she pushes her daughter so much that she becomes the villain she is. This comes from her relationship with her father, Gong Gong: she was also a daughter who lacked love and didn’t receive recognition (her father didn’t approve her choice to marry Waymond).
From this point of view, we better understand the movie’s ending: Evelyn confronts her father, stating clearly that she never made him proud, and now she’s ok with it. In the same way, she wants her daughter to be proud of what she is. Because it’s OK to be a disaster. And at that moment, she introduces Joy’s girlfriend to her father. This creates a sudden reconciliation between Evelyn and Joy: Joy finally feels understood and loved for what she is. She’s now also free to live life as she wants, always sure that her mother will be there, loving her.
Waymond has an important role in all this: he represents kindness, an attitude towards life that deals with issues without violence, and always tries to bring things together gently. This is what metaphorically happens in the fight on the stairs, where Evelyn defeats all her opponents by gentle acts that destroy their violence: it’s a lesson she learned from her husband, and she finally knows how to use it in life.
This is the real message of Everything Everywhere All At Once explained: after Evelyn gets through all the aspects of the metaverse, acquiring knowledge, experience, and skills from all versions of herself, she’s finally able to reconcile the whole family and bring things all together. Her daughter is next to her at the last meeting with the tax office, and the situation seems much better. She looks at her family, proud of how united and compact it still is. After all, Everything Everywhere All At Once is a movie about family, about dealing with children in a gentle way, overcoming generational differences, and providing unconditional love.