Everything Everywhere All At Once: Meaning Of The Movie, Explanation Of The Ending, Plot, Description, Similar Movies. The Multiverse In My Head: the Essence of the Film Everything Everywhere All at Once
Genre: Fantasy, Action, Drama, Comedy
Year of production: 2022
Directed by: Daniel Scheinert, Dan Kwan
Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ke Huy Kuan, Stephanie Xu James Hong
The meaning of the film Everything Everywhere All at Once, which struck the viewer with the density of the narrative, and in terms of the level of wow-effect compared to the “Matrix”, is fully consistent with the name. He seems to be really trying to embrace the boundless. In fact, the film has several endings flowing into each other at once and, accordingly, several important ideas. And this is just what lies on the surface – the authors leave many options for finding hidden meaning.
What is the movie about
The content of the film “Everything is everywhere at once” is overflowing with a huge number of plot moves, references to pop culture. We are used to seeing such “chatter”, throwing from one saturated frame to another in cartoons. In cinema, this is a rarity even for modern blockbusters. A detailed description of what is happening in the picture will take dozens of pages, so we will limit ourselves to a brief analysis of the details, as far as possible, in order to catch what happened on the steep turns of the plot.
Michelle Yeoh played the lead role of Evelyn Wong, while Li Jing played the role of a kung fu master. Frame from the film.
In the first frame we see the happy family of the main character. Apparently, this is an episode from the past or from another universe (there will be many more), because in this real life, everything goes topsy-turvy for Evelyn Wong. She makes ends meet, trying to keep her business (laundry) afloat, deal with tax returns, please her elderly father.
In this turmoil, she brushes aside her kind and loving husband, who is completely desperate to get through to his wife and decides to file for divorce. Her lesbian daughter Joy, who is trying to introduce her girlfriend Becky to her grandfather and make her a family member, also turns out to be out of the attention of the heroine. During the conversation, they do not notice how, on the screen with the image from the video cameras installed in the laundry room, Evelyn Waymond’s husband suddenly begins to rush around the room.
The heroine is distracted by a romantic film with singing lovers. She is interrupted by Joy with another attempt to recognize Becky as his girlfriend. However, Evelyn introduces her to her father as her daughter’s friend. Joy is offended, and her mother is unable to say anything to her except “You’re getting fat, watch your diet.”
The message “Part One: Everything” appears on the screen. The couple, along with the father of the heroine, go to the tax office. They enter the elevator. Waymond again tries to talk to his wife, but she again refers to the mountain of accumulated cases. After closing the elevator doors, he begins to behave strangely: he says that Evelyn’s life is in great danger, puts a headset on her and installs an application on her smartphone.
With the help of these manipulations, the heroine’s life is scanned: she sees how she was born, how she fell in love, left her father and left China for the USA with Waymond, opened a laundry with him, gave birth to Joy, moved her already elderly disabled father to her. The “husband” also gives Evelyn a three-point absurd task to complete while standing in front of tax inspector Deidri Byubedri. Weymond then becomes normal again.
The conversation with the inspector goes badly – there are continuous problems in reporting. Then Evelyn performs actions according to the instructions. After that, she seems to split in two, simultaneously remaining in the chair in front of the inspector and being in the pantry with the strange Waymond. He explains to Evelyn that he is not her husband, but another version of him from another universe. The whole world is threatened by evil, and the heroine is the last hope of humanity. At this point, Inspector Deirdry from a parallel world breaks into the pantry, breaking Waymond’s neck and killing Evelyn, who is in the pantry. The consciousness of the heroine returns to the “ordinary” reality. The “real” inspector, thanks to the persuasion of her husband, gives a delay until the evening, so that for the remaining time the family can put the accounts in order.
Frame from the film.
Standing near the elevator, Evelyn hears her father grumbling that her daughter is always running somewhere and never finishes things. This gives the heroine strength to hit the inspector, who was momentarily “possessed” by Deidri from a parallel universe. The office staff calls the police, while Evelyn finds out that her husband is going to file for divorce. And again Weymond appears from another reality. He takes out lipstick from his wife’s bag and eats it, after which he acquires the abilities of a martial artist and successfully fights the police.
We are introduced to the villainess Jobu Tupac – Joy from a parallel universe, looking for Evelyn from the “ordinary”. She sees the corpse of Evelyn (the one who was killed in the pantry by the “evil” Deirdre) and realizes that the one she is looking for is gone.
Meanwhile, Waymond from another reality gives Evelyn an explanation for how the multiverse works, resembling a sea of bubbles. Those that are close to each other are similar, those that are farther away are more different. The point is that you can move between them using a through jump, the technology of which was invented by Evelyn from the world of this Waymond (alpha Waymond from the alpha world), killed by the villainess Jobu Tupac. In the alpha world, there is a control center with operators similar to operators from the movie “The Matrix”. They give advice on moving.
The heroine asks to be left alone, but Alpha Waymond insists that she is the chosen one. Only she can resist some terrible embodiment of the chaos that Jobu Tupac created.
Evelyn and Alpha Waymond flee from the assassin Deirdre. To acquire the abilities of a gymnast, operators give a hint to their leader: he must cut himself four times on purpose with a piece of paper. Alpha Waymond does so, but fails to confront Deirdre the Killer and dies. His consciousness moves to the alpha world, from where he calls Evelyn. On his advice, she should sincerely confess her love to Deidri the killer.
This is one of those absurd acts (like cutting with a piece of paper, eating lipstick or changing shoes in front of an inspector – the more delusional the better) that jump between universes and acquire the chosen superpower of its counterpart from there.
It is not possible to sincerely confess, which is why the heroine is transferred to a currently useless world, where she discusses a divorce from her husband.
Stephanie Xu as Joy Wong, Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn, Ke Huy Kuan as Wymond Wong. Frame from the film.
Alpha Waymond abandons Evelyn and she has to confront the assassin Deirdre on her own. Finally, she manages to sincerely make a confession, after which the heroine momentarily moves to the universe in which she did not go with Waymond to the USA, but remained in China, mastered kung fu there and became famous. Thanks to this, she manages to defeat Deidri the killer. Alpha Waymond returns to Evelyn.
The heroine is drawn to the world where she is famous.
But Alpha Waymond says that moves can only be used to gain skills. If you go too far with them, you can die from an “overdose” of other universes in your head. Alpha Waymond also says that in his world, alpha Evelyn overloaded her daughter Joe with movements between universes, after which she lost her moral guidelines, began to exist simultaneously everywhere and carry chaos in herself – she turned into the villainess Job Tupac.
Evelyn is distracted by the universe where she is famous to talk to the local version of Waymond. And in the current reality, she is overtaken by Joba Tupac, who immediately kills the surrounding police officers in fantastic ways. The heroine understands that her daughter in this reality, behaving rebelliously, was also influenced by the villain. While about to fight Jobu, Evelyn makes a mistake and jumps into a world where people have sausages instead of fingers, and she herself meets with the local Deirdre. Showing what the evolution episode looked like here, the viewer is given a reference to the cult film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Operators in the alpha world, led by alpha Weymond, reason that a perfect jump would kill most of those who dared to do so. This confirms that Evelyn is the chosen one.
Jobu shows his creation – a giant bagel. She “concocted” him from a variety of things, he is the embodiment of chaos and the truth that nothing in this world makes sense. Guilt and pain, about not doing anything worthwhile in life, is pulled into the donut hole along with life itself.
Chaos almost consumes Evelyn – at the last moment she is saved by her father from the alpha universe. The heroine is trying to say that she is still not the chosen one, that she is a complete zero. Alpha Waymond replies that this is why she is the salvation of mankind. After all, her life is a huge collection of mistakes and wrong choices. Evelyn is the worst version of herself. Thanks to this, the potential of the heroine is great.
Frame from the film.
Alpha father Evelyn asks her to kill his daughter Joy, because she is one of the variations of Jobu Tupac. But the heroine does not allow this to be done. She intends to understand Joba and save her. Thus, Evelyn turns all the operators of the alpha world against herself. Now they’re trying to kill her so she doesn’t turn into Tupac’s second Job.
Alpha people perform absurd acts, pumping their skills, and release gas into the room where Evelyn is with her husband and daughter. But the heroine gets an increased lung capacity, thanks to moving to the universe, where she became a singer, holds her breath and thus overcomes the obstacle. There are several fights with alpha people with parallel skill development. Hits received are reflected on copies of Evelyn in other realities.
Alpha Waymond is delighted with the abilities of the heroine. He expresses the idea that in the desire to save his daughter at any cost lies a great power. And maybe even save the entire multiverse. In the alpha world, Jobu Tupac overtakes him and he dies, returning the “ordinary” Waymond to his place.
Evelyn continues to “split” herself, gaining new abilities, but she becomes ill – she faints from overload.
Credits, but this is not the end. The heroine continues to “talk” between the worlds. In one of them, the alpha fighter in the version of the cook with a raccoon on his head (a reference to the cartoon “Ratatouille”, where a culinary rat also sat on the cook’s head). Shocked, Evelyn says, “No matter how ridiculous I think, it turns out that it exists somewhere.”
The second part, titled “Everywhere”, begins with the fact that the heroine finds herself in a version of the universe where she managed to get a tax deferment until the evening, but there was no further incident with the blow of the inspector and battles in the offices. The filing time coincides with the start of the Chinese New Year party, so the laundry room is decorated and everyone is festively dressed. There, Evelyn again catches up with Joba, who guides the heroine through another chain of worlds and says that everything around is a random reorganization of particles in an oscillating superposition. They are everywhere.
Frame from the film.
Jobu leads Evelyn to the bagel that represents chaos. The heroine asks to return her daughter, but Tupaci explains that all her versions are the same. Joba herself is not going to kill Evelyn. She just wants her to feel the same as her.
Seeing the bagel, the heroine continues to dissolve into different universes. In the “ordinary” world, where nothing special happened, she signs her husband’s divorce application with the words “stop running” and is rude on the phone to Inspector Deirdre, who never waited for her to report, because “nothing matters”. The latter immediately declares to the laundry, intending to confiscate all property.
Evelyn takes the bat and breaks the glass. In other worlds, she also does “wrong” things. Including hurt Waymond in the universe where there were fights with alpha people. And in a world where an alpha fighter is friends with a raccoon, Evelyn turns in a talking beast to the veterinary service. She also chases Deirdre away with sausage fingers. Bubble Worlds turns red – Evelyn is wreaking havoc.
From overload, the heroine is transferred to a completely different quiet universe, where there is no civilization and even life, and she, along with Jobu, exists in the form of large stones on top of a mountain. In this guise, the mother and daughter “argue” about people who were selfish creatures, imagined themselves to be the center of the entire universe, although in fact they represent an insignificantly small part of it. Jobu says that by pursuing Evelyn, she hoped that she would dissuade her from committing her plan. And she planned to enter the donut and thus erase herself from the multiverse. Jobu wants Evelyn to follow her.
But the heroine returns to the “ordinary” world, finds herself handcuffed to a chair. Waymond talks with Inspector Deidri and asks her not to punish her husband, to give her another week. Suddenly, the persuasion worked. Evelyn is extremely surprised: the kindness of her husband, who, in her opinion, only makes things worse, suddenly worked! She asks how he did it. Waymond replies, “I don’t know, I just talked.”
In other worlds, the wounded Waymond in front of the alpha fighters and the failed husband of Evelyn, where that celebrity is, continue to explain the meaning of their behavior: good is not weakness, you need to see the good in everything. This is his way of fighting. And in the “ordinary” world, he is truly happy next to Evelyn. She accepts his position and refuses to disappear into the bagel with Jobu.
Jamie Lee Curtis as Deirdre. Frame from the film.
Jobu herself is adamant – she goes into this black hole. Alpha people attack Evelyn so that she does not interfere with the disappearance of the “villainess”. The heroine, on the other hand, begins to fight using Waymond’s method: she penetrates the universes of each attacker and fulfills their cherished desires there (and also corrects her mistakes: for example, she undertakes to save a raccoon, “arrested” through her fault, and establishes relations with Deidri with sausage fingers). As a result, here they become unarmed. Evelyn even turns bullets into funny eyes that Waymond sticks on clothes in the laundry.
In the “ordinary” world, the heroine speaks frankly with her father, admitting that she was stubborn and that her daughter grew up like that. And finally announces that Bequiy is Joy’s girlfriend.
Evelyn almost defeats Joba and all of her incarnations, including Joy, with kindness. But suddenly Joy screams to just let her go. And the mother quietly says: “Okay.” She releases Jobu into the abyss of the donut, and Jobu’s rock falls down the mountain. Probably something similar happens in other universes.
But in the “ordinary” world, the mother still stops Joy and expresses her claims to her. Mother says that she can be with anyone in other universes, but chooses this Joy. Even if they only have a few short meaningful moments, she will appreciate them. Mother and daughter embrace – there is their unity here and in other worlds.
In the third part, called “Right away”, all family members, filled with love and mutual understanding, come to the tax office, where Inspector Deidri praises them for their achievements, but still asks to correct a number of shortcomings. At the very end, Evelyn looks around with rapture, seeing other universes in every particle of the surrounding space.
So, the explanation of the ending is multifaceted, since there are actually several of them. They are built like steps leading to the very essence of the film. To understand all this, let’s look at what happened to the heroine in “Everything Everywhere and At Once” in the most simplified way:
- Evelyn was mired in vanity (chaos) and did not pay attention to her family members.
- She learns about her superpowers and begins to develop them, mired in chaos even more and literally harming the family.
- She realizes that she is mired in chaos – life loses all meaning.
- She finds a way out: you need to do good, see good and live in love with your family – this helps to resist chaos.
- She understands that this does not always help – sometimes you just need to accept what is, love the world and people as they are.
Fighting enemies, adventures are just a form behind which the essence is hidden. If we abstract and talk not about the heroine, but about all of humanity, with which the authors clearly associate her, and each of us, we get the following:
- People spend their whole lives chasing ghostly goals, which sometimes they don’t even understand (in the film, this role is played by tax reporting).
- The more a civilization or an individual develops (superpowers), the more they lose the meaning of their existence.
- There comes a heavy awareness of the meaninglessness of existence (donut).
- There is a rethinking of everything that exists: only good deeds and love are of value.
- At an even deeper level comes the understanding that after all, the main thing is not even love and kindness, but acceptance.
The heroine goes through an unconscious existence, then awareness, love and acceptance. The meaning of each ending of the film Everything Everywhere All at Once corresponds to a separate stage of this path.
Yet these universes and the movements between them, as Jobu said, are a random reorganization of particles in an oscillating superposition. In other words, the chaos that Evelyn arranges through love and acceptance.
Ke Hui Kuan as Wymond Wong. Frame from the film.
However, having put forward such a powerful concept as the basic idea of the picture, the authors nevertheless took care of the completeness of the plot component (outside of philosophical reasoning) and gave their interpretation of what happened. And it seems that fantastic superpowers and the multiverse have nothing to do with it.
Directors throughout the story Everything Everywhere All at Once give hints that most of its events are just a reflection of the heroine, who is trying to improve her life and find harmony in communication with loved ones. She says in plain text that each universe is the embodiment of her chaotic thoughts.
A very vivid example: a world with a cook and a raccoon. Even before we are shown this universe, Evelyn, in a conversation with her husband and daughter, recalls the cartoon Raccoon. If you look at this dialogue in the original, you can understand that the heroine is simply making a reservation. She confuses the original name “Ratatouille” (“Ratatouille” is a French dish) with “Raccoontouille” (it turns out “raccoon”), that is, the word “Rat” (“Rat”) with the word “Raccoon” (“Raccoon”). And there is nothing strange in this, because Evelyn is Chinese and does not know English very well (this is also made clear to us at the very beginning of the film).
It turns out that all this fantasy is just the embodiment of the heroine’s thoughts. The real events are shown in episodes in the “ordinary” universe, where Evelyn tries to deal with taxes, then Weymond helps her, and, finally, frank conversations with her husband, father and daughter take place.
The meaning of the film
The authors deliberately arranged and filled their creation so that everyone would find their own meaning in it. But the general message of “Everything is everywhere at once” is this: if you are mired in chaos and feel that nothing makes sense, find it by doing good and finding love. And peace of mind and harmony will bring the acceptance of this world and these people as they are.
Frame from the film.
- The Matrix (USA, 1999): cult fantasy about the battle with the virtual reality system that replaced the real one;
- Cloud Atlas (USA, 2012): a blockbuster from the creators of The Matrix about heroes connected by a chain of reincarnations;
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (UK, US, 2010): witty and hilarious comic book about a teenager who must fight to get the girl of his dreams;
- Fountain (Canada, USA, 2006): philosophical fiction about three incarnations of the same hero;
- Swiss Army Man (USA, 2016) is the debut feature film by the directors of Everything Everywhere All at Once
- Rick and Morty (USA, since 2013) is an animated series for adults about the journey of a mad scientist and his grandson through the multiverse.