Ali Campbell isn’t sure he fully understood Everything. Everywhere, All at Once, but came away powerfully moved
Film: Everything, Everywhere, All At Once.
Running time: 2 hours 20 mins
Genre: Action, comedy, fantasy, Sci-fi
Overview Middle aged Chinese immigrant is led into a multi-verse adventure as she explores lives she might have led.
What you liked
A familiar advert for Alpha has the words, “Life: Is this it?” That kind of question lingers in the background of the absolutely bonkers film “Everything, Everywhere, All At Once.” Well, I say that - but for most of the film I found myself not asking “Is this it?” but rather, “What is this?!”
Maybe that was the point.
As a parent of two teenager daughters navigating school life, relationships, GCSEs and A Levels and University visits I’m often in a state of bewilderment about what is happening, where I am supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing?! Maybe you can relate?
At the centre of Everything, Everywhere is a relationship between a mother and daughter. In an adventure that seems to be a cross between The Matrix, Marvel’s “What If” series and Matt Haig’s novel, The Midnight Library. The main character, Evelyn, is trying to hold it together running a launderette, navigating life with a husband she doesn’t appear to respect or love and a daughter she is struggling to understand. Then, she is suddenly plunged in to multiple alternative worlds to the one we inhabit - one minute a master of kung fu, the next a chef, a singer, a cartoon character, a person with sausages for fingers … yes, sausages for fingers, oh and a rock. Life as a rock.
It won the ‘best picture’ Oscar along with six other Oscars. The Academy loved it!
What you didn’t like
Sexual content falls within the 15 rating, and any nudity is pixelated. But there is material that is suggestive of sexual deviance, within the craziness of the film.
There is violence depicted, but mostly within ‘comedic’ settings, depending on your sense of humour!
Thoughts for parents
It is baffling for most of the time, a bit like being a parent! However, there are some moments in the film where the dialogue between characters (in whatever crazy scenarios they found themselves in) spoke to me, and it is those I want to briefly share.
As the multi-world experience begins, Evelyn is told, “Right” is a tiny box invented by those who are afraid.” This resonated! If, as a parent, I just do the right things, if we just secure things here, batten down the hatches there, hem everything in to a manageable space where I (as the parent) know what is happening and can . . control it, everything will be alright. What am I afraid of? What if there are other ways of living and being and doing?
In one of these other worlds Evelyn and her daughter are rocks. There is silence and the words “said” appear on the screen. I think it is Joy’s rock that says, “You don’t have to worry about that here, just be a rock.” Do you ever feel like that need to escape and just be somewhere else or be something else, where you don’t have to worry about life or stuff? Just be a rock. This isn’t a Christian parallel, (at least not from the film!) but I did think with all the shifting sands and uncertainties of teenage life I do know a “rock”. We have a firm foundation!
A couple of other great lines, “Every new discovery is just a reminder we are all small and stupid.” wow, being a parent keeps you humble! I’ve amazing daughters who astound me regularly with who they are, what they think and know and can do. It is a privilege to be their dad! Finally, for me THE line of the film, from Evelyn’s husband, “The only thing I do know is that we have to be kind - especially when we don’t know what is going on.” That kindness is at the heart of the film, without giving it away, there are some wonderful moments which follow that statement. As parents we need to be kind to our children, we also need to be kind to ourselves. Parenting is hard, let’s not make it harder by being tough on ourselves all the time about how we are doing. Chose to be kind to yourself today.
Finally, the beauty at the end of the film is in the relationships. Here is the thing, so many possible lives - but, at the end, here they are and life is about the laundry and paying taxes. The mundane ordinary stuff is laced with magic. I don’t want to say any more than that, you’ll have to watch the film.