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Everything, Everywhere, All At Once: 8 Scenes That Chinoys Can Relate To

Everyone’s expecting Everything, Everywhere, All At Once to sweep this year’s Academy Awards — and for good reason! Praised for its phenomenal cast, empathetic plot, and fantastical effects, this multiversal film is both a treat for the eyes as well as it is a balm for the Asian diasporic soul. Essentially, for all of the absurdist humor that film indulges in, Everything, Everywhere, All At Once delivers a poignant message of family, dreams, and redemption that hits all the right emotional beats in its pursuit of telling the heroic story of an ordinary Chinese-American immigrant mother. And isn’t that an amazing premise in its own right?

Resonating with experiences of tradition, expectations, and the hopes carried out for a family for success abroad, here is a list of relatable scenes from the film that warms our — and hopefully, your — Filipino-Chinese heart. Check out the rundown of our favorites here!


The Intro: The Hyper-Capable Asian Mother

Right as the movie starts, we’re treated to the middle-aged Evelyn Wang dealing with responsibilities related to the family business, filial piety, cooking, and matters of a teenage heart all in the span of 10 minutes. Maybe this sounds stereotypical, but Asian mothers really do run the household best. However, as Everything, Everywhere, All At Once (EEAO) demonstrates, it’s also a heavy, soul-wearying task to undertake. 

This is precisely why it’s such a great opening to the film. Most superhero films feature conflicts that threaten to destroy the world or the universe. EEAO indulges in the genre by establishing how Evelyn Wang’s role as an immigrant mother in itself is already a world-saving feat. It turns out that being excellent at ordinary, everyday work can turn into skills that save the multiverse. Isn’t that neat?


The Move Abroad

It’s short, but it’s certainly an experience that all Filipino-Chinese families have experienced at least once, right? In a brief montage that details Evelyn’s life as a once-hopeful immigrant is a dream that started it all: the decision to move abroad for a new beginning. 


Starting a Family Business

Of course, the decision to move abroad often comes with the ambition for success. Like many Chinoy families, Evelyn and Waymond Wang made the decision to start their own family business: a laundromat. Although its humble beginnings were only fleetingly shown in Evelyn’s flashback of her life, the hazy Cantonese scene more than made its mark on the film, laying out not only the universal diasporic experience of a hopeful dream but also of its disappointments in the course of an ordinary life. 


Meeting Jobu Tupaki

Is it too late to warn for a spoiler alert? When Evelyn realizes that her daughter Joy is actually Jobu Tupaki, the great evil set to destroy the multiverse, she ends up with a bewildered conclusion: “Oh, it’s you. You’re the reason my daughter doesn’t call anymore, why she dropped out of college and gets tattoos. You are why she thinks she is gay.

We’re not saying that this is a universal experience among Chinoy families, but it’s true enough that understanding the younger generation can be difficult, especially when it interferes with a parent’s traditional worldview. Dropping out of college, getting tattoos, and coming out of the closet are known to be potentially difficult decisions to reveal to said parents. Some of these, after all, are stereotypically portrayed as troubled behavior — negative traits that, in Evelyn’s eyes, can only come from someone as villainous as Jobu Tupaki.


The Bagel

Jobu Tupaki, the Gen Z antagonist that she is, once said: “I got bored one day, and I put everything on a bagel. Everything. All my hopes and dreams, my old report cards, every breed of dog, every last personal ad on Craigslist, sesame, poppy seeds, salt. And it collapsed in on itself.” 

At first glance, seeing a bagel become a black hole is probably not what you expected to be on a list of relatable things from the movie, but it’s a metaphor that really pushes its point through. The reason why alphaverse Joy became Jobu Tupaki in the first place was because her mind fractured from shouldering her mother’s dreams. While we can’t speak for everyone, it’s not an uncommon experience for Asian kids to break down under the pressure of fulfilling their parents’ expectations. That said, portraying the experience as a blackhole bagel — of all things —   really makes the point stand out even more. 

(A note to parents: Please do not leave your kids to fall into the bagel.)


Wearing Red to a Party

This detail is not quite as serious in tone as the others, but we can’t not add such a ubiquitous Chinese tradition to the list. In the film, the Wang family, as well as their Chinese guests, all wear red to celebrate the Lunar New Year. It is only their non-Chinese visitors who wear other colors. 

In addition to that, other traditions such as hanging red lanterns, preparing lucky dishes, and setting up a karaoke to sing some classic Chinese songs are also worth a fun mention. 


The Reconciliation

When Evelyn tried to stop her daughter Joy from running away, she decided to be frank: “You are getting fat. And you never call me, even though we have a family plan. And it’s free. You only visit when you need something. And you got a tattoo, and I don’t care if it’s supposed to represent our family. You know I hate tattoos. And of all the places I want to be, why would I want to be here with you?”

There may be a lot to unpack from this call out, but the main point is that even though Asian parents can be tough, telling you things so matter-of-factly that sometimes it hurts, they are probably doing it for your best interests at heart — because they love you. That’s why despite everything they have been through across the multiverse, Evelyn still confirms what Joy needed to hear: “I still want to be here with you. I will always, always, want to be here with you.”  


The Ending: Family Goes Through Things Together

Even though the last segment of the film, Part 3: All At Once, is barely two minutes long, it successfully concludes this journey with a powerful message. Although facing problems together with your family — with the people you love — doesn’t quite solve them, everything might just feel a little bit easier, a little bit lighter, and a whole lot more worth it.     

In the end, the perfect way to end a film as absurdly packed as Everything, Everywhere, All At Once is this: an ordinary day in the life of an imperfect but loving family. 


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