Last year’s Everything Everywhere All at Once is a groundbreaking film.
Not only did the movie break several records, it marked a true step forward for Asians in the movie industry and will hopefully pave the way for more examples of its kind.
The problem with Asian representation in Hollywood is that it can often feel forced and repetitive.
Sometimes I find myself rolling my eyes at a show or movie that claims to advocate for representation but, in reality, perpetuates unnecessary or even harmful stereotypes against Asians.
For example, the Netflix show, Never Have I Ever, perpetuates some Asian stereotypes.
It’s important to note that the creator of this show, Mindy Kaling, is Asian, and while it’s unfair to expect her to get everything perfect, it can be disheartening when a member of your own community decides to join in on the not-so-funny jokes.
“The characters aren’t simply token immigrant characters, and they have storylines that aren’t completely based on their heritage.”
The protagonist, a South Asian immigrant, is nerdy, unpopular and very undesirable at times, which can be hard to watch.
Which is why Everything Everywhere All at Once was such a pleasant, refreshing surprise and joined the likes of Bridgerton (specifically season 2) in representing Asians well.
The characters aren’t simply token immigrant characters, and they have storylines that aren’t completely based on their heritage.
That’s not to say that their heritage is completely brushed over, but the characters are also just . . . normal.
In the movie, the protagonist, Evelyn, runs a failing laundromat with her husband, Waymond. Their daughter Joy is a lesbian, something Evelyn is struggling to accept.
She is also dealing with her highly critical father who lives with her. And then the sci-fi aspect of the movie kicks in.
Evelyn is entrusted with the job of saving the world by alternating between different universes and connecting her could-have-been lives.
She learns several lessons along the way and is reminded of the importance of family and the significance of kindness. The movie balances its sci-fi aspect while passing along crucial and often endearing life lessons.
The movie ends with Evelyn’s family rekindling their once fragile and fragmented relationship.
I won’t spoil too much, but it is a heartwarming ending and the line that stood out most to me is when Waymond tells Evelyn, “In another life, I would have really liked just doing laundry and taxes with you,” which highlights how doing something as mundane as laundry with your loved ones makes it not so mundane.
“For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibility.”
The movie was created by the duo Daniels, which consists of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. Kwan is Asian-American. The cast is primarily Asian.
Not only did the film break box office records, but it was also nominated for an astounding 11 Oscars, and won seven, including the Oscar for best picture.
Michelle Yeoh, who plays Evelyn, was the first Asian woman to win the Best Actress Oscar.
In her acceptance speech she stated: “For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibility.”
While events like these are long overdue, it’s always surreal to watch them happen.
Here’s to hoping moments like these become the new normal.