Oscar-Winning Everything Everywhere All At Once Celebrates Individualism, Free Will
If the fate of the multiverse—of everything, everywhere across all timeliness and alternate realities—depended on you, you’d probably not be able to call upon the skills of a Hank Pym or a Rick Sanchez, don a superhero suit, and blast off into a fantastic CGI-based adventure to put things right.
But you could hug your loved ones. You could keep your small business afloat despite the IRS’s predations. Hopefully, you could have a laugh at the absurdity of the situation.
And that just might be enough to save the world. To save all the worlds.
Everything Everywhere All At Once, the newly crowned Oscar winner for Best Picture, is a manic bumrush of a film that is nearly impossible to sum up in a few paragraphs. It’s a science-fiction story wrapped inside an homage to the kung fu films of the ’70s, crossed with an exploration of mental health, with two big scoops of slapstick comedy heaped on for good measure. Inside all that, Everything grapples with a philosophical conundrum: If literally every possible outcome of every choice you’ve ever made were as real as this world, should you surrender to nihilism or embrace the freedom that comes from knowing your existence is both meaningless and unique?
“Since nothing matters, the only thing that can matter is the choice you make,” says Evelyn Wang, the film’s protagonist, played with exceptional energy and vulnerability by Best Actress winner Michelle Yeoh, at the movie’s climactic moment. It’s a rejoinder to the perspective expressed earlier by her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu), the would-be destroyer of the multiverse, who believes that embracing nothingness is the only way remove “the pain and guilt you feel for making nothing of your life.”
And while the movie may not have an explicitly libertarian interpretation—aside from using the IRS as a villain—t
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