Evelyn Quan Wang

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Evelyn Quan Wang
Everything Everywhere All at Once character
Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn Quan Wang
Created byDaniel Kwan
Daniel Scheinert
Portrayed byMichelle Yeoh
In-universe information
Full nameEvelyn Quan Wang
SpeciesVerse-jumped human
GenderFemale
OccupationLaundromat owner
FamilyGong Gong (father)
SpouseWaymond Wang (husband)
Significant othersDeirdre Beaubeirdre (Hot Dog Dimension)
ChildrenJoy Wang (daughter)
Jobu Tupaki (daughter; Dimension Alpha)

Evelyn Quan Wang is a fictional character and the protagonist of the 2022 absurdist comedy-drama film Everything Everywhere All at Once. Portrayed by Michelle Yeoh and created by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert[a], Evelyn is a Chinese-American immigrant and laundromat owner who, while being audited by the IRS, discovers that she must connect with parallel universe versions of herself to prevent an omnicidal nihilist version of her daughter from another dimension from destroying her universe, and the multiverse beyond it. Yeoh also plays numerous alternate-dimension versions of Evelyn.

The filmmakers initially sought Jackie Chan for the role of Evelyn before the script was revised to feature a female protagonist,[1] inspired by the works of Hong Kong film director Wong Kar-wai, the children's book Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, and the video game Everything. Yeoh garnered widespread critical acclaim for her performance, winning the Best Actress at the 95th Academy Awards.[2][3][4][5]

Development

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The character that would become Evelyn Quan Wang was originally written to be portrayed by Jackie Chan, until Kwan and Scheinert reconceived the character as a woman, feeling it would make the husband–wife dynamic in the story more relatable,[6] naming the character Michelle Wang, after their favorite to cast in the role, Michelle Yeoh, who said, "If you ask the Daniels, when they started on this draft, they focused on, 'Well, we are doing this for Michelle Yeoh.'"[7] The character's first name was eventually changed to Evelyn. With her resemblance to the version of Evelyn as a martial artist and film star,[8] Yeoh opposed naming the character Michelle. "Evelyn deserves her own story to be told. This is a very ordinary mother [and] housewife who is trying her best to be a good mother to her daughter, a good daughter to her father, a wife that's trying to keep the family together [...] I don't like to integrate me, Michelle Yeoh, into the characters that I play, because they all deserve their own journey and their stories to be told".[8]

It was announced in August 2018 that Yeoh had been cast to star in what was described as an "interdimensional action film" from Kwan and Scheinert, with Anthony and Joe Russo attached to produce.[9]

Fictional character biography

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Evelyn Quan Wang was born in China. In the main universe, as a young woman, she elopes with her husband Waymond Wang to the United States against the wishes of her father who threatens to disown her.

Once in California, she finds herself disappointed with their living conditions and with the drudgery of running a laundromat. She finds joy when their daughter Joy is born, but later struggles with her as a rebellious teenager.

One of Evelyn's unfulfilled ambitions in life was to become a professional singer. The story suggests that she tried and failed at writing a novel, becoming a chef, teaching, becoming a singing coach, and in becoming a masseuse.

Character storyline

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Michelle Yeoh portrays Evelyn.

In the present day, Evelyn Wang is stressed out as she tries to sort piles of receipts, as the laundromat is being audited by the IRS. Her husband Waymond tries to serve Evelyn divorce papers in an attempt to get her attention so they can talk about their marriage. She is also concerned about preparing for a Chinese New Year party at the laundromat that evening, which her demanding father (Gong Gong) will be attending. When their adult daughter Joy arrives to help them, along with her non-Chinese girlfriend Becky, Evelyn says that she accepts their gay, mixed-race relationship, but implies that her own father would not approve, and avoids Joy's pleas to discuss whether or not Becky is welcome at the party.[10] Unable to have a meaningful conversation with her mother, Joy leaves the laundromat in tears with Becky, and Evelyn is left subdued.

In the elevator at the regional IRS office, Evelyn has her first encounter with Alpha-Waymond, a version of Waymond from the "Alphaverse", and sees a flashback of her own life. She is distracted and unable to focus during a meeting with IRS inspector Deirdre Beaubeirdre, who questions why they have claimed a karaoke machine as a business expense, and scolds her for not taking the meeting seriously and for not bringing their daughter to help translate as promised. Meanwhile, Evelyn is having discussions in parallel in a janitor's closet with Alpha-Waymond, who tells her that every disappointment and failure she has experienced in life has made her uniquely qualified to save every world in the infinite multiverse from catastrophe. Deirdre gives the family an extension until 6 pm that evening, but Evelyn – confused by Waymond's sudden mention of divorce and berated by her father for never completing anything – punches Deirdre, landing them in trouble with security.

Alpha-Waymond reappears to help Evelyn out of this difficult situation. She learns, as they dodge security officers and more monstrous versions of Deirdre together, that many parallel universes exist because every life choice creates a new alternative universe. In the Alphaverse, the brilliant late Alpha-Evelyn developed "verse-jumping" technology, which enables people to access the physical skills, knowledge, and memories of their parallel selves by performing bizarre actions that are statistically unlikely. As chaos ensues around them, Evelyn herself experiences verse-jumping, briefly discovering other versions of herself including the glamorous kung fu film star that she could have been if she had refused to marry Waymond all those years ago.

All universes are now under threat of complete annihilation due to the all-powerful Jobu Tupaki, whose mind was splintered due to excessive pressure from Alpha-Evelyn; she can verse-jump and manipulate matter at will. When Evelyn has her first direct encounter with Jobu Tupaki, who is dressed like Elvis and coldly and disrespectfully destroys two police officers, it finally hits home with her that Jobu is simply another version of Joy, who is extremely unhappy. Evelyn and Jobu, dressed in a tennis outfit, face off in a tense one-on-one conversation. Evelyn blames Jobu for all of Joy's "failures", while Jobu starts to entice Evelyn with the empty nihilism of the Everything Bagel she has built, which has eased her pain with the realization that "nothing matters". As the force of the bagel starts to destabilize the multiverse, Alpha-Gong Gong appears in an electronic wheelchair to temporarily crush Jobu.

Alpha-Gong Gong instructs Evelyn to kill Joy to stop Jobu from using her to enter Evelyn's universe. Evelyn refuses and decides to face Jobu by gaining equivalent powers through repeated verse-jumping. Alpha-Gong Gong, convinced that Evelyn's mind has been compromised like Jobu's, sends soldiers after Evelyn. While they fight, Jobu locates and kills Alpha-Waymond in the Alphaverse. As Jobu confronts Evelyn in her universe, Evelyn's mind splinters, and she collapses.

Evelyn uncontrollably verse-jumps alongside Jobu across bizarre and diverse universes. Jobu reveals she does not want to fight at all, but that instead, she has been searching for an Evelyn who can see, as she does, that nothing matters. She brings Evelyn to the Everything Bagel, explaining that she wants to use it to allow herself and Evelyn to truly die. Upon looking into the Bagel, Evelyn is initially persuaded, and behaves cruelly and nihilistically in her other universes, hurting those around her.

Just as Evelyn enters the Bagel with Jobu, she pauses to listen to Waymond's pleas for everybody to stop fighting and to instead be kind, even when life does not make sense. Evelyn has an existentialist epiphany and decides to follow Waymond's absurdist[11] and humanist[12] advice, using her multiverse powers to fight with empathy[13] and bring happiness to those around her; in doing so, she repairs her damage in the other universes and neutralizes Alpha-Gong Gong's fighters. In the universe where humans evolved to have hot dogs for fingers, Evelyn reconciles with her partner Deirdre;

In her home universe, Evelyn reconciles with Waymond, accepts Joy and Becky's relationship–and tells Gong Gong of it–while Waymond convinces Deirdre to let them redo their taxes. Jobu decides to enter the Bagel alone while, simultaneously in Evelyn's universe, Joy begs Evelyn to let her go. Evelyn tells Joy that even when nothing makes sense and even though she could be anywhere else in the multiverse, she will always want to be with Joy. Evelyn and the others save Jobu from the Bagel, and Evelyn and Joy embrace.

Sometime later, with the family's relationships improved, they return to the IRS building to refile their taxes. As Deirdre talks, Evelyn's attention is momentarily drawn to her alternative selves, before she grounds herself back in her home universe.

Other versions

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This section explores the alternate dimension versions of Evelyn featured throughout Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Alpha-Evelyn

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Evelyn Tupaki, informally known as Alpha-Evelyn, is the mother of Jobu Tupaki and the inventor of multiversal travel, whose actions lead to her daughter becoming one with all other versions of herself, and becoming an omnicidal nihilist who seeks to destroy the multiverse.

Hot Dog Evelyn

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In the Hot Dog Dimension, where humans evolved to have hot dog fingers and use their feet more often, its Evelyn is married to Deirdre Beaubeirdre.[14]

Actress Evelyn

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As part of the film's metatextuality with the "real world" of the viewer,[15][16] one of the alternate versions of Evelyn—a famous martial arts movie star—is a portrayal of Yeoh herself, with footage of her from the red carpet of Crazy Rich Asians and other films being used to represent the character.[16][17][18]

Miscellaneous

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Further alternate versions of Evelyn appear throughout the film, including a Chef Evelyn whose coworker is living through a raccoon-focused version of the film Ratatouille, and numerous random Evelyns who Jobu Tupaki kills in her pursuit of Evelyn, as well as others Evelyn inhabits, including a Rock Evelyn.[14]

Reception

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Most reviewers called Michelle Yeoh's performance as Evelyn as the best of her career,[19][20][21] Rotten Tomatoes calling her "outstanding",[22] and David Ehrlich of IndieWire calling it the "greatest performance [she] has ever given".[23] Marya E. Gates of RogerEbert.com also called Yeoh "the anchor of the film, given a role that showcases her wide range of talents, from her fine martial art skills to her superb comic timing to her ability to excavate endless depths of rich human emotion, often just from a glance or a reaction."[24] Maureen Ryan of Vanity Fair highlighted how "Yeoh imbues Evelyn with moving shades of melancholy, regret, resolve, and growing curiosity" and adding that she "makes her embrace of lead-character energy positively gripping."[25] Adam Nayman of The Ringer called the film "a love letter to Yeoh [and] extremely poignant, giving its 59-year-old star a chance to flex unexpected acting muscles while revisiting the high-flying fight choreography that made her a global icon back in the 1990s".[26] Tasha Robinson of Polygon named the scene of Evelyn and Joy Wang as rocks with their dialogue appearing as on-screen subtitles, all while trying to find common ground, as one of the best movie scenes of 2022, saying "...it's a perfect moment. Like so many EEAAO sequences, it turns between emotions on a dime. But the quiet of the moment is essential. Out of context, it's just an odd moment between rocks. But within the context of the film, it's a breather the audience and characters both desperately need, and the emotions are so heightened that just the sight of rock-Joy and rock-Evelyn sharing a companionable laugh is remarkably heartening and hilarious",[27] Armond White of National Review writing of the same sequence how "Yeoh brings adult stability to the blackout-skit chaos and cast of "stupid human" clowns",[28] and Robert Lee III of Collider complimenting her "surprisingly effective emotional core".[29] The A.V. Club included Evelyn Wang on its list of the "15 Best Movie Moms Of All Time," with Cindy White writing that the character's "...love for her daughter crosses universes and spans realities. It's so strong, you can feel it coming through the screen, even when the two of them are rocks."[30]

Accolades

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At the 95th Academy Awards, Michelle Yeoh won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Evelyn Wang,[31][32] making her the first Asian Best Actress, the second woman of color Best Actress, and the first Malaysian to win any Academy Award.[33] She also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical at the 80th Golden Globe Awards.[34]

See also

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Notes

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  1. ^ Known collectively as Daniels

References

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  1. ^ Bhagchandani, Umesh (March 21, 2023). "Michelle Yeoh and Jackie Chan's roller-coaster friendship: the Malaysian Oscar winner and her Supercop co-star started acting together in Hong Kong, but she once called him 'a chauvinistic pig' on TV". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on November 1, 2023. Retrieved November 1, 2023.
  2. ^ "The Cult of Daniels". February 28, 2023.
  3. ^ Guy, Zoe (March 13, 2023). "Everything Everywhere All at Once Did It For the Mommies". Vulture. Archived from the original on March 13, 2023. Retrieved 2023-03-13.
  4. ^ Fuster, Jeremy (March 12, 2023). "Oscars: A24 Is First Studio to Win Top 6 Awards in Same Year". TheWrap. Archived from the original on March 13, 2023. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
  5. ^ Eng, Joyce (March 12, 2023). "A Best Picture champ hasn't won multiple acting Oscars in a long time, but 'Everything Everywhere All at Once' can end that dry spell". GoldDerby. Archived from the original on March 12, 2023. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
  6. ^ Bergeson, Samantha (March 15, 2022). "Michelle Yeoh's Role in 'Everything Everywhere All at Once' Was Originally Written for Jackie Chan". IndieWire. Archived from the original on April 24, 2022. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
  7. ^ Smart, Jack (April 13, 2022). "Michelle Yeoh on the roller coaster ride of Everything Everywhere All at Once". The A.V. Club. G/O Media. Archived from the original on April 17, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  8. ^ a b Radulovic, Petrana (April 11, 2022). "Michelle Yeoh's personal guide to Everything Everywhere All at Once's vast multiverse". Polygon. Archived from the original on April 17, 2022. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  9. ^ Galuppo, Mia (August 30, 2018). "Michelle Yeoh, Awkwafina in Talks for Film From 'Swiss Army Man' Directors". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on April 11, 2021. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  10. ^ Ruiz, Rebecca (March 13, 2023). "'Everything Everywhere All At Once' has the best take on mental health you never expected". Mashable. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 11 April 2023.
  11. ^ Perry, Lauren (July 15, 2022). "Everything, Everywhere, Nihilism, and Absurdism, All At Once". MovieWeb. Retrieved 15 March 2023.
  12. ^ Mooney, Darren (16 May 2022). "Everything, Everywhere All at Once Finds Meaning in the Multiverse". The Escapist. Archived from the original on January 24, 2023. Retrieved 13 March 2023.
  13. ^ Smith, Barrett Edwards (February 4, 2023). "Fighting With Kindness: Is Empathy the Biggest New Movie Superpower?". Game Rant. Valnet Inc. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  14. ^ a b "The 150 Greatest Science Fiction Movies of All Time". Rolling Stone. January 2024.
  15. ^ "Everything Everywhere All at Once". Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Archived from the original on May 4, 2022. Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  16. ^ a b Fear, David (April 7, 2022). "Michelle Yeoh Conquers the Universe(s)". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on May 2, 2022. Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  17. ^ Swisher, Kara (April 12, 2022). "How Michelle Yeoh Took Jackie Chan's Role". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 3, 2022. Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  18. ^ Nayman, Adam (March 28, 2022). "It's Right There in the Title". The Ringer. Archived from the original on June 4, 2022. Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  19. ^ Ehrlich, David (12 March 2022). "'Everything Everywhere All at Once' Review: 'The Matrix' Meets the Multiverse in Daniels' Instant Classic". IndieWire. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  20. ^ Sun, Rebecca (15 March 2022). "Michelle Yeoh Finally Loses Her Cool: 'What Have I Got to Lose?'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  21. ^ Rose, Steve (13 May 2022). "'I told Jackie Chan, your loss, my bro!': how Everything Everywhere gave Michelle Yeoh the role of a lifetime". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  22. ^ "Everything Everywhere All at Once". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Archived from the original on October 5, 2023. Retrieved October 16, 2023.
  23. ^ Ehrlich, David (March 12, 2022). "'Everything Everywhere All at Once' Review: 'The Matrix' Meets the Multiverse in Daniels' Instant Classic". IndieWire. Archived from the original on March 13, 2022. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  24. ^ Gates, Marya E. (March 12, 2022). "Everything Everywhere All at Once movie review (2022)". RogerEbert.com. Archived from the original on May 31, 2022. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  25. ^ Ryan, Maureen (April 8, 2022). "Ambitious, Outrageous 'Everything Everywhere All at Once' Is All That and More". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on April 9, 2022. Retrieved April 10, 2022.
  26. ^ Nayman, Adam (March 28, 2022). "'Everything Everywhere All at Once' Fulfills the Promise of Its Title". The Ringer. Archived from the original on June 4, 2022. Retrieved April 10, 2022.
  27. ^ Volk, Pete (December 27, 2022). "The best movie scenes of 2022". Polygon. Archived from the original on February 3, 2023. Retrieved January 21, 2023.
  28. ^ White, Armond (July 8, 2022). "2022 Midyear Reckoning". National Review. Retrieved June 8, 2023.
  29. ^ "The 10 Best Action Movies of the 2020s So Far, Ranked". Collider. December 9, 2023.
  30. ^ White, Cindy (May 12, 2023). "The 15 best, and 5 worst, movie moms". The A.V. Club. Retrieved December 10, 2023.
  31. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (March 12, 2023). "Oscars: Complete Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on March 13, 2023. Retrieved March 15, 2023.
  32. ^ Vlessing, Etan (2023-03-16). "'Everything Everywhere All at Once' Wins Big at 2023 Critics Choice Super Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2023-03-19.
  33. ^ Pulver, Andrew (2023-03-13). "Jamie Lee Curtis wins first Oscar for best supporting actress in Everything Everywhere All at Once". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2024-02-02.
  34. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (January 10, 2023). "Golden Globes: Full List of Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 22, 2023. Retrieved October 22, 2023.