Film & TV

“Everything Everywhere All At Once”: Why representation matters

Aminah Abd Rahman

Image credit: Empire Online

Everything Everywhere All At Once triumphed at the Oscars winning seven awards, including best picture. The film’s lead features Michelle Yeoh, who won the Oscar for best actress, becoming only the second woman of colour to win the award. Yeoh, whose character owns a laundromat business with her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), portrays the complex character of being a mother and wife, whilst struggling to embrace her true self. The film centres on the relationship between Evelyn Wang and her daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu), as well as depicting Evelyn taking care of her father, Gong Gong (James Hong). Michelle Yeoh did a spectacular job of delivering a heart-rending performance of her character, Evelyn, as a woman who longs for the unattainable whilst struggling to deal with the overwhelming reality of her situation. 

Malaysian actress, Michelle Yeoh, is a role model for many rising Asian actors and actresses wanting to make it into Hollywood. Due to the lack of diversity in the film industry, Yeoh’s win of ‘Best Actress in a Leading Role’ is a celebrated achievement. Her nomination alone made history, as she is the first Asian actress to be nominated for this award in Oscar history. As a Malaysian myself, this makes me truly realise how lack of representation in the film industry is a critical issue. In a hugely diverse world, many communities deserve more recognition in the industry, but few make it to a box office production. Some find success in indie movie productions, but the success rate isn’t astounding. 

An actress like Michelle Yeoh has extensive experience in the industry, but her recognition often goes unnoticed. Making it to Hollywood as an Asian woman is no easy feat, especially because the majority of Hollywood actresses and actors are predominantly white. Nepotism is also an issue that privileges certain actors and actresses, while discriminating against actors and actresses of other ethnicities, classes and races, who deserve an equal opportunity in their careers. 

The film industry also needs to take steps towards diversity by ensuring that the workforce includes more inclusive groups that come from various backgrounds. Everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status and ethnicity, should deserve equal opportunities to become what they want within the industry. Representation in the workforce shouldn’t be limited to casting people of colour in TV and movie roles but should also occur behind the scenes. The emphasis on tackling these issues in the public eye raises the question of how genuine the film industry aims to diversify its workforce because their intentions could be a mask for their true intentions.

The oscar-winning film contributes towards tackling the lack of representation in the film industry. However, at the heart of it all, the most emotional part of the movie is its depiction of family. Amid escaping from the multiverse and returning to reality, Everything Everywhere All At Once focuses on the mother-daughter puzzle, the acceptance of one’s identity, as well as navigating a failing relationship between husband and wife. 

Categories: Film & TV

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