Queer identities at the heart of 'Everything Everywhere All at Once' 

The world is raving about the stunning new film 'Everything Everywhere All at Once' and the unexpected queer plotline makes it even better.

Image from Everything Everywhere All At Once Film with Evelyn protecting her daughter and husband.
Image: Twitter

I was thoroughly on board with Everything Everywhere All at Once based solely on the crazy trailer and the movie having Michelle Yeoh as the lead. What I wasn’t expecting was a surprise queer influence on the story. Spoilers ahead for those who have watched the movie.

Michelle Yeoh plays Evelyn Wang, a Chinese-American woman who runs a struggling laundromat. Tensions are high due to the laundromat being audited by the IRS (and a particular nasty agent played by Jamie Lee Curtis). Additionally, her husband is trying to give her divorce papers; her demanding and unapproving father, Gong Gong, has just arrived from China; and her daughter, Joy, has been trying to get her mother to accept her girlfriend, Becky.

The latter element actually plays heavily into the plot and the resolution of the whole story as Evelyn is drafted to save the multiverse from an evil entity (I actually won’t spoil that part). Her battles with the enemy forces involve Evelyn, and her opponents, doing strange things to gain special abilities, including a hilarious scene with a sex toy.

Another queer element is another dimension where Evelyn and the IRS agent are a couple (a concept that “our Evelyn” struggles with). So what the movie sums up to be is a human story of a mother dealing with her daughter’s sexuality and queerness surrounded by a science fiction story.

Check out the trailer for Everything Everywhere All at Once below:

If you like science fiction movies and TV shows, check out these titles below which also present queer elements.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

With all the singing, dancing and comedy elements, you might forget that this classic has a science fiction story at its heart (the good doctor is making himself a man with blonde hair and a tan!). Equally wonderful on screen and stage, I’ll always recommend this.

V For Vendetta (2005)

What some people may forget about this movie is that protagonist V’s actions are partially influenced by the government’s treatment of the LGBTQ community. There is a beautiful letter written by a lesbian character, Valerie, that tells her (and her partner’s) story in a tragically, poignant way. “For three years I had roses, and apologised to no one.”

Torchwood (2006 – 2011)

I’ve covered LGBTQ representation in Doctor Who before but my favourite characters/couple are Captain Jack Harkness and Ianto Jones from the spin-off, Torchwood. You don’t really need to have watched Doctor Who to jump on board either. And if the series wasn’t enough for you, you can catch some Big Finish audios.

Cloud Atlas (2012)

The film has a few different LGBTQ stories and includes some non-binary characters. I, of course, was drawn to one of my favourite actors Ben Whishaw, particularly as Robert Frobisher in the 1936 story (all the actors played multiple roles). Quite an investment of time at three hours but I’ve already rewatched it multiple times.

Black Mirror (2016 and 2019)

Black Mirror frequently has delved into LGBTQ stories a couple of times: the award-winning San Junipero (2016) and Striking Vipers (2019), which features Anthony Mackie (aka The Falcon in the MCU movies). It’s hard to summarise either without spoiling the story but suffice to say they cover some interesting territory. Some argue that San Junipero is far more successful in answering the questions it raises.

Check out even more films like Everything Everywhere All At Once in our story about the 10 best LGBTQ+ movies from the last decade!

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