Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Film Studies

First Advisor

Nam Lee

Second Advisor

Federico Pacchioni

Third Advisor

Stephanie Takaragawa


This thesis examines the ways in which the 2022 film Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) employs the philosophical ideas concomitant with the multiverse hypothesis in order to narrate an emotionally poignant, yet somewhat typical story about a multi-generational Asian American family. This thesis argues that the film uses its characters as vehicles to not only illustrate the multilayered nature of Asian American realities through the allegory of “auto verse-jumping” across the multiverse, but also to philosophically contemplate and respond to the existence of the multiverse via its presentation of conceptual parallels. The film employs the hypothetical existence of the multiverse—the multiverse hypothesis—as a means to delve into the Asian American immigrant experience, focusing specifically on Evelyn and Joy as representations of the first- and second-generation Asian American experiences. These characters are intrinsically tied to the philosophies of nihilism, free-will/determinism as seen through the lens of Leibniz’s “Best of All Possible Worlds,” and Taoism. Within this framework, this thesis underscores the significance of the aesthetics and iconography that present the synergy between the multiverse experiences and the Asian American in-betweenness: the fluctuations across different aspect ratios to present alternative universes; a highly stylized form of split screen to express fragmented consciousness; the use of diverse Chinese dialects to signify generational differences, and the significance of the icons attributed to Evelyn (googly eye), Joy (everything bagel), and Waymond (cookie).

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.